The Payment Card Industry (PCI) is the segment of the financial industry that governs the use of all electronic forms of payment.
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) oversees policies and technologies behind non-cash payments including transactions involving credit cards, prepaid cards, point-of-sale cards, e-purse, bank debit and ATM cards. In many places around the world, most payments made for goods and services go through the PCI rather than as cash transactions.
PCI organizations lease PCI hardware to commercial vendors of all kinds. A PCI authority known as an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) verifies compliance to the Data Security Standards (DSS) set forth by the PCI Security Standards Council. The ASV scans the vendor’s payment card network, ensuring minimum standards are in place and searching for vulnerabilities that might leave customer data exposed.
The PCI Security Standards Council was created by American Express, VISA, Discover, MasterCard and the Japan Credit Bureau in 2007. The PCI SCC is responsible for developing and managing the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS).