PCI Compliance: The Importance of Being a PCI Compliant Business in Today’s World

PCI Compliance: The Importance of Being a PCI Compliant Business in Today’s World

Each budding business out there needs a shield, a mighty armor to protect its sensitive data, especially when it comes to handling online payments. Have you heard about the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, commonly known as PCI DSS?

It’s a security standard that all the big credit card companies swear by, a powerful weapon in the fight against costly data breaches. If you’re a business owner, adhering to this standard isn’t just a good idea, it’s a must. Let’s talk about what makes PCI compliance so vital and how your business can make the move.

What is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)?

In simple terms, PCI DSS is a globally accepted security standard. It’s a set of guidelines crafted to make sure credit and debit card transactions are handled securely. The brainchild of the PCI council (PCI SSC), this standard is continually updated with input from stakeholders such as card issuers, merchants, service providers, and others.

Why should you care? Well, adopting PCI DSS keeps your organization on the right side of industry rules. More than that, it’s a massive step towards safeguarding your customers’ financial data from unauthorized access or misuse. So, you’re not only doing right by your business but also by your customers. Now, isn’t that a win-win?

Basics of PCI Compliance

For many business owners, PCI compliance can initially feel like a bothersome chore, especially if their focus is elsewhere and not on cybersecurity. But let’s clear up some confusion. It’s crucial to understand that our current systems of payment are built on trust.

As Gary Glover, VP of assessments at SecurityMetrics, aptly puts it, “The responsibility ultimately falls on the person who takes the card.” Over time, as systems become more secure, this process will become simpler. Gary estimates that in 5 to 10 years, the burden might lessen due to improved security systems.

However, for now, it’s essential to grasp a few key points. First, PCI compliance is not a one-time task; it requires yearly attention. The requirements for compliance vary based on factors such as the size of your business, the number of card transactions you conduct annually, and the type of payment service you use.

Businesses are divided into four groups, each with slightly different compliance rules. For instance, if you’re a Level 4 merchant according to Visa, you process fewer than 20,000 online card transactions or up to 1 million total transactions per year. Larger businesses typically have more obligations.

The type of payment service you use also matters. Merchant account providers, who offer businesses the necessary bank accounts to accept card payments, usually incorporate PCI compliance rules into your agreement.

However, if you use payment service providers like Square or Stripe, you may have fewer responsibilities. Nonetheless, PCI compliance is still necessary, but the process can be simpler compared to businesses with merchant accounts.

PCI Compliance The Importance of Being a PCI Compliant Business in Today's World - Brad Sugars

3 Pillars of the PCI Security Standards

So, you’ve got a sense of what PCI DSS is and why it matters to your business. But let’s get into the meat of it. How do you actually become PCI compliant?

Focusing on Credit Card Data

First of all, PCI security standards prioritize credit card data. Every swipe, every tap, we’re talking about your customer’s sensitive information. Credit card data is a goldmine for cybercriminals. From the card number to the expiry date, each piece of data can be exploited. PCI standards are designed to protect this data during transactions, ensuring a secure transfer from the customer to you.

Protecting Stored Data

Second, the PCI standard places a heavy emphasis on protecting stored data. After a transaction, your systems may retain some customer data. This could be their card number or other personal details. The PCI standard outlines how you should protect this stored data. It’s all about securing your systems, using proper encryption, and ensuring unauthorized people can’t access it.

Annual Validation

Last, but by no means least, you need to provide an annual report on compliance. PCI compliance isn’t a one-and-done situation. It’s a commitment to maintaining high security standards, year in and year out. Every year, you need to validate compliance with the PCI standard.

It’s a chance to reassess your security measures, identify any potential weaknesses, and make improvements. It might seem like a chore, but it’s crucial to maintain the trust of your customers and stay on the right side of industry regulations.

PCI Compliance Levels

Understanding the various levels of PCI compliance can be a bit challenging, but it’s essential to ensure your business meets security standards. These levels aren’t meant to confuse, but rather to customize PCI rules for businesses of different sizes and transaction volumes. Let’s explain what these levels mean for you and your business.

