PCI Compliance means your business is abiding by data security standards established by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, and verified as such. This council was formed by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and JCB International, and the standards are designed to help merchants safely secure, store, process, and handle sensitive customer data. All businesses that accept credit cards are subject to these standards.
In essence, the major card brands have created a system to verify that you’re meeting pre-set security standards for PCI compliance. These standards are updated regularly, to help merchants mitigate potentially unsafe card practices. By becoming PCI Compliant, you’re ensuring that your business is staying as protected (as much as possible) from fraud, and accepting credit cards in the manner that Visa/MC/Discover/Amex deem safe and appropriate.
Becoming PCI compliant and staying compliant is pretty simple. Your business will be required to go through an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire to determine any potentially unsafe practices. Certain organizations may have additional requirements to become compliant based on their processing methods.