As a decision-maker in your company, ensuring the security of your customer’s sensitive payment card information is of utmost importance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) exists to safeguard this data and maintain the trust of your clients. However, compliance with PCI DSS comes with both costs and potential penalties for non-compliance
But how much does PCI compliance cost? And what happens if you fail to comply? This article will answer these questions and help you understand the different types of PCI compliance fees and penalties. We will also show you how to avoid unnecessary costs and reduce the risk of non-compliance.
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- Runs 8000+ tests with weekly updated scanner rules
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What is PCI-DSS?
PCI-DSS, also known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, was established by leading credit card companies like Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover, and JCB International. The objective of the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) is to improve worldwide security for payment account data by creating standards and offering supportive services that encourage education, consciousness, and successful adoption among stakeholders.
The standard mandates that businesses consistently enhance and update their security measures to protect the entire payment card ecosystem. If you are a merchant or part of a financial institution handling all card data, conducting PCI penetration testing should be a routine practice to ensure ongoing PCI-DSS compliance.
What is PCI Compliance Fee?
PCI compliance fee is a charge that some payment processors or merchant service providers impose on their customers for using their services and ensuring PCI compliance. This fee covers the cost of providing tools, resources, and support to help merchants meet the PCI DSS requirements.
PCI compliance fee varies by provider but typically ranges from $79 to $120 per year. Some providers may charge this fee monthly, quarterly, or annually. Some may include it in the overall processing fees, while others may list it as a separate line item on the invoice.
For example, small businesses with fewer transactions may pay a lower fee compared to large enterprises with higher transaction volumes. Additionally, businesses that handle sensitive cardholders’ data directly will likely have more stringent requirements, impacting the cost.
What is PCI Non-Compliance Fee?
PCI non-compliance fee is a penalty that some payment processors or merchant service providers impose on their customers for failing to comply with the PCI DSS requirements. This fee is meant to encourage merchants to take PCI compliance seriously and to cover the potential liability and risk of non-compliance.
The PCI non-compliance fee varies by provider but typically ranges from $10 to $100 monthly.
For instance, a company that suffers a data breach due to non-compliance may face fines ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month until the issue is resolved. Moreover, in the event of a security breach, your company may also be liable to reimburse fraudulent charges, legal fees, and potential settlements with affected customers.
The True Cost of Non-Compliance:
The financial repercussions of non-compliance extend beyond penalties and fines. A data breach can lead to damaged brand reputation, customer attrition, and loss of trust. The cost of rebuilding customer confidence and brand image can be substantial and long-lasting.
Let us consider an example of a retail chain that experienced a significant data breach due to inadequate PCI DSS compliance. The company not only faced a penalty of over $2.5 million but also suffered a 30% decline in sales for the following quarter, demonstrating the devastating impact of non-compliance on business operations.
How to Avoid Unnecessary Costs and Reduce the Risk of Non-compliance?
As you can see, PCI compliance can be costly and complex. However, there are some ways to avoid unnecessary costs and reduce the risk of non-compliance. Here are some tips:
- Choose a payment processor or merchant service provider that does not charge PCI compliance fees or PCI non-compliance fees or that offers reasonable and transparent pricing. Compare different providers and negotiate the best deal for your business.
- Choose a payment processor or merchant service provider that offers PCI-compliant processing, such as Astra Security. Astra Security is a comprehensive suite that makes security simple for your website. It offers compliance pentesting, web app pentesting, cloud security pentesting, mobile app pentesting, API pentesting, firewalls, malware scans, security boosters, and more. With Astra Security, you can secure your entire tech stack with ease and confidence.
- Stay informed and updated on the latest PCI standards and requirements. The PCI SSC regularly updates and publishes the PCI DSS and other related documents on its website. You can also subscribe to its newsletter and follow its blog for the latest news and updates.
PCI compliance is not optional for any business that accepts all card payments. It is a legal obligation and a business necessity. However, PCI compliance fee does not have to be expensive or complicated. By following the tips discussed above, you can avoid unnecessary costs and reduce the risk of non-compliance.
Remember, PCI compliance is integral to securing your business and maintaining your customers’ trust. For more expert advice and assistance in achieving and maintaining PCI DSS compliance, get in touch with the experts at Astra.
Is PCI compliance mandatory for all businesses?
Yes, PCI DSS compliance is mandatory for all businesses that accept, process, store, or transmit payment card data, regardless of size or industry.
How often should a company undergo a PCI compliance assessment?
The frequency of PCI compliance assessments depends on the number of transactions and the level of compliance required. Generally, businesses should undergo an annual assessment, but quarterly vulnerability scans may also be necessary.
Can PCI compliance prevent all data breaches?
While PCI DSS compliance significantly reduces the risk of data breaches, it does not guarantee complete immunity. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process; continuous improvement and vigilance are essential to stay ahead of evolving threats.
Can a PCI-compliant payment gateway eliminate the need for full PCI DSS compliance?
Using a PCI-compliant payment gateway can reduce the scope of your compliance efforts by ensuring that the gateway provider securely handles sensitive payment data. However, it doesn’t absolve your business from all PCI DSS requirements. You are still responsible for aspects like data transmission, employee training, and internal security measures.