Level 1

Level 1 is the top tier in PCI compliance, reserved for the financial big dogs. If your business processes more than 6 million card transactions a year, congratulations, you’ve hit the big time, and you’re a Level 1 merchant. But, taking on this much volume comes with hefty responsibility. You’ll need to undergo an annual on-site PCI Data Security Assessment by a PCI SSC Qualified Security Assessor. Also, each quarter, you’ll need to submit a network scan by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV).

Level 2

If your business processes between 1 to 6 million card transactions a year, you belong to Level 2. You’re still dealing with a high volume of transactions. Therefore, you need to meet specific security standards. This includes doing an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to verify you’re in line with the PCI DSS. Don’t forget, you’ll also need to submit a network scan by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) quarterly.

Level 3

Level 3 is for those merchants who process 20,000 to 1 million card transactions a year. Even though the volume is lower, the risks remain. You still need to ensure your customer’s data is secure. To confirm your compliance, you’ll need to complete an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). Also, you need to submit a network scan by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) every three months.

Level 4

Level 4 applies to businesses processing fewer than 20,000 card transactions annually or any merchant processing up to 1 million total transactions per year. Despite the lower volume, don’t underestimate your responsibilities. You still need to ensure that your payment systems are secure and comply with PCI standards. As with Level 3, you’ll need to complete an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and a network scan by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) quarterly.

The 12 Requirements from the PCI Security Standards Council

The 12 Requirements from the PCI Security Standards Council - Brad Sugars

Let’s dive into the heart of the matter: the twelve key requirements set out by the PCI Security Standards Council that every business should follow to ensure their payment systems are secure and trusted.

1. Install and Maintain a Firewall

The first requirement emphasizes the importance of having a robust firewall in place. This isn’t just about installing a firewall and forgetting about it, it’s about consistently maintaining and updating it. It involves testing network connections regularly, limiting connections to untrusted networks, and taking other measures to ensure the integrity of your payment systems. It’s like putting a sturdy door in place and consistently checking to make sure it’s still keeping the bad guys out.

2. Implement Appropriate Password Protection

The third requirement is about keeping things simple and secure. Only enable the services needed to support your business, this can help reduce potential attack vectors. Also, consider removing any non-essential functions, as it eliminates unnecessary risks. Access to data should be encrypted and restricted to only those who absolutely need it. Every step you take, think about security and simplicity. By doing so, you can create a less complicated and more protected payment system.

3. Protect Stored Cardholder Data

This requirement emphasizes the need for a proactive approach in managing and disposing of cardholder data. You should limit what data is stored and avoid keeping sensitive information that’s not necessary for business operations. Have clear policies in place for disposing data to ensure it’s not left vulnerable to security breaches. By doing so, you aren’t just complying with PCI standards, but you’re building a secure foundation for your business.

4. Encryption of Transmitted Cardholder Data

It’s crucial to remember that sending unprotected account numbers via email, instant messaging, texts, chats, or other end-user messaging technologies is a big no-no. These technologies are not designed with robust security features, making them an easy target for cyber attacks. Always ensure that any cardholder data transmitted through these channels is encrypted to maintain the safety and integrity of the information.

5. Utilize and Regularly Update Antivirus Software

One of the key elements of PCI compliance is to regularly perform and document scans of your system. This isn’t just about running the software and hoping for the best. It’s about being diligent, keeping track of your security procedures, and making sure things are working as intended. Regular check-ins can help spot issues early, enabling you to take swift action and prevent any potential security breaches. Keeping your guard up is vital in the fight against cyber threats.

6. Develop Security Systems and Processes

Creating a resilient defense system calls for more than just installing payment card data security solutions. It involves developing a dynamic vulnerability management program. This program should have procedures to spot weaknesses, coupled with the capacity to tackle them head-on. Your proactive efforts in seeking out and addressing vulnerabilities will serve as a robust shield, securing your cardholder data and, consequently, your reputation.

7. Restrict Access to Card Data

Keeping card data under strict control is critical. This involves establishing clear definitions of the access required by various roles in your business. Carefully crafted user privileges and control systems must be put in place. These measures ensure that the right people have the right access, and that your card data remains secure. This not only aligns with PCI compliance, but also forms a solid foundation for your business’s broader security strategy.

8. Assign User IDs to Everybody with Data Access

Ensuring user authenticity is a pivotal aspect of the security strategy. Every business should have a reliable authentication procedure in place to verify the identity of individuals accessing the data. Stringent policies around authentication should be well-documented and enforced.

This way, you’re not just ticking off a box for PCI compliance, but also strengthening your security, making it difficult for intruders to gain unauthorized access. Other actions can include regular audits of access logs and swift response to any anomalies detected.

9. Restrict Physical Access to Data Storage

This requirement calls for keen supervision of your business’s sensitive areas. It’s not just about online data. Protecting physical access to areas where data is stored or equipment is handled is crucial. Tools like surveillance cameras can aid in monitoring these crucial zones. By doing so, you’re taking an extra step in keeping your cardholder information secure.

10. Track and Monitor Access Logs

Keeping tabs on who’s accessing your data is vital. This means setting up an audit trail with time-stamped tracking tools. Regularly review these logs for any suspicious activity. This proactive approach not only aligns with PCI compliance but ensures a secure environment for your cardholder data, keeping your business safe.

11. Regularly Test Systems and Processes

Regularly testing your systems and processes is crucial for PCI compliance. This includes frequent inventory checks for wireless access points and conducting quarterly vulnerability scans. Monitoring traffic should also be part of your routine to spot any unusual patterns. Such consistent checks help maintain a secure environment for your cardholder data, safeguarding your business.

12. Have a Policy on Information Security

Having a clear, written policy on information security is the final step. This policy should set out the rules for using certain technologies, and explain each person’s responsibilities in maintaining security. It should be published and shared across your organization at least once a year.

This ensures your team is informed about, and committed to, maintaining the safeguards in place to protect cardholder data. This isn’t just a PCI compliance requirement, it’s also a key part of keeping your business secure.

Benefits of PCI Compliance

PCI Compliance isn’t just another box to check off your business’ to-do list. No, it’s much more than that. It’s about securing your customer’s valuable data and building a reputation that shouts “Trustworthy!” to all who interact with your business. It’s about taking those extra steps that show customers – and potential customers – just how serious you are about their security. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits this significant yet straightforward standard brings to your business.

Reduces Risk of Data Breaches

Today’s business world is no longer just about securing the physical premises of your company. With the exponential increase in online business transactions, the ease of access to personal data on various devices, it’s clear that robust security measures are now a necessity.

It’s crucial that your business safeguards its data as well as that of its customers, using tactics such as implementing access control procedures, and two-factor authentication processes, while staying committed to PCI compliance.

PCI DSS plays a pivotal role in safeguarding information, irrespective of where you store credit card data. Just to give you an idea of its effectiveness, a study conducted by Verizon showed that companies exercising PCI compliance witnessed a significant reduction in cyber attacks, by as much as 50%.

Fostering Customer Trust and Retainment

Would you give your information to a business again if they experienced a data breach? A recent poll indicated that two-thirds of adults in the US wouldn’t do business with a company that had suffered a data breach.

It captures the essence of how customers are sharply tuned into the significance of PCI standards compliance. Having this badge of compliance could tip the scales in favorably influencing their trust in your business.

This trust doesn’t just play into customer loyalty; it impacts your profits too. Clients may hesitate to open their wallets at places they feel unsure about, so clearly demonstrating that you have robust security measures and PCI compliance under your belt shows them you’re serious about handling their sensitive data. This could be the reassurance they need to continue doing business with you, contributing to the long term success of your company.

Reduces Risk of Identity Theft

Identity theft, a common problem in the digital age, can have severe consequences for individuals and businesses. Being PCI compliant, however, greatly reduces this risk. By following the strict payment processing security measures outlined by the PCI DSS, you add layers of protection to your customers’ sensitive payment data, making it harder for cybercriminals to access and steal it.

This high level of security of credit card transactions not only safeguards your customers but also shields your business from potential financial and reputational harm that could result from a data breach.

By following PCI guidelines, you ensure that your customers’ identities remain secure, strengthening their trust in your business. This, in turn, helps create a positive brand image, further solidifying your business’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy entity.

