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What is PCI?

Fraud PreventionPayment ProcessingGeneral

PCI is an abbreviation for Payment Card Industry. The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) ( is an independent organization created by the major card brands.  

The PCI SSC was tasked to come up with a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that touch cardholder data maintain a secure environment (both web-based and physical). They called these standards The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS.  

Why does it matter? 

Ascent understands the importance of security and helping to protect your business and your customer’s data. Data breaches are not uncommon, unfortunately, so merchants need to remain vigilant to protect their customers’ personal and credit card data. 

In short, PCI matters because customers place their trust in you for a safe credit card transaction. 

What does it mean to be PCI Compliant?  

PCI Compliance means that you comply with the PCI Data Security Standards at the appropriate level for your business. The way to certify your compliance is via a questionnaire provided by a third-party company, usually partnered with your acquiring (processing) bank.  

Do I need to be PCI certified? 

Yes. Regardless of the size of the business, all companies that process credit cards from the major card networks are required to certify their compliance with PCI standards. These security standards were put in place to ensure you safely handle cardholder information to reduce fraud and data theft.  

What should I do to become PCI certified? 

We have good news – certification of your PCI compliance is just a matter of answering a questionnaire to assess your card acceptance and processing environment. It includes questions to assess your risk level and compliance with card association requirements for cardholder data policies, procedures, administrative controls, access controls, and physical security measures. If you find yourself stumped, we have a team of experts to walk you through every step of the way.  

What happens if I am not PCI DSS certified? 

If you have not certified your PCI compliance, you will likely accrue additional fees each month and can possibly be fined by the card associations. If your security is compromised because of your non-compliance, you risk financial loss, additional fines, loss of business, damage to your company’s reputation, and other loss of critical systems.  

Can Ascent help with your PCI certification? 

Absolutely. We take data security seriously and are here to help you save money by assisting you with completing your PCI certification. Reach out to us at and we can help every step of the way. 


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