In short, PCI is to eliminate card theft. It is a recently devised process by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc. to eliminate credit card fraud around the world by forcing everyone to update their terminals, applications and procedures. The process only allows secured applications and terminals to process credit cards. Additionally, it also adds security and training at the merchant level by forcing the merchant to "sign off" on their card handling procedures via a questionaire, and forces the merchant to have an external quarterly scan process attempt to hack into your network/computers just as a real hacker would from the outside world. The problem is that unsecured applications and systems that have been compromised are completely invisible to the merchant as they continue to have card numbers "lifted" from their PCs day after day with no knowledge that it is happening. For more information about PCI Compliancy go to https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/.
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