PCI Compliance Checklist

3 Min Read
PCI Compliance Checklist

PCI Compliance Checklist – Requirements for Businesses Security is one of the biggest challenges of online transactions. As consumers adapted to the digital age, so did criminals. The increased use of credit and debit cards for online transactions came with a high risk of compromised personal information. 

Over the years, merchants have had security breaches that led to the loss of customer data. If you have ever dealt with compromised data as a consumer, you understand how frustrating the situation can be. 

For this reason, as a merchant, you should implement all the necessary security measures to keep customers safe. PCI compliance is an effective way to achieve that. Ensuring that you meet the minimum requirements for card transactions helps your enterprise reduce the risks that consumers face.

 However, accomplishing this is not easy, which is why a PCI compliance checklist goes a long way.

Ready to dive in?
Start Your Free Trial Today

What is PCI DSS

PCI and DSS are acronyms for the payment card industry data security standard

PCI: Payment Card Industry
DSS: Data Security Standard 

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) introduced the Data Security Standard, a set of security standards in 2004. Major card brands came together to develop security protocols to help online merchants prevent data breaches. 

The PCI DSS has evolved to cater to the changing payment ecosystem. Vulnerabilities can occur at any point in a customer’s payment journey, such as shopping apps, POS devices and paper-based storage systems. The third parties that a merchant uses for its payment processing might also be at risk. Satisfying PCI standards helps enterprises decrease such threats.

The Security Standards Council defines and manages PCI standards, while credit card companies handle compliance. Any company that accepts card payments has to be PCI DSS compliant. Establishing and maintaining requirements is an ongoing process that can eat up considerable resources if not handled properly.

PCI Compliance Checklist

Companies can use various tools to achieve PCI compliance, which helps make the process efficient. However, having a well-structured PCI Compliance Checklist to implement PCI standards is critical. PCI DSS has 12 mandates that every merchant that process card payments should be familiar with. These are:

PCI Compliance Checklist


Protect cardholder data with a firewall.

Every device that interacts with cardholder data must have a firewall installed protecting your network from outside attacks.

This will ensure all transaction happen safely.


Immediately change passwords as soon as you receive from the vendors.

Having different passwords than those provided make it something unique, use password management software to generate a random password or use ‘three random words‘.

Data Protection

Protect stored cardholder information both physical and digital.

Physical: Writing down physical data requires a strict process to prevent it from being in a situation it is not protected.

Digital: Digital date must be protected using encryption and firewalls


PCI-compliant encryption is essential.

Preventing data and information from being stolen during the transfer between the issuing bank and acquiring bank.

Encrypt cardholder data that passes through open, public networks.

Confirm POS encrypts this data.

Anti Virus Software

Install and update anti-virus software.

It is great having anti-virus software but if it is not updated and the latest versions potential vulnerabilities will not be patched.

Regardly use the virus scan option.

Setup a repeatable checklist/process that you carry out monthly to scan, and download or patch so know you are up to date.

Secure Systems

Implement a security checklist to sustain secure systems and applications.

Responsibility to address any vulnerabilities and keep all of your software up-to-date with firewalls, anti-virus software, apps, and POS.

Cardholder Data

Only the need-to-know should access cardholder data

Keep employees access to cardholder data minimal to reduce the chance you have of a breach.

Keep secure passwords restricted to the minium.

ID permissions

Grant ID permissions to users with access to cardholder details.

Assign unique IDs to each employee who needs access enabling a way to track exactly who logs in and when.

Physical Access

Physical access to cardholder information should be restricted and monitored.

Remember to logout when leaving a terminal and add a timeout if inactive function.


Track permissions to cardholder data and network resources.

Track who is logged in when and consider surveillance for fraudulent activity.

Security Processes

Test security processes and systems frequently.

Create a security process checklist that employees must follow to protect data and regularly test this is still working and improve where needed.

Security Policy

Develop an information security policy to take into account the guidelines and a way to prove and track compliance.

Policies and procedures should identify how standards are maintained for auditors to verify your compliance.

Three-pronged layered security strategy

Three-pronged layered security strategy to cybersecurity for implementing PCI standards: What are the 3 elements of layered security?

  • Access
  • Remediate
  • Report

The Need for PCI Compliance

Meeting data security standards is the least a merchant can do to protect the company and customers. Learning the value of compliance motivates businesses to take the required action. Compliance can save you the cost of a data breach. Compromised customer information can be expensive for any enterprise. For some businesses, it takes a single data breach to cripple operations. Skimping out on security can end up costing you more than compliance would have.

Protecting customer data is another compelling reason to comply with PCI standards. Today’s consumers do much of their shopping online, requiring them to entrust merchants with sensitive private details. Therefore, it’s your duty as a company to safeguard that information. You can ensure that your servers, devices, and networks are secure through PCI compliance.

Compliance builds customer confidence. When consumers submit information on your platform, they have to be sure they can trust you. The more they believe in you, the more loyal they are.

PCI compliance is a must-have regardless of the size of your enterprise, whether you process small or large volumes of card payments. Companies must dedicate the necessary resources to maintain compliance as data security standards evolve.

This PCI Compliance Checklist gives you a PCI compliance process, but you can always refer to the Security Standards Council Quick Reference Guide

Frequently asked questions
Looking for more info? Here are some things we're commonly asked

Yep, like every other website we also use
delicious cookies to track you.