PCI DSS Compliance-A Short Guide For Beginners


To assure credit card holders that their transactions are being carried out end-to-end in a secure manner, a group of leading credit card companies across the globe namely — Visa, Discover, MasterCard, JCB International, and American Express — together released the first version of the PCI DSS compliance framework in 2004.‍

Fast forward to 2006, and the very same companies formed the Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council (PCI SSC). Since then, any credit card transaction occurring worldwide from cloud-hosted payment organizations, need to comply with the PCI DSS framework.‍

Now that, the importance of this compliance framework is appropriately articulated, let’s talk about the real purpose of this blog.‍

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) today, is a widely-recognized security standard that is hailed as the best way to protect sensitive data and create dependable customer connections in the payments industry, but it can get difficult to understand for the uninitiated, especially anyone seeking to acquire certification.‍

Therefore, to achieve certification seamlessly, you need someone to introduce you to the basics of this compliance framework.‍

That’s why we, at Akitra, decided to curate a series to answer the most frequently-asked questions about PCI-DSS. In this blog, we aim to provide you with accurate information that will help you understand this complicated compliance framework a little better.‍


Let’s get started!‍


What is the PCI-DSS Certification?

Any cloud-hosted business that processes credit card transactions should implement the recommended minimum security procedures outlined in PCI DSS, which was developed to act as a basis for control.‍

If you want to know more, do check out our blog here, where we provide you with a brief overview of the entire framework as well as enumerate its benefits.‍


5 Most Frequently-Asked Questions about PCI-DSS

  1. Who does PCI-DSS apply to?

All businesses that collect, process, and send credit card data must comply with PCI DSS. You must adhere to PCI DSS requirements if your company accepts or processes credit card payments.‍

2. What are the PCI-DSS compliance levels and how to assess which one My company falls into?

Based on the number of Visa transactions over a 12-month period, all merchants will be assigned to one of the four merchant levels. The total number of Visa transactions from a merchant operating under a Doing Business As (or “DBA”), including credit, debit, and prepaid transactions, is used to calculate transaction volume. Visa acquirers must take into account the total number of transactions saved, processed, or transmitted by the corporate entity when determining the validation level in circumstances where a merchant corporation has more than one DBA. Acquirers will continue to take into account the DBA’s individual transaction volume to establish the validation level if data is not aggregated, meaning that the corporate entity does not store, process, or transmit cardholder data on behalf of several DBAs.‍

Merchant levels, as determined by Visa:‍


3. Do organizations that use third-party processors need to be PCI-DSS compliant?

Yes. A business is still required to comply with the PCI DSS even if it merely uses a third-party provider. It might lessen their risk exposure, which would therefore need less work to verify compliance. It does not, however, imply that they can disregard the PCI DSS.‍

4. How much does my company have to pay, if they are not PCI-DSS compliant?

An acquiring bank that violates PCI compliance may be subject to fines from $5,000 to $100,000 per month from the payment brands, at their discretion. The likelihood is that the banks will continue to pass this fine on until it finally affects the merchant. Additionally, the bank will probably either end your relationship with them or charge you more for transactions. Penalties can be disastrous for a small business, yet they are neither freely discussed nor extensively acknowledged. Your merchant account agreement, which should describe your exposure, is vital to be familiar with.‍

5. My company works out of multiple locations; does that mean they have to validate PCI-DSS compliance from each location?

Any organization normally just needs to validate once a year for all the business locations if they process under the same Tax ID. Additionally, if applicable, they can send copies of each location’s quarterly passing network scans performed by an ASV who has been approved by the PCI SSC.‍


PCI DSS Compliance with Akitra

Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that the organizations with whom they do business are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk. Compliance certification fills that need.‍

Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our service helps customers become certified for PCI DSS, along with other frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPPA, GDPR and NIST 800–53. Our compliance and security experts will also provide you with the customized guidance you need to confidently navigate the end-to-end compliance process.‍

The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and money — including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.‍


Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!‍

To book your FREE DEMO, contact us right here.

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