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PCI-DSS compliance is a must for all businesses that accept online payments; however, achieving it can be an extremely lengthy and costly process for a lot of companies. For this reason, working with a PCI-compliant payment gateway can be an absolute life-saver when it comes to processing transactions .

It will not only help you cut time and costs, especially if you are managing a high volume of transactions, but you will also leverage the dozens of other advantages that come with a powerful, advanced payment gateway.

However, what are some of the most important considerations that you will have to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right PCI-compliant payment gateway for your business? In this article, we will give you some guidelines so you can make the right decision based on a few essential factors.

pci-compliant payment gateway

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it:

What is a PCI-Compliant Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is a technology that companies use to accept credit (or debit) card payments when a customer completes a purchase, transferring the funds from the customer to the merchant account.

A PCI-compliant payment gateway, on another hand, is a gateway that meets the requirements of PCI-DSS (also known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), a security standard for payments developed by the biggest credit card issuers that all businesses handling online transactions should meet.

PCI-DSS are set standards that are developed to protect the information of cards during and post a transaction made by using the card. PCI Compliance helps in providing security during such transactions and protecting private information if the card gets lost or is stolen.

How to select the right payment gateway for your business

1. Be aware of the requirements

When choosing the right PCI-compliant payment gateway for your business, the first step that you will need to take is to have a good understanding of the requirements for being in compliance with PCI-DSS. After all, if you don’t know the basics of PCI-DSS, you won’t be able to determine whether a gateway actually meets them fully.

pci-dss for merchants - pci-dss requirements - pci-compliant payment gateway

You can get a better perspective of all 12 PCI-DSS requirements here. However, let us go through some basic requirements a company needs to fulfill for compliance so you can get the idea:

  • A reliable network needs to be formed and perpetuated to provide utmost security and establish compliance with PCI.
  • A strong firewall configuration is important to retain cardholders’ information and privacy.
  • Strong passwords and parameters should be set instead of using defaulted ones.
  • The cardholder information needs to be protected within the payment gateway.
  • Transmission of cardholder data should be securely encrypted across public networks to protect against information theft and misuse.
  • It is vital to build an accountability system in case of any uncertain circumstances.
  • Companies are recommended to use strong antivirus and malware software for protection.
  • Regulations of access control measures such as PINS, Usernames, and passwords which are difficult to decode.
  • Unique IDs and passwords should be assigned which can only be accessed through computers or applications.
  • Cardholder Data should not be physically accessible.
  • Maintaining a track record of all transactions and card usage mediums.
  • Routine checkups and tests of all the security parameters.
  • An information security policy should be crafted to protect information.

Tokenization is also an extremely important part of every PCI-DSS compliance – it enhances payment security by converting sensitive data, such as credit and debit card numbers, into randomly-generated, undecipherable values called tokens (that are created algorithmically). Any PCI-compliant Payment Gateway should have tokenization and encryption features for maximum protection.

2. Understand the importance of PCI-DSS compliance

Compliance with all the requirements stated above of the payment card industry standards would help in gaining the trust of customers as they would feel secure that their information would be kept hidden and secured. This would protect them from theft and other criminal activities.

There are many examples in history where companies had to pay heavy fines and bear other consequences for not adhering to the requirements of the PCI. Heartland Payment, Enron, and Sony had to pay millions of dollars in fines and penalties for not completing all the requirements.

Not only card providers but stores also had to face adverse consequences in case of non-compliance with the PCI standards and regulations. For this reason, understanding the importance of PCI-DSS compliance and how it helps to prevent and handle data breaches is crucial for selecting the right Payment Gateway for your business.

3. Understand the effects of non-compliance

Breaching the compliance regulations can land companies in hot waters, accounts can get suspended, and companies get blacklisted in the ‘Terminated Merchant File’ after which you cannot get another account as well.

This will also result in heavy fines and penalties, bankruptcy, legal problems, and reduced sales, and profits.

A penalty of up to $500,000 can be charged if the cardholder’s data is tampered with or stolen. Your right to accept cards can also be taken resulting in just cash transactions.

Mostly, small businesses are exposed to such threats and security issues from hackers, or they choose a PCI-compliant gateway that has lower cost often overlooking their security parameters and other transactional requirements.

4. Determine your level of PCI-DSS

When it comes to PCI-DSS and selecting the right PCI-compliant payment gateway for your company, it is also important to determine the level that you should be at. This will depend on the amount of transactions that you are handling each year.

pci-dss levels

PCI-compliant payment gateway: determine your level

Level 1

Visa or MasterCard transactions of more than 6,000,000 per year and American Express transactions of more than 2,500,000 per year. Mastercard merchant who had data compromised in the previous year. Companies that handle credit card data or provide card processing services on behalf of other companies.

