PCI Compliance Validation Service Program FAQ

What is PCI DSS?

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is a set of requirements for enhancing payment account data security. These standards were developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International ,MasterCard Worldwide and Visa, Inc. to facilitate industry-wide adoption of consistent data security measures on a global basis. The Standard aims to increase awareness and promote best practices in the handling of sensitive information as a means to minimizing identity theft and fraudulent transactions.


Is PCI DSS new?

No. The framework of the PCI data security standards has existed in different forms for some time now and continue to evolve. You may be more familiar with the payment brands' programs that promote the adoption of the PCI DSS

  • MasterCard: Site Data Protection (SDP) program - www.Mastercard.com/sdp
  • Visa: Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) - www.Visa.com/cisp
  • Discover Network: Discover Information Security & Compliance (DISC) - www.Discovernetwork.com/fraudsecurity/disc.html
  • American Express: Data Security Operating Policy - www.AmericanExpress.com/datasecurity


I only process a few hundred dollars a month. Does my merchant account still need to be PCI complaint?

Yes, all merchants, whether small or large, are required to be PCI compliant. The payment brands have collectively mandated PCI DSS compliance for any and all organizations that process, store or transmit payment cardholder data. Inherent in having a merchant account is the ability to handle cardholder data.


I already use a "PCI complaint" terminal/gateway. Doesn't that mean i am PCI compliant?

No. Use of PCI compliant payment application is one aspect of the many  PCI DSS requirements, which cover handling of sensitive data. Currently, the PCI DSS list twelve requirements. These requirements are organized around the following principles:

  • Build and maintain a secure network
  • Protect cardholder data
  • Maintain a vulnerability management program
  • Implement strong access control measures
  • Regularly monitor and test networks
  • Maintain an information security policy


Can I choose not to certify for PCI compliance?

If you choose not to complete the self-assessment questionnaire (and applicable network scans) you may overlook certain data security practices that minimize your risk of a security breach. In the event that your business is compromise, you may be subject to substantial fines per payment brand. These fines would be in addition to the expensed and fraudulent transactions resulting from the breach. In light of the importance that data security has to the payment processing industry and consumers at large, we , as your service provider, may also begin imposing a fee for each month that your account has not been validated as PCI complaint or in any given month your account is deemed non-complaint. Failure to validate compliance may result in the termination of your merchant account.


How long is the PCI compliance certification valid?

The PCI Compliance certificate is valid for one year from the date the certificate is issued. To maintain your compliance, you are required to complete the PCI DSS self-assessment questionnaire annually and conduct any applicable network scan on a quarterly basis.


What if I have already been certified or choose to certify through another Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) /Approved Scanning Vendro (ASV)?

If you have already been PCI DSS certified or if you choose to use another QSA/ASV, please submit your certification documentation  to us via e-mail compliance@hippocharging.com or fax (866)463-7804. 

You can also reach our compliance team at 888-317-7685

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