PCI Security Standards are 12 technical and operational macro requirements set by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to protect cardholder data. The standards apply to all entities that store, process or transmit cardholder data. The Council is responsible for managing the security standards, while compliance with the PCI set of standards is enforced by the founding members of the Council: American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard and Visa Inc.
Being PCI DSS compliant provides a valuable asset to customers that your business is safe to transact with. Conversely, the cost of noncompliance, both in monetary and reputational terms, should be enough to convince any business owner to take data security seriously.
The Standard applies to both Merchants and Service Providers.