Every entrepreneur agrees: it’s not easy running a business. Starting one can be harder, especially online, where there are data protection and compliance issues to navigate. For many would-be business owners, the bewildering amount of regulations and fear of getting it wrong can make them wonder why they should bother.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Solutions to complex problems, like dedicated hosted check-out page providers, can ease the burden and help the next generation of business owners get going. This is how.
Who sets compliance standards for payment processing?
Before setting up a business, it is essential to have a robust system in place to handle payments. The technology behind payment processing is complex, and rightly so. After all, personal information, financial details, and other data are being stored and transmitted. This information is literally “your money or your life” data, and customers have a right to expect it is treated with the same level of care the business owner would expect of others.
Because of this, businesses accepting payments from major credit card companies are expected to meet the obligations set out by the Payment Card Industry’s Security Standards Council. The PCI’s mission is:
to enhance global payment account data security by developing standards and supporting services that drive education, awareness, and effective implementation by stakeholders.
One relevant standard is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Compliance with this standard is expected by the major credit companies. It is hoped that meeting the requirements helps increase controls around cardholder data, so reducing credit card fraud. Failure to satisfy the PCI DSS can result in penalties, fines, and even being blacklisted by credit card companies.
How Do Businesses Satisfy the PCI DSS?
Fulfilling the PCI DSS requirements depends on various factors. Among other things, the number of transactions and type of payment processor are considered.
Smaller businesses using externally hosted check-out pages can effectively delegate much of these compliance issues to a third party. This is because the host site handles all data transfers and billing information on its servers rather than the business itself.
As a result, the online merchant using an external provider can meet the standard using a Self-Assessment Questionnaire. The simplest questionnaire to meet the PCI DSS is SAQ A, which some hosted payment page companies help businesses complete.
What are the benefits of the PCI DSS for the business?
The PCI DSS has its detractors, especially those who have received fines for non-compliance. But there are tangible benefits for businesses that make it worthwhile. The most important is the focus the PCI DSS places on data security. Companies must show that they have robust systems in place for handling data, passwords, security breaches, user IDs, and other basic things. This helps bring attention to one of the most important elements of modern commerce: IT systems. Focusing on this helps minimize the risk of fraud and loss, enhances customer confidence, and leads to increased sales.
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