Regulatory Compliance, Governance and Security

Aug 23 2009   4:42PM GMT

PCI DSS Compliance for Merchants | A Self-Assessment could be a thing of the Past



PCI DSS Compliance for merchants is a hot topic indeed as witnessed by the large and ever growing number of businesses having to comply with PCI DSS. And to be fair, the vast majority can “self-assess” for compliance by answering a series of questions from a specified “Self Assessment Questionnaire” (SAQ) document obtained at

But lurking beneath are a number of variables, issues and hot topics possibly resulting in many more merchants having to undertake an actual dreaded on-site PCI DSS assessment by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) instead of simply filling out a Self-Assessment Questionnaire.

For one, the Self Assessment Questionnaires are starting to become seen as nothing more than a check the box answer, with little or no efforts taken by the merchants to truly secure their cardholder data environment. Unfortunately, many merchants have come to symbolize the phrase “self assess” as a meaningless document which is nothing more than a burden to their businesses. Merchants beware, as the major payment brands, acquirers and other interested parties (i.e., state legislative bodies) are seeking to change this. MasterCard recently made changes to their Merchant level requirements, which to say the least, could potentially impact a large number of merchants. Add to the fact the payment processors, gateways and customers alike are now starting to ask more and more about PCI compliance from organizations they do business with.

If you want to learn more about PCI DSS compliance, visit the official PCI Resource Guide.

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