What Are PCI Non-Compliance Fees? How to Avoid Them [2023]

Learn everything you need to know about PCI compliance, how to avoid non-compliance fees, and how to protect your business from fraudulent transactions.

When customers buy from your business, they expect you to protect their personal data. PCI provides security standards to shield credit card numbers and other sensitive information during online transactions. If you've noticed a PCI non-compliance fee on a recent bill from your merchant services provider, it means your business doesn't meet minimum data security standards. 

Complying with PCI can reduce your monthly merchant service bill by eliminating these fees. It also allows you to avoid the costly long-term consequences of non-compliance and demonstrates your commitment to keeping customers safe when they shop with you. It's easier than you think to become PCI-compliant when you start with this simple guide.


What Is PCI?

PCI is actually an abbreviation of PCI DSS, which stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Online merchants must meet these standards to collect customer credit card information for purchases. 

PCI has established four DSS levels based on a business's security risk. Small businesses  should strive for at least Level 4 compliance to engage in e-commerce. PCI DSS Level 4 covers companies that process up to 20,000 annual Visa transactions. Level 1 is the top tier, designed for businesses bringing in at least 1 million annual transactions.

To comply with PCI DSS, you can partner with a PCI-compliant merchant service provider that:

  • Scans your system for security threats each quarter and gives you a comprehensive report
  • Creates a fully compliant environment for online transactions
  • Encrypts or tokenizes data during transmission and storage
  • Provides comprehensive support for security issues

Your business will also need to submit a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) every year to describe your current compliance measures. 

What Is a PCI Non-Compliance and Who Charges It?

You'll receive a PCI non-compliance fee if your company's online transactions don't meet the minimum PCI DSS guidelines. This most often happens if you miss your annual SAQ or quarterly security scan. 

While credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard set the rules for merchants, the charge for non-compliance comes from your merchant service provider or payment processor. 

How Can You Avoid PCI Non-Compliance Fees? 

You can achieve fast, easy PCI compliance by using a PCI-compliant payment service provider like Pay.com. Partnering with Pay.com provides your customers with the benefit of Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, the highest available standard. We'll help you exceed the requirements to avoid non-compliance fees.

After you've signed up with Pay.com and set up your secure Pay Dashboard, you can take steps for further protection by:

  • Ensuring your employees know how to handle sensitive financial data
  • Reviewing the results of your quarterly security scan
  • Keeping your company's SAQ up to date

What to Look For in a Merchant Service Provider

When you invest in merchant services, researching providers can help you avoid excessive fees, lack of PCI compliance, and other potential pitfalls. Keep these factors in mind as you check out each company on your list.

Fair, Transparent Fees

You should receive a merchant service agreement with complete terms and conditions. It should spell out all the fees you'll pay and the features and benefits you'll get from the provider. If you don't understand something you see in this contract, be sure to get detailed answers before you sign. 

Pay.com provides an easy-to-understand fee structure. You can see all your transactions and the associated charges whenever you log into your personalized Pay Dashboard

Customizable Checkout and Flexible Features

You can cater to your customers when your provider offers multiple payment methods and ways to connect. With Pay.com, you can create a branded checkout page on your own website, send secure links to get payment, or transmit secure Pay Checkout Requests right from your Pay Dashboard. 

You select the options you want to include in your company's checkout process, including your logo and customized copy. Click here to get started now!

Trustworthy Track Record

A few minutes of online research before signing with a merchant service provider can save you money and stress in the long run. You can check the Better Business Bureau and other industry sites to see whether companies like yours have complaints about the provider. 

Finally, consider trying out the company's customer service avenues to see how quickly they respond to requests for help. After all, you don't want to get stuck without assistance and lose sales as a result. 

The Bottom Line: How to Avoid PCI Non-Compliance Fees 

PCI non-compliance fees can add up over time, but they're still much less expensive than the cost of a company data breach. If you don't provide customers PCI-compliant transactions, your business will be legally responsible for financial losses as well as fines. Even if credit card data stays safe, you could eventually lose your merchant account for failure to comply. 

Fortunately, you don't have to contend with PCI compliance alone. When you work with Pay.com, we'll take care of data security so you can focus on running your business. Our payment systems support top-tier Level 1 PCI DSS compliance with fully encrypted transactions. 

We also provide an extra level of authentication with 3D Secure 2.0 technology. Our easy set-up means you can launch your e-commerce enterprise and start accepting online payments in just a few minutes.


What's the easiest way for a business to become PCI compliant?

Pay.com provides a PCI-compliant way to take payments online. Your business can set up shop on your own website, use our Pay Checkout request system, or send secure links to your customers. We'll take care of shielding their sensitive credit card information while helping you avoid fees and other unwanted consequences of noncompliance. Click here to get started now!

What happens if you aren't PCI compliant?

You can lose your merchant account if you remain non-compliant with PCI, which means you won't be able to accept credit and debit cards. If a data breach occurs when you're out of compliance, you'll have legal responsibility for financial losses and can potentially receive thousands of dollars in fines.

Are PCI non-compliance fees a scam?

PCI non-compliance fees aren't considered a scam since they end as soon as you comply. However, some providers charge these fees without notice, so it's important to check your monthly merchant statements. If your provider charges you for PCI compliance services, make sure you're receiving protection in exchange.

What does PCI stand for?

PCI is short for PCI DSS, which stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. An industry organization called the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council was created by the credit card companies in 2006 to develop and maintain these standards. PCI DSS currently consists of 12 areas for merchant compliance.

Meet the author
Andrea Miller
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. Specializing in business and finance, she has written for some of the major websites in the financial sector. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her family and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.
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