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Frequently Asked Questions


Below are some frequently asked questions related to payment processing, payment security, and the PCI DSS.

What is the PCI DSS?

The PCI DSS is a set of 12 requirements with which all merchants must comply.  The requirement to comply is mandated by the major card brands (Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, and JCB®).  Certain companies must also validate compliance.

I have heard other processors are not requiring compliance.  Is this true? 

Processors have no obligation to enforce compliance on merchants.  This is the responsibility of the merchant’s acquirer.  As an acquiring agent, ProPay is required by the major card brands to ensure all ProPay comply with all applicable card brand rules.  This includes compliance with PCI DSS.  All acquiring banks, and their agents, are required by the major card brands to ensure all merchants meet compliance with the PCI DSS and other operating regulations and rules.

What are the differences between an acquirer, processor, and gateway?

An acquirer is an organization that underwrites a merchant account and issues a Merchant ID (MID).  A MID allows the merchant to accept payment cards in exchange for goods or services.  A processor is an organization that connects into the card brand networks and supports the transaction process.  A gateway is an organization that connects into multiple processors and allows merchants to submit transactions for processing.

What happens if my company does not comply with the PCI DSS?

The card brands reserve the right to penalize companies that don’t comply with card brand operating regulations.  One of the regulations is that all merchants must comply with the PCI DSS at all times.  Non-compliance is subject to varying fines of up to $25,000 per month, depending upon factors such as transaction volume and type of merchant.  

What are the fees that are charged for my account?

When a payment card (credit, debit, charge card) is transmitted for processing, there are various fees required by various parties.  The card brand networks charge an Interchange fee which is variable and based upon numerous factors.  In addition, the processors charge a fee, and there may be other fees related to international payments and the use of alternative networks. 

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