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Do Businesses Need PCI Compliance with Stripe?

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Written By William Dawsey

When switching to a new payment platform, it is essential to understand what legal compliance requirements are to sell compliant software solutions to their consumers.

Is Stripe PCI Compliant?

All platforms like Stripe that accept credit cards must be PCI DSS compliant, meaning that they meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. These mandatory requirements help provide adequate consumer security when accepting, processing, storing, or transmitting credit card data.

Failure to be PCI DSS compliant can lead to costly monthly fines, data breaches, legal action, and a damaged business reputation.

Many businesses don’t want to take the risk of violating PCI compliance, so they rely on their software providers to use PCI-compliant integrations like Stripe. This gives businesses peace of mind about their PCI compliance needs.

A quick tip: Businesses do need PCI-Compliance, but they need to qualify what their question means when asking if they need PCI-Compliance with Stripe. We will provide you with the necessary guidance to know what your business needs to become compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

Is Stripe PCI Compliant?

How do Stripe Payments work?

Stripe provides a wide range of payment options to businesses, but the company is not a payment processor. It is an independent sales organization.

The company acts as an intermediary between merchants and banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions instead of processing payments.

Forming a direct connection between a merchant and a payment processor involves a complex approval process. Stripe has already done the heavy lifting of starting a relationship with several processing entities. The platform bundles its merchant clients under its company account. Merchants have almost instant access to the most prominent payment processors.

Stripe Payments has increased its payment options as eCommerce has grown. The company started by enabling online credit card payments.

Today, merchants can use the platform to accept digital wallet payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay, automatic payments, and payments in over 135 different currencies. Businesses come in many different sizes.

Stripe Payment Options For Businesses

Stripe provides several options to access the payment features of the platform. Here are the top Stripe payment options you should consider for your business:

  • Stripe Checkout
  • Stripe Mobile SDK
  • .JS v2
  • Stripe Dashboard
  • Directly to The API

PCI Compliance with Stripe: Do Businesses Need One in 2021?

1. Stripe Checkout

Stripe Checkout is an embeddable payment form that can be integrated into any program for optimized customer conversion. This program eliminates the need to consistently redirect the consumer and potentially lose them along the way.

When consumers enter their credit card details into the Checkout form, the details are securely sent to Stripe’s servers. This is part of Stripe’s requirements for a secure payment portal for all its customers.

Once Stripe’s highly secure servers receive the card details, they’ll send a token representation. A server can quickly submit this for use. This process completely bypasses putting the data on the platform user’s servers, which means fewer issues with PCI compliance.

Some of the most stringent PCI compliance requirements revolve around storing cardholder data. With Checkout, Stripe is the organization keeping the cardholder’s data, not the platform user. This makes PCI compliance one of Stripe’s requirements and not the business’s legal requirements.

This makes Stripe’s Checkout an extremely convenient solution for any software program looking to reduce critical PCI compliance issues regarding collecting, processing, and storing consumer credit card data.

Due to the third-party outsourcing of payment processing, platform users can enjoy filing a simple SAQ-A, the easiest of the compliance forms.

2. Stripe Mobile SDK

Working with mobile apps gives merchants a way to accept payments and monitor activity on an Android or iOS device. Mobile app development is a perfect solution for merchants with traveling offices like repair professionals or food trucks.

A well-designed solution offers access to Stripe Dashboard and other administrative features so that an administrator can handle issues remotely. Using mobile devices also lowers a merchant’s overhead cost for new hardware.

Stripe provides an SDK that is compliant with PCI-DSS requirements 6.3 and 6.5. Its validated architecture allows for the passing of consumer credit card data straight to Stripe’s servers. While it is highly recommended to rely on the official SDKs for iOS and Android from Stripe to ensure adequate PCI-DSS compliance, customization is possible.

One may build a unique payment form with Elements in WebView. This offers more flexibility in terms of design features for the business. The official SDK and forms made with Elements in WebView are PCI DSS compliant to submit a simple SAQ-A.

PCI Compliance with Stripe: Do Businesses Need One in 2021?

3. .JS v2

The PCI-DSS Security Standards Council has increased and changed the eligibility requirements for SAQA. These requirements require companies to use input fields hosted by any payment provider to be eligible for SAQA, which is the easiest, quickest, and most simple method for any business’ PCI-DSS compliance.

With Stripe, organizations can ensure that by using both Checkout and Elements they will be complying (since Stripe designed both functionalities having the PCI-DSS Security Standards Council changes in mind) and be able to continue validating using SAQA.

However, for Stripe .JS v2, organizations will need to work more to be compliant with PCI-DSS.

Bottom line, is if companies continue to use Stripe .JS v2, they will need to perform an actual SAQ A-EP yearly to prove their business is PIC-complaint, making everything more complex. Making sure that your company is getting the proper consulting is highly recommended. 

4. Stripe Dashboard

Stripe’s Dashboard provides a user-friendly interface to allow business owners to operate and configure their Stripe accounts. In the Dashboard, one can accept payments, initiate refunds, answer disputes, and monitor their overall system integration.

While one can manually enter payment details in the Dashboard, it is not recommended as this could open one up to PCI compliance issues.

Stripe can only guarantee cardholder data entered by the end consumer in their secