PCI Compliance: How to Safely Charge Customers on a Recurring Basis

PCI compliance helps charge recurring customers securely

Do you charge customers on a recurring basis for monthly or weekly services? If so, you’re required to be PCI compliant.

PCI DSS stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This set of standards applies to all businesses or entities that accept credit card transactions, including retailers, even just for one-time charges. So even if you aren’t in what is generally considered a highly regulated industry when it comes to cybersecurity, your business likely needs to be PCI compliant.

What Does PCI Compliance Cover?

PCI compliance applies to all businesses that accept any form of electronic payment. It governs the way information is transmitted and stored to ensure that financial information is secure.

Believe it or not, there are still companies collecting and storing paper records of credit card information and running them manually for their clients each month. This is not only an unsecure practice that exposes that information to a lot of risk, but it’s also non-compliant with PCI.

However, if that describes you, it’s not too late to change! We can introduce you to automated systems that will make your life (and especially your billing department’s job!) monumentally easier. If you are following this practice and want guidance to resolve it, contact Tolar Systems.

The Importance of PCI Compliance

The PCI DSS was created by the five major credit card companies—MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and JCB International—to protect sensitive payment information. Although it is not a law enforceable through the government, this security standard is enforced by credit card companies and banks that manage payment processing. 

Reduces Security Risks

If you are keeping any form of full credit card numbers and authorization numbers, then you are exposing yourself to a lot of risk. When you store sensitive payment information, you accept liability for how the card data is used and stored. This liability and responsibility to your customers and clients isn’t something you can just ignore.

Storing credit card information in an insecure manner, whether digitally or physically, can make you a bigger target for cyber attacks, accidental data leaks, and even physical break-ins. Using secure systems and following PCI compliance drastically reduces and even eliminates many associated risks.

Eliminates Inefficiencies

Aside from not being secure, storing credit card information manually creates huge inefficiencies in your company. There are secure systems that can automatically bill clients on a monthly, weekly or other recurring basis, while still giving your accounting team the ability to view invoices and ensure that all payments are properly completed.

Without such a system in place, you’re wasting time and energy collecting billing that your team could be spending to better serve your clients and make your business more profitable.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Even though PCI compliance is not regulated by the government, it is regulated by payment processors; merchants agree to pay fines if they fail to maintain PCI compliance when they sign contracts with credit card companies.

At a rough estimate, those fines can range from $5,000–$10,000 per month for continued infractions. 

Additionally, if you do suffer a data breach that exposes customer data, you can be charged a baseline of $50–$90 for each customer whose data is exposed. 

What Steps Can You Take to Become PCI Compliant?

PCI includes requirements for firewalls, encryption on public networks, antivirus software, restriction to access to both physical and digital cardholder information, regular testing, and more.

A good starting point for PCI compliance is to get a secure digital system in place that can incorporate these requirements. You’ll also have to complete a self-assessment of your company’s processes for managing data.

The simplest way to ensure you’re PCI compliant is to work with an expert cybersecurity provider that’s well-versed in secure solutions and industry standards. If you’re ready to start getting more efficient, secure, and PCI-compliant payment systems in place, Tolar Systems is here to help.

Partner with Compliance Experts for the Best PCI and Payment Automation Solutions

Tolar Systems has been serving our clients with secure solutions for years, and we’re ready to help you secure your customers’ information, too. We’ll help you select a safe and time-saving automated payment system that meets your needs and completely secures your payment information, ensuring your PCI compliance.