What is PCI Compliant and How to Become One?

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What is PCI Compliance?

For all those individuals who are not familiar with this concept – PCI compliance is officially known as PCI DSS or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is an information security system for all individuals and organizations that process credit cards from the major credit card companies such as MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and etc.

This global security standard was developed in 2004 when the credit card companies work together to create PCI SSC or Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. This is actually the organization that stands behind PCI DSS. The PCI DSS version that we use today is version 3.1 and it came out in 2015.

Before the universal security standard was determined, the different credit card companies such as Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, and etc. have their own regulations and rules regarding credit and debit card information and security. Their end goal was the same – to provide a certain level of protection for card controversies by making sure that users met the lowest level of security when they process their credit or debit card.

What is PCI compliance?

How to Become PCI Compliant?

If you are interested in becoming PCI compliant we are going to explain you the process of becoming one.

The truth is that becoming PCI compliant is a little bit complicated process. The reason for this is because the whole security standard is set up in a way that your needs and responsibilities increase as you increase your operations. Our advice is to take one step at a time and do all this properly – as your business grows.

The road to becoming PCI compliant includes a set of obstacles, created by these 3 entities:

  • The Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council – this is the organization that is behind PCI DSS.
  • The Credit Card Companies – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, JCB, and etc.
  • Acquirer Bank or Payments Processor.

The credit card companies can assist you in identifying the requirements from the Payment Card Industry Standard Council and help you determine the list of demands you have to adhere to. You have to keep in mind that it will all depend on the way you operate your business and the total number of transactions per credit card per year.

During this whole process, you have two options – you can deal with PCI DSS requirements all by yourself or you can ask for a professional assistance from the PCI SSC QSA or Qualified Security Accessor.


These are the steps you’ll have to go through:

  • Establish your Compliance Level – You need to determine the level of compliance your organization falls under.
  • Complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire – There are 12 different requirements for PCI compliance that are divided into 6 groups. You’ll have to complete the SAQ or self-assessment questionnaire that is a set of documents that include questions that are based on the 12 requirements of the PCI DSS.
  • Attestation of PCI Compliance – This is a necessary step that will confirm that you have complied with all the previous applicable steps.
  • Submitting the Documents – This is the final step where you need to submit the SAQ and the AOC, together with the other documentation, including the ASV scan reports as well.

Now that you are familiar with PCI compliance and what it takes to become PCI compliant you can decide whether or not you will start the process.

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