A 2015 report by U.S. network giant Verizon found that companies were ‘getting better’ at PCI compliance, despite 80% of organisations continuing to fail their interim assessment.
How’s your hotel doing on the PCI stakes? More importantly, do you even know what we’re referring to?
If you’re reading this post with a furrowed brow and vague recollection of ‘PCI’ as something that resulted in you spending far too long ticking random boxes in an attempt to answer meaningless questions contained within a forty page questionnaire from your credit card acquirer, we’d suggest reading on…
The PCI DSS Standards Council exists with a singular goal - to protect consumers from fraudulent use of their credit cards. And, as with any standard of this kind, it is littered with acronyms, reams of small print, endless requirements and - yes - the odd ambiguous rule.
Every business that handles credit card details in any way - no matter how small or fleetingly - needs to comply with PCI DSS if it is to avoid hefty penalties and gain consumer trust. Ignoring the PCI standard simply isn’t an option.
Despite the huge website and equally voluminous companion documentation, PCI DSS can be digested relatively easily - with the right support and insight. With that in mind, and because we’d rather you didn’t tear your hair out trying to make sense of it all, we’ve decided to pick out what we believe to be the six most important aspects of PCI compliance:
1. Protects guests
The hospitality industry is all about providing safe havens for business and leisure travellers, and beyond a comfy bed for the night and hearty breakfast, as a hotelier, you need to take care of your guest’s digital needs, too.
Personal data is a commodity targeted by cyber criminals, and if you remain PCI compliant, you can rest safe in the knowledge that the most important piece of guest data is safe while in your possession.
2. Boosts guest confidence
Consumers aren’t daft. When they hand over their credit card details, they want to be sure they’re going to be stored safely and handled with the utmost care.
If you can rubber stamp your hotel’s compliance with the PCI DSS standard, you can boost guest confidence by demonstrating how seriously you take the responsibility of retaining their credit card details. That means an awful lot to people, and they’ll repay you with increased advocacy.
3. Sets baseline security standards
For all its paperwork and seemingly endless rules, PCI DSS does force businesses to set a security standard by offering clear guidance on how credit card details should be handled.
Rules are rules, and if you implement them within your hotel as per the standard, there can be no confusion or misinterpretation among the staff base.
4. Steers you clear of hefty fines
A simple one, this; by becoming PCI compliant, you avoid some very heavy fines.
Non-compliance fees can run into several thousands of pounds, and we’re guessing you’d rather avoid that…
5. Reduces fines for data breaches
As previously noted, personal data is highly sought after on the black market, and if you hold customer data of any kind, it will always be at risk of a data breach.
If your hotel is PCI compliant and suffers a breach, the fines involved are reduced - providing you can prove you followed the rules of the standard.
6. Forces you to invest in the best tech
Is your hotel booking system PCI compliant? If not, you need to find one that is.
The best hotel booking systems and POS solutions on the market will be fully compliant with PCI DSS. That means you’ll have to invest in the best tech in order to remain compliant, and that can only be a good thing, because the best technology will enable you to build a relevant, profitable business.
It’s simple when you put it like that, isn’t it?
You will, however, still need some professional help to ensure you fully meet the rules contained within PCI DSS, which is why we highly recommend investing in the services of an expert.
We’d also suggest tuning in to our forthcoming webinar, which will dive deep into PCI and explore the facts (and myths) of processing guest credit cards. Places are limited, so why not book a front row seat today, by clicking below:
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