Level 2

Visa or MasterCard transactions from 1,000,000 to 6,000,000 per year while American Express transactions of 50,000 and 2,500,000 per year.

Level 3

Visa or MasterCard transactions of 20,000 to 1,000,000 per year. 50,000 American Express transactions per year.

Level 4

This level is only for Visa or Mastercard transactions of fewer than 20,000 per year (Not applicable for American Express). (https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/#4)

There is a Self-Assessment Questionnaire that helps in assessing PCI-DSS compliance, both in terms of individual compliance as well as when it comes to a PCI-compliant payment gateway. This also depends on the level of risk of payment procedures.

Businesses need to make their payment procedures and cashflows smooth by using A PCI-Compliant payment gateway. This makes the payment procedure easier, more efficient, and more secure.

Payment gateways keep the transactions secure through encrypted gateway servers and easy by handling personal customer data safely, reducing default with a minimum fund value available in the card for transactions, and reducing the chances of fraud being a reliable intermediary between merchants and customers.

5. Factors needed to be considered when choosing a PCI-Complaint Payment Gateway

Cost

It is important to choose a gateway according to your needs, customers, and requirements. Cost is the most important consideration for choosing a suitable PCI-compliant payment gateway. Cost includes setup fee, monthly fee, and transaction fee.

Transaction fees increase expenses if the volume and value of transactions are more which is why the value and volume of transactions are important determinants of cost. Thus, you should try to look for a PCI-compliant gateway with lower transaction costs.

Types of payment methods

There are various types of payment methods used by customers. Mastercard, Visa, and Amex are common and accepted by most PCI compliant gateways.

In case your customers are using some other kinds of cards, you should choose a PCI-compliant gateway that accepts that card at a lower transaction cost in case you have a higher volume of transactions.

Holding time

PCI compliant gateways often take time in settling a transaction which is its holding time. Holding time can be anywhere between 1-7 days.

If you want the payment immediately after the transaction, you should choose a payment gateway that would be able to complete the transaction in the time you require the payment.

International transactions

In the case of a business which requires international transactions, where you need payment from different countries in different currencies, you should choose a PCI-compliant payment gateway that charges lower fees and easier foreign transaction services.

You need to pick a payment gateway that is well equipped to handle recurring billing, moving transactions in the case of a subscription-based business. Thus, you should choose a payment gateway that offers all the options related to subscriptions easing your workload.

For example, MYMOID allows you to grow your business and accept payments in 45 countries and 128 currencies, making it easier for you to expand internationally.

Security

Different gateways may comply with different security standards when it comes to handling sensitive information, thus you should try to select a PCI-compliant payment gateway that is safe and secure for your customers.

The highest level a PCI-compliant payment gateway should adhere to is level 1 PCI compliance. You should try to choose a gateway with a clean history and who has not been involved in fraud. In addition to PCI-DSS, additional security features can go a great way in ensuring that you are not vulnerable to cyberattacks.

For example, on top of being PCI-DSS Level 1, MYMOID also meets the European Directive PSD2, offers continuous auditing and biometrics features, and can even help you reduce your number of chargebacks.

Hosted or non-hosted

There are two types of payment gateways, hosted where you enter your details on the payment processor’s website, and non-hosted where customers can enter details on your website only.

There is an advantage to hosted gateways where personal information is not stored on your website. However, a non-hosted PCI compliant payment gateway is easier and glitch-free as there can be a glitch on the payment processor’s website in case of high traffic.

Mobile phones

Many people are using mobile phones for buying or selling online which is why you need to choose a gateway that supports mobile transactions. PCI-compliant payment gateways often set an upper limit on the number of transactions per month or at a time.

It is important to keep in mind the value of your goods or service while choosing a PCI-compliant payment gateway with the desired limit.

benefits of using pay by link

Advanced features

When it comes to choosing the right PCI-compliant payment gateway for your business, an extremely important factor that you will need to keep in mind is the amount and utility of advanced features that the gateway offers.

At the end of the day, while accepting online payments safely is the main use of the gateway, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only one, and you can certainly maximize your revenue collection and take advantage of a lot more that comes with it.

For example, MYMOID allows you to accept recurring payments and manage subscription-based services, collect debt and increase conversion rate, accept donations, issue invoice payments through pay by link and QR, and a lot more. All on top of having a lot of security features to maximize safety both for you and your customers.

Analytics

A PCI-compliant payment gateway should also be able to provide powerful insights that will help you understand your transactions better, and grow your business accordingly. For this reason, make sure that it has analytics reports and dashboards to help you along the way.

Conclusion

There are multiple factors that you will need to consider when it comes to implementing a PCI-compliant Payment Gateway, including how easy it is going to be to integrate it with your business. Finding a gateway that meets all of your expectations can be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Learn more about MYMOID, an advanced payment gateway with powerful features that is perfect for many businesses.