Definition: PCI is an acronym that stands for “Payment Card Industry”. The phrase is associated with a set of standards known as the Payment Card Industry Security Standards. The standards govern the practices associated with the use of credit cards and online commerce and were created by a private industry association. The main purpose of the standard is to provide a method of processing credit card information and to limit fraud. Organizations wishing to comply must be annually assessed.  The importance of PCI is immeasurable.  An organization engaged in processing credit card transactions should have a formal information security plan.

Its Relevance: Modern day electronic commerce would be impossible without PCI. Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards is voluntary but might very well be considered essential. Companies that uses credit card holder information may lose their ability to continue to do so if the standards are ignored. A compliant third party might otherwise be able to assist.

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