How to Enable PCI Compliance on Your WooCommerce Store – Easiest Way

Last updated on April 24, 2021

You must have heard about PCI compliance and how it is necessary to protect your customers’ credit card information and transactions. And now you must be wondering if your WooCommerce store is PCI compliant? It’s a good question, one which WooCommerce itself explains perfectly.

WooCommerce is not completely PCI compliant out-of-the-box. But it has a solid approach and it ensures that you can easily make it PCI compliant with the help of plugins or an expert. 

Now that you are aware of the importance of your WooCommerce store’s PCI compliance, let’s learn how to ensure customer data safety and security on your site.

Check out our Complete Security Analysis of WooCommerce and how you can improve vulnerable areas.

What is PCI Compliance? Let’s Dig in Details

PCI-DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This ensures the security of payment methods in which the customers are using their credit and debit cards on your WooCommerce store. It helps in protecting merchant’s data as well. No one wants their data to be hacked and misused so, it’s important that your online store is PCI compliant, or you could be charged with huge fines. 

These rules were defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council that applies to any customer or merchant that is storing, using or processing transactions through credit and debit cards. It reduces the risk of fraud and increases security. 

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What are the Requirements of 12 Core PCI-DSS

Requirements of 12 Core PCI-DSS

There are 12 requirements for 12 Core PCI-DSS that are categorized into 6 criteria. Many requirements are “Out of Scope” of WooCommerce and thus alternative solutions are mentioned below. 

Build and Maintain a Secure Network

  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
  2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters

Here you need to select a good and trusted hosting provider which enables PCI compliance and also uses strong passwords to ensure maximum security.

Protect Cardholder Data

  1. Protect stored cardholder data
  2. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks

Make sure that the payment gateway you choose is also PCI compliant as it stores the cardholder data. Also installing SSL certificates encrypts the data and protects it from misuse. 

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

  1. Use and regularly update anti-virus software
  2. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications

This also depends on your hosting selection. Moreover, it is important to limit the use of plugins or use only trusted plugins to prevent security issues, as PCI compliance covers all installed software.

Implement Strong Access Control Measures

  1. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
  2. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
  3. Restrict physical access to cardholder data

WooCommerce provides you the ability to assign user roles and restrict access to certain information. In this way, only the business owner has access to cardholder data.

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

  1. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
  2. Regularly test security systems and processes

Use an ASV (Approved Scanning Vendor) to find issues and security bugs on your site and fix them right away.  

Maintain an Information Security Policy

  1.   Maintain a policy that addresses information security

It is the business owner’s responsibility to define policies regarding data protection and PCI compliance and make sure they are followed.

Sounds pretty simple, right? But if you find this a bit confusing, you can always just opt for a payment gateway that itself is PCI compliant and handles all the transactions easily and securely. But if you want to enable PCI compliance on your WooCommerce store, keep on reading for a complete step-by-step guide.

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How to Make a WooCommerce Store PCI Compliant?

How to Make a WooCommerce Store PCI Compliant?

Enabling WooCommerce PCI compliance is easy and requires few steps for completion. Let’s see what we have to do to protect customer and merchant data.

1. Get an SSL Certificate

Getting an SSL certificate is not an absolute requirement for WooCommerce PCI compliance. But it helps protect your site, especially if your site enables users to create accounts and save their items on wishlists or carts. Besides protecting customers’ information, it is also good for your site’s SEO, as Google flags sites that do not have an SSL certificate

SSL certificates are usually provided with the hosting service selected for free, or you can buy them at very economical prices from third-party sources.   

2. Find Out your Merchant Level

Identifying your merchant level refers to how many credit card transactions are processed in a year by your business. This level is determined by your credit card company and the lowest level is usually under 20,000 transactions per year. If your business also falls under the lowest level, you need to fill out an SAQ (Self-Assessment Questionnaire) form to get PCI compliance. 

3. Choosing SAQ

SAQ refers to a questionnaire where you answer questions in Yes or No regarding how to store and protect cardholder data. But for a WooCommerce store, you need to choose between SAQ-A or SAQ A-EP.

SAQ A is used when your customers enter their credit card information in a third-party site’s page after being redirected, and coming back on-site to complete confirmation. As no data is stored on your site, you can easily meet PCI compliance standards as all work is handled by the payment gateway.

Whereas, SAQ A-EP is used when you have a payment form embedded on your site and customers fill their credit card information directly on your website without being redirected. Customer data is encrypted as soon as it is entered. Thus, it requires higher standards for WooCommerce PCI compliance but also better protects your data with regular malware scans, server firewalls, and much more. 

4. Submitting SAQ

Last but not the least, you need to submit your SAQ file. If you are using SAQ A, you need to send it to your payment gateway that is processing the payments. Whereas, for SAQ A-EP, you need to scan your website with ASV once a quarter and send the results to the Enforcing Organization. Make sure you find a trusted and secure hosting service for your business because these tasks can also be handled by your hosting provider.

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Final Words

Ensuring that your website is secure to handle customer information is crucial in today’s digital age. Enabling PCI compliance on your WooCommerce store is easy if you follow the steps perfectly. Moreover, save yourself from the hard work of doing it manually and choose a payment gateway that is PCI compliant.

Editorial Team
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