The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands but administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council was originally formed by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa Inc. on 7 September 2006, with the goal of managing the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
The standard was created to increase controls around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud. Validation of compliance is performed annually or quarterly, either by an external Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) or by a firm specific Internal Security Assessor (ISA) that creates a Report on Compliance for organizations handling large volumes of transactions, or by Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) for companies handling smaller volumes.
Any merchant that wants to process, store or transmit credit card data is required to be PCI compliant, according to the PCI Compliance Security Standard Council.