Online shoppers are being put at risk from lack of payment security compliance

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Recent months have seen a worrying decrease in the numbers of businesses complying with payment security regulations, new research has claimed.

The findings indicate a downward trend and that only a quarter of businesses are conforming meaning customers could see their financial details put at risk. 

Verizon’s annual Payments Security Report (PSR) also highlights how compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS, has been dropping since 2016. According to data collected for the report only 27.9% of businesses managed to reach required compliance levels throughout the year. However, back in 2016 the figure was 55.4%.

Increasing consumer demand during the coronavirus crisis has seen levels of online shopping increase for obvious reasons. Some 42% of consumers featured in the report say they are now shopping online. At the same time, 41% are reigning back their internet spend because of worries about online fraud. Verizon’s report therefore highlights just how crucial it is for online sellers to be fully PCI DSS compliant.

Geographically it seems businesses in the America’s are proving least likely to stick to the PCI DSS guidelines. Only 20% achieved it according to the Verizon data, while the Asia Pacific region is the leader when it comes to compliance with 70% managing to reach the required standard. European businesses currently occupy the middle region of conformity at just under half.

Data breaches

The report unearthed other worrying issues, as Verizon found that nearly one in five organizations doesn't have any kind of plan in place for ensuring that PCI DSS requirements are met. It’s even more concerning given the fact that 9 out of 10 data breaches are financially motivated.

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector appeared to fare worst of all in the study with Verison’s data identifying just over a quarter of businesses that were meeting requirements. Financial services firms were, perhaps unsurprisingly, most likely to meet the PCI DSS standards with 40% making the grade.

“Unfortunately we see many businesses lacking the resources and commitment from senior business leaders to support long-term data security and compliance initiatives. This is unacceptable,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, President, Global Enterprise, Verizon Business.

“The recent coronavirus pandemic has driven consumers away from the traditional use of cash to contactless methods of payment with payment cards as well as mobile devices. This has generated more electronic payment data and consumers trust businesses to safeguard their information. Payment security has to be seen as an on-going business priority by all companies that handle any payment data, they have a fundamental responsibility to their customers, suppliers and consumers.” 

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.