In the context of the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) and the payment card industry, "payment cards" refer to physical or virtual cards that are issued by financial institutions, such as banks or credit card companies, to enable consumers to make electronic payments for goods and services. These payment cards typically include credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and other similar types of cards.
Payment cards are used by consumers to initiate transactions by presenting or providing card information to merchants or service providers. The card information usually includes the cardholder's name, card number, expiration date, and security code (CVV/CVC). This information is necessary for authorization and processing of the payment transaction.
The PCI SSC is responsible for establishing and maintaining security standards, known as the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), that govern the secure handling, storage, and transmission of payment card data. Compliance with the PCI DSS is mandatory for organizations that handle payment card information, including merchants, service providers, and any entity involved in payment card transactions.
The PCI DSS aims to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of payment card data, ensuring that sensitive cardholder information is securely managed and protected from unauthorized access, fraud, and data breaches. It sets requirements for secure network configurations, encryption, access controls, vulnerability management, and other security measures to safeguard payment card information.
Compliance with the PCI DSS is crucial for organizations in the payment card industry to maintain trust and confidence among consumers, prevent fraud, and mitigate the risks associated with handling sensitive payment card data. It helps create a secure environment for payment card transactions and protects both merchants and cardholders from potential security breaches and financial losses.