Reduces Any Fines Related to Data Breaches

Data breaches can be a pretty expensive affair. Let’s break down some numbers to understand the seriousness of it. Card brand compromise fees can range anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000. And let’s not forget about security updates, which can add another $15,000 or more. Offering free credit monitoring for affected individuals can set you back by $10 to $30 per card.

The cost of forensic investigation can vary from $10,000 to a whopping $100,000. And we can’t overlook lawyer fees and technology repairs, which can add another $5,000 and $2,000 respectively. Breach notification costs can add another $1,000, and card re-issuance penalties may cost anywhere from $12,000 to $100,000. The merchant processor compromise fine can be anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000.

Adding up all these costs, the estimated damage from a data breach can range from $70,000 to a staggering $875,000. But the financial loss doesn’t end there. The aftermath of a data breach can lead to a loss of customer confidence, which can be really harmful.

Studies show that businesses lose about 40% of their customers following a breach. This is why PCI compliance, which significantly reduces the risk of data breaches, is so crucial for your business. It’s not just about avoiding financial penalties; it’s also about preserving the trust and confidence your customers have in you.

Increases Company’s Brand Reputation

Adhering to PCI Compliance does more than just secure your client’s data; it boosts your company’s reputation too. In today’s hyper-connected world, news travels fast and bad publicity even faster. Data breaches can quickly tarnish a company’s reputation, making it difficult to recover. Clients and customers want to feel safe and secure when doing business with you.

Demonstrating your commitment to data security by adhering to PCI compliance standards sends a strong signal that you take their safety seriously. This not only builds customer trust but also places your brand in a positive light, enhancing your overall reputation in the business world.

Aligns with Industry Standards

Being PCI compliant positions your business as a responsible member of the global business community. It’s not just about strong data security; it’s an expectation from customers, partners, and industry regulators. The PCI DSS, crafted by top credit organizations, sets a high standard for how businesses should handle cardholder information.

By meeting these standards, your business assures customers that their data is safe from harmful actions or breaches. It’s not just about security, it’s about meeting a worldwide standard of protection, demonstrating your commitment to the highest levels of data integrity and earning their trust.

Groups involved in PCI Compliance

PCI compliance is not a solitary endeavor. There are several key players that come into play when implementing and maintaining PCI standards. These groups play different roles, all of which are crucial for ensuring the safety and security of cardholder data. Let’s get to know these groups a little better.

Card Networks

Card issuers or card brands are the big players in the payment industry. These are payment brands like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and others that issue payment cards to customers. They are responsible for setting strict security standards, like PCI DSS, to ensure customer data is safeguarded throughout every transaction.

The PCI Security Standards Council

The PCI Security Standards Council is a collaborative entity, established by major credit card brands including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB. Their role is a significant one. They are charged with the responsibility of setting up and maintaining standards for the protection of cardholder data.

It’s their job to ensure that the comprehensive standards like PCI DSS are not just created, but they’re also updated in line with evolving security threats. Their focus is to provide a robust and reliable framework for businesses to safeguard sensitive cardholder data and ensure secure transactions.

Merchant Account Providers or Payment Service Providers

Merchant account providers or payment service providers are businesses or organizations that handle cardholder data. As such, they’re expected to stick to PCI DSS guidelines. They are the ones who collect, store, or process the cardholder data, and their key role is to ensure that the data they handle is kept secure. On the other hand, you have service providers.

This category includes those organizations that manage cardholder data on behalf of the merchants. Examples of service providers would be hosting service providers, managed security service providers, and cardholder data storage services. They play a crucial part in the overall PCI compliance process, managing and protecting sensitive data to maintain trust in the digital payment ecosystem.

Business owners

As a business owner, your role is crucial in maintaining PCI compliance. It’s not just about ensuring your business follows these standards, but also about fostering a culture of data security among your employees. You need to choose payment service providers that meet PCI DSS guidelines and implement secure payment methods. Additionally, it’s your responsibility to educate your team about the importance of PCI compliance, ensuring they comprehend the potential consequences of a data breach.

Tips to Become More PCI DSS Compliant

Making sure your business is PCI compliant may seem overwhelming, but with a few strategic practices in place, it can become a more manageable task. Here are some easy steps and helpful tips to align your business with PCI DSS standards and safeguard your data.

