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What Is PA DSS?

The Payment Application Data Security Standard represents a collection of principles intended to bolster the safe handling, preservation, and transfer of cardholder information within payment systems. Its objective is to safeguard confidential data and minimize the likelihood of security incidents in the financial transaction environment.

Difference Between PCI DSS And PA DSS

Here is a short take on PCI DSS vs PA DSS differences. The first one focuses on securing cardholder information for all entities involved in handling, storing, or transmitting it. It provides a set of comprehensive standards applicable to various actors.

The second one specifically targets payment agents that create applications to process, store, or transmit cardholder data. It outlines security requirements tailored for payment applications, ensuring their security and compliance within the larger framework.

Who Should Comply With PA DSS

  • Software suppliers;
  • Application developers;
  • eCommerce merchants use pay-apps that save, process, or transfer cardholder info.

How To Achieve PA DSS Compliance

  • Assess. Evaluate your app using a “PA DSS what is in scope” approach, checking on the requirements;
  • Remediate. Spot and fix vulnerabilities, and implement required security controls;
  • Document. Maintain documentation of your app’s security features and implementation guide;
  • Validate. Engage a PA-QSA (Payment Application Qualified Security Assessor) to review and validate your app’s compliance;
  • Submit. Provide the validation report and documentation for approval.
  • Maintain. Continuously monitor, review, and update your security controls.

What eCommerce Merchants Should Know About Their Payment Vendors?

  • PA-DSS compliance. Make sure the app is fully compliant;
  • Data security measures. Understand the vendor’s approach to data security, including encryption standards, fraud prevention, and data storage practices;
  • Integration and compatibility. Check if the vendor’s payment solution is compatible with your eCommerce platform and can be easily integrated into your existing systems;
  • Payment methods and currencies. Confirm the vendor supports the payment methods and currencies you need to cater to your target market;
  • Transaction fees and pricing structure. Be aware of the transaction fees and any other costs associated with using the vendor’s payment services;
  • Customer support. Evaluate the vendor’s customer support, including availability, response time, and problem-solving capabilities;
  • Processing speed. Assess the speed at which the vendor processes transactions, as this can impact your customer experience and cash flow;
  • Chargeback and dispute management. Understand the vendor’s processes for handling chargebacks & disputes and their policies on fees and resolution timeframes;
  • Reporting and analytics. Check if the vendor provides easy-to-use reporting and analytics tools to help you monitor your sales, transactions, and customer data;
  • Scalability. Make sure the vendor’s payment solution can scale with your business as it grows, accommodating higher transaction volumes and expanded features.


What is the purpose of PA-DSS?

It’s like your security playbook. It ensures the software is safe and trustworthy, meets safety standards, and protects cardholder information from breaches and theft.

My vendor is not PA DSS compliant, what should I do?

If your vendor’s payment application isn’t PA-DSS compliant, it means they might not be following the best security practices to protect your customers’ payment information.

But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do:

  • Talk to your vendor. Have a conversation with them about the importance of such compliance, and ask if they have any plans to become compliant in the near future.
  • Consider other options. If your vendor isn’t planning to become compliant, you might want to start looking for alternatives.
  • Keep an eye on your security. In the meantime, make sure you’re following the best security practices within your business.
    Report non-compliance to relevant authorities if necessary.

What is PA-DSS validation?

It is like getting a seal of approval for payment applications. It’s a way to make sure these apps follow security rules set by those in charge, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. They want to keep credit card info safe, so they make sure payment apps don’t store sensitive details and use strong encryption.

It is meant for third-party payment apps used by businesses to process electronic payments. If a business creates its own payment app, such validation doesn’t apply to them.

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