Demystifying PCI Compliance – The Basics And Benefits Of Meeting The Industry Security Standard

PCI Compliance - Security

PCI compliance is one of the most important factors in establishing safe online transaction processing, but many business owners and managers know very little about it. Most either assume that it doesn’t apply to them or that they already have it – whatever it is. But e-commerce software and online payment solutions aren’t PCI compliant by default, and it’s essential that companies accepting credit card payments – both online and off – understand the basics of PCI compliance and the many benefits that it provides.

What is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a compliance requirement designed for organizations that process credit card transactions involving the major credit companies. The program is mandated and administered by a council made up of five of the biggest players in the industry – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB.

While not mandated by federal law in the United States, the major credit brands and banks do require merchants to meet the standard in order to satisfy their terms of service. That means failure to meet even one of the many criteria could be extremely costly. As such, any company that accepts credit card payments and stores or transmits card data must fully adhere to all PCI security requirements to minimize fraud and ensure that sensitive consumer data is protected from theft.

Benefits of PCI Compliance

The benefits that organizations gain from adhering to PCI compliance really can’t be overstated. Failure to comply and the consequences that result can be disastrous. PCI compliance is something that a lot of small businesses tend to push off into the future, but there really isn’t any excuse not to get up to standard immediately considering the numerous upsides. Here are just a few of the most notable:

1) Compliance is essential to maintain customer trust

Thanks to a number of high-profile data security breaches at behemoth companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Adobe, consumers are very aware of how much of their sensitive data is stored and how vulnerable it is if not properly secured. Even consumers that don’t know what PCI compliance means may still know the term, and being able to claim full compliance is a catalyst for establishing immediate trust with customers. Conversely, a data breach caused by a lack of compliance is a surefire way to destroy that trust, and once trust has been damaged, it’s incredibly difficult to repair.

2) Compliance significantly reduces the likelihood of a costly security breach

PCI compliance is all about fighting fraud and data theft, and the standard has been expertly designed by the organizations most interested in eliminating both – the major credit card companies. By adhering fully to all 12 compliance requirements – or better yet, exceeding them – companies can ensure they’ve done everything in their power to keep customer data safe. That’s important considering the immense consequences of failing to do so. Beyond the damage a breach does to a company’s reputation, the costs of defending and settling legal actions, bank fines, and internal and external investigations are enormous.

3) Compliance is an essential part of all merchant account agreements

All reputable merchant accounts from major banks require applicants to fully comply with all of the big credit card companies’ regulations to keep their accounts in good standing. Those credit card companies all mandate PCI compliance. That means failing to be fully PCI compliant puts a company’s merchant account – and in turn their core ability to accept payments – at risk. Many small businesses think they can ignore this requirement because of the small volume of transactions that they process, but even accepting a single credit card payment, whether in-store or online, requires 100% compliance.

Achieving PCI Compliance

To become fully PCI compliant companies must first analyze the current state of their systems and their existing compliance levels. Once that’s done, filling out the PCI self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) will identify any deficiencies in the 12 individual compliance requirements. If any failure points emerge, they can then be corrected. Very few companies pass the initial compliance evaluation the first time, so fixes should be expected. Once everything is up to standard, a formal attestation of compliance can be filled out and filed with the relevant organizations. Once compliance has been certified, it must be revalidated on a quarterly or annual basis.

Taking the necessary corrective measures and getting systems up to standard can be a daunting task. The easiest way to do it, especially for companies without large tech departments, is to get help from an outside source. Customers who partner with BAMS for their payment processing have access to our experienced team of PCI experts who are there to walk our approved clients through the SAQ and the required quarterly security scans. The BAMS team makes it easier than ever for companies to ensure that they’re fully compliant and safe from the risks associated with failing to meet the standard.

Contact us today for more information on PCI compliance certification and secure payment processing with BAMS.

4 Sales Tips to Influence People to Buy Your Products

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Want to increase sales? Use the following sales tips to sell more products, boost your revenue, and increase your ROI:

FOMO

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. This is what causes people to buy things that are on sale even if they don’t need them and to constantly check what their friends are up to on social media. A limited-time or limited-edition offer with a countdown clock is a great way to tap into the FOMO.

Get Them in the Right Mindset

Before you make your selling point or sales pitch, you need to first get your audience in the right mindset. An example of this is stressing how your product doesn’t cost X amount of money, that amount being much higher than your real price. This gets your audience in the mindset that your product is affordable and cheap because, in their minds, the bar of what is “expensive” or even the industry standard price is now much higher.

Pain and Pleasure

Human beings do things to avoid pain and gain pleasure. People will usually do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure, so don’t just stress how much pleasure your product will bring them; focus on the pain points that brought them to your sales page in the first place.

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

If you are not upselling and cross-selling products to your customers, you will lose out on a lot of revenue. Many companies gain most of their revenue from the additional products that people purchase, as the first product sale is often needed to cover the costs of advertising. People who are buying are already in the mindset of spending money and will usually buy more than what they originally planned to.

For more sales tips and information on how to sell better online, contact us today and ask about our services.

5 Ways to Tap Into Human Nature to Increase Sales

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Every good sales professional knows how to tap into human nature to increase sales. Understanding what influences people to make a purchasing decision will help you boost your revenue. Here are some important things that will bring you more sales.

Scarcity

Scarcity increases value. Human nature is to want that which we do not have. If something is in abundance, people will have less of a desire for it. You have to create a perception of scarcity to increase sales. One way to do this is by offering a limited-offer discount.

Reciprocity

People tend to reciprocate favors and good deeds. If you offer your customers valuable information and tips, great customer service and discount opportunities, human nature will lead them to reciprocate the favors by purchasing your products. They will also be more likely to recommend you to a friend.

Social Proof

We tend to measure something’s worth based on how other people value it. Social proof is very important when it comes to sales. Boost the social proof of a product by encouraging your customers to leave five-star reviews and testimonials. Boost the social proof of your company overall by building your social media channels and getting followers and likes.

Authority

Similar to social proof, people tend to place more value on a statement or product that comes from an authority figure. Build up your authority by becoming an information source online, both on your website, on Youtube, and on your social media channels. Start a PR campaign and book appearances on media channels.

Unity

People like to feel as if they are part of something, whether that be a family, a tradition, a belief system, or shared values. That is why your company needs to have a mission and a purpose.

For more information about our services, contact us.