Minimize Your Scope for PCI DSS Compliance

One way to make the task of PCI DSS compliance less challenging is to minimize the amount of cardholder data you handle. If you don’t need to store certain details, don’t! Try to use payment systems that don’t save cardholder data or encrypt the data so it’s not accessible to your business. The less data you handle, the fewer areas there are to protect, and the smaller your compliance scope becomes. This not only simplifies the process but also reduces the risk of a data breach.

Practice Good Data Hygiene

Maintaining good data hygiene is crucial for ensuring PCI DSS compliance. It involves making sure that only the necessary information is stored and adequately protected. Regular checks should be conducted to delete old and unnecessary data, ensuring that what remains is well-secured. Additionally, it is important to restrict access to this data, limiting who can view and handle sensitive information. By keeping data clean and well-managed, you reduce the risk of potential security issues.

Outsource and Eliminate As Much Cardholder Data Handling As You Can

Outsourcing and eliminating cardholder data management can truly be a game-changer for businesses. By entrusting data handling to reliable and PCI DSS-compliant service providers, you can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches. This means that your business will handle less sensitive information, which in turn reduces the scope for PCI compliance.

It’s like passing the baton to experts who have the right tools and knowledge to keep your data safe. This simplifies your role in the data protection chain and allows you to focus more on your core business operations.

Take the Paperwork Seriously

Compliance with PCI DSS is not just about implementing practices; it’s also about documenting them. Taking care of paperwork is crucial. This means keeping records of your security policies, procedures, and practices. It may include your network diagram, data flow diagram, and written policies on cardholder data handling.

Additionally, documenting any changes made to the cardholder data environment is necessary. While the paperwork may seem tedious, it plays a vital role in proving your compliance in case of an audit or data breach. It’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s about demonstrating your commitment to data security, both for your own benefit and that of your customers.

Use Systems that Make Compliance Easier

When it comes to compliance, it’s important to rely on systems that are specifically designed to make things easier. Look for payment platforms and data management systems that are built with PCI DSS requirements in mind.

These systems already have security measures in place, like data encryption and tokenization, which means you won’t have to handle cardholder data directly. Remember, the less data you have to deal with, the simpler the compliance process becomes. Plus, these systems often have features that make it easy to document and demonstrate your compliance – a crucial part of the PCI DSS process.

The Cost of PCI Compliance

PCI DSS compliance comes with a price tag, but it’s an investment well worth making when you consider the potential damages associated with a data breach. The cost of payment card industry compliance varies substantially depending on the specifics of your business, with estimates ranging from $5,000 to $200,000.

Factors contributing to this variability include the need for new software or updates to existing tech, training costs for your team, Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) engagement, risk assessment costs, auditor fees, and consultant fees.

Each business will have a unique combination of these costs, which emphasizes the need for a tailored approach to PCI compliance. While it may seem costly, achieving and maintaining compliance can be seen as an essential investment in the long-term security and credibility of your business.

PCI Security Compliance Checklist

Keeping abreast of payment application data security standards, especially if you operate in the e-commerce sector, is paramount. One key component of this is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS. This checklist will walk you through some essential steps to ensure your business adheres to these standards. It’s a route map to help your business steer clear of data security pitfalls, and to assure your customers that their sensitive information is in safe hands.

1. Determine PCI Level

The first step in your PCI compliance journey is to determine your PCI level. This level is based on the volume of credit card transactions your business processes each year. There are four levels, with Level 1 being for businesses handling over 6 million card payment transactions annually, and Level 4 for those dealing with fewer than 20,000 transactions a year.

Your PCI level determines the specific requirements for PCI DSS you must meet for compliance. Each level has its own set of rules, so it’s crucial to understand where your business falls. Knowing your level is like knowing your opponent in a game – it helps you plan your strategy and prepare for the challenges ahead.

2. Map the Flow of Cardholder Data

Mapping the flow of cardholder data is the process of tracing every step that cardholder data takes through your business. It involves tracking data from the moment it enters through a transaction, moving through your payment systems and software, all the way until it’s stored or discarded. This step is crucial as it helps you identify any potential weak spots where data security might be compromised, allowing you to strengthen those areas.

