PCI Non-Compliance Fees: How to Avoid Paying Unnecessary Fines

Just like other professionals, motorists and athletes pay fines for violating specific rules. The same goes for businesses that do online business. When companies process and collect payment details for credit cards and debit cards, there are a few rules they need to follow. If businesses break any of these rules, they are liable to pay penalties for the same.

Being a business owner, you must ensure that you understand PCI standards. All organizations that process and transmit credit card details need to consider PCI standards to avoid hefty penalties and fines. PCI non-compliance charges are monthly reminders to encourage companies to become PCI compliant.

In this post, we will talk about non-compliance fees and how you can avoid them.

What is a Non-Compliance Fee?

Non-compliance fee is an amount charged by payment processing accounting providers when a business fails to follow the rules of the (PCI DSS) Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards Council. The US credit card networks introduced this PCI DSS council outside the government’s bounds to implement data security policies within the industry. As a business, you need to ensure that you are meeting the predefined standards. If you fail to follow these rules, a specific charge will enter the picture to motivate you towards compliance.

In addition, the non-compliance fee may vary from $5,000 to $500,000 based on the circumstances. Now the question is – how can you avoid non-compliance fees? So, let’s discuss it now.

Analyze Your Current Compliance Level

As mentioned above, PCI non-compliance fees may vary depending on the merchant services providers liable for the account. Remember that your service provider will charge you a monthly fee regularly until your account becomes PCI compliant. To ignore costly penalties, you must look at where you stand with varying standards of compliance. When it comes to avoiding PCI non-compliance fees, here’s what you need to do.

The first step is to determine your merchant level. This level is calculated by the transactions you need to process during a specific period. It’s essential to keep in mind that you could have varying merchant levels between credit card providers. For instance, MasterCard and Visa have varying criteria for assigning levels.

Once you determine your merchant level, you are allowed to pinpoint varying PCI validation requirements that suit your business. For most companies, being compliant with PCI standards needs establishing and optimizing a secure network, keeping a vulnerability management program, protecting cardholder data, implementing access control measures, monitoring & testing systems or networks, and keeping an information security policy.

To become PCI compliant, the PCI Security Standards Council has introduced some steps to security:

  1. Use approved entry devices only.
  2. Make use of validated payment software only.
  3. Avoid storing any sensitive or confidential data of cardholders on computers or paper.
  4. Implement a firewall on your PC, laptop, and network.
  5. Ensure your wireless router uses encryption and is password-protected.
  6. Keep a strong password – change default passwords on software and hardware.
  7. Check PCs and PIN entry devices regularly to ensure no one installed “skimming” devices and rogue software.
  8. Train your staff about security and protecting the sensitive data of cardholders.
  9. Follow the PCI Data Security Standard.

How to Avoid PCI Non-Compliance Fees

The primary goal behind the PCI non-compliance fines is to boost organizations to become PCI compliant. Whenever you see a non-compliance fine on your credit or debit card processing statement, consider calling your processor and asking them to remove it. If you want your merchant security provider to stop charging you non-compliance penalties, you will likely have to become PCI compliant.

Fortunately, getting compliant with PCI is often not as tricky as it seems. For retail businesses, compliance can be as straightforward as completing an SAQ (Self-Assessment Questionnaire). Whereas for eCommerce companies, compliance entails quarterly network scans along with a questionnaire.

To get rid of non-compliance fees, the most critical thing is to consult your merchant service provider to find out the issue that is leading to fines. They will tell you what you should do to validate PCI compliance. Once they describe the steps, follow them to update or change your compliance status. Besides, if you think you were not adequately notified or guided about non-compliance penalties, you are free to request a refund.

Select Your Merchant Services Provider Wisely

If you do not want to pay PCI non-compliance fees, ensure that the merchant services provider you are selecting is PCI compliant. Therefore, consider talking to your potential payment processor to confirm their PCI compliance. In addition, hiring the right merchant services provider may help you achieve and optimize full PCI compliance while preventing or neglecting unnecessary PCI non-compliance fees and saving you time.

If you are new to PCI compliance, you can go through online articles or talk to a professional for details. Overall, do your research properly and make sure the merchant service provider you choose is PCI compliant. Being PCI compliant can help you save lots of time and money – taking your business to the next level and offering a secure and improved experience to all customers.

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