Reap The Benefits of PCI Compliance

Despite five years and two deadlines, just 20 percent of level one merchants (6 million+ annual transactions) and an estimated 2 percent of lower-volume merchants have fully complied with cardholder data security standards issued by the card associations, unified in 2004 as Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards. Confusion abounds about the intent of some of the standards, acceptable alternatives, how to stay compliant and even to whom the regulations apply.

This uncertainty is proving costly. Many premium retail brands have suffered the embarrassment of a page one Wall Street Journal exposure following security breaches that endangered the financial safety of their customers. Gartner estimates the cost of a breach can reach at least $90 per customer, for companies with at least 100,000 accounts, versus $6 to $16 per account per year to strongly protect that data.

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