3. Fill Out the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)

The PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is an important tool in the PCI compliance process. It’s a checklist that your business needs to complete to show you’re following all the necessary payment security protocols. But don’t worry—think of it as a helpful guide instead of a test. The SAQ will ask questions about your business operations, credit card processing methods, and security measures.

It’s important to answer these questions honestly, as they’re designed to highlight any areas where your business may need to improve to protect customer data. And don’t worry if you find areas for improvement; this is your chance to identify and fix any weak points. With the SAQ completed, you’re one step closer to ensuring that your business is a safe place for customers to shop.

4. Fill Out the Attestation of Compliance (AOC)

The Attestation of Compliance (AOC) is a one-page form that you sign to confirm that your business is PCI-compliant. It’s basically your way of saying, “Yes, I’ve done everything I need to do. I’m following all the rules.” But, remember, it’s not just a formal thing. You need to be honest when you sign the AOC because it’s a legal document.

If there’s a data breach and it turns out that you weren’t completely compliant, you could face serious legal and financial consequences. So, take your time and make sure everything’s in place before you put pen to paper. Once you’ve signed the AOC, you can submit it along with your completed SAQ to your merchant bank. Then, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you’ve taken clear steps to protect your customers and your business.

5. Conduct a Vulnerability Scan

Performing a vulnerability scan with a PCI SSC Approved Scanning Vendor is a crucial step in safeguarding your business data. Think of it as a check-up for your system. This scan examines your system for weak spots that hackers might exploit. Conducting this scan may involve using software that probes your system for any known vulnerabilities, such as outdated software or unprotected data.

You’ll receive a report that highlights any potential security issues. Don’t worry if you see a few problems flagged. This is your chance to fix these issues before they cause real trouble. It’s better to identify these weaknesses now than to discover them after a security breach. It’s a proactive measure that greatly helps in protecting your business from data threats.

6. Submit Documents

This is basically the final and most straightforward step of your PCI compliance journey. Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you’ll have the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), Attestation of Compliance (AOC), and the results of your vulnerability scan. The next step is to send these documents to your merchant bank. This is an important part of the process because it officially tells your bank that you are compliant.

Just like you would send financial statements or tax documents, these PCI compliance documents are really important for your business. Make sure to keep a copy of these documents in your records – they are proof that you’ve done what you need to do to protect your customers’ data and your business. After you’ve sent the documents, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done what’s necessary to keep your customers’ data safe and secure your business.

7. Monitoring

Just like a well-oiled machine, the data security of your business requires regular checks. This is your opportunity to stay vigilant. Regular monitoring entails examining your systems for any abnormal activity that may indicate a security concern. It’s a good idea to utilize automated tools that can promptly notify you of any suspicious actions. If you come across anything unusual, you can take immediate action to address it.

FAQs

Who mandates PCI compliance?

Being PCI compliance means adhering to a set of guidelines set forth by the PCI Standards Council, which was established by major credit card companies including Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, and American Express. These companies united to improve the safety of cardholder data across the industry.

Is PCI compliance required by law?

While PCI compliance isn’t a law, it’s still mandatory for businesses that process card payments. If your business isn’t compliant, you could face fines, penalties, or even lose the ability to process card payments.

Plus, being PCI compliant helps to ensure you’re providing a secure environment for your customers’ sensitive payment card data, building trust and loyalty as a result. In certain regions, legislation is in place that mandates businesses to be PCI compliant. For example, Nevada and Washington have laws requiring businesses to comply with the PCI DSS.

Who has to comply with PCI standards?

All businesses that handle credit card information, regardless of size or type, are required to comply standards for PCI compliance Whether you process a single transaction or thousands, ensuring PCI compliance is crucial. This standard is designed to safeguard sensitive customer data, providing security for both your business and your customers against potential threats.

If I only accept credit cards over the phone, does PCI DSS still apply to me?

Yes, PCI DSS still applies to businesses that only accept credit cards over the phone. This is because cardholder data is still being transmitted and potentially stored, even if it’s not done electronically. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that all cardholder information is handled properly to avoid any data breaches.

This includes implementing necessary safeguards for storing and disposing of physical records that contain cardholder data. PCI DSS compliance is therefore necessary for all businesses that handle cardholder information, regardless of how they accept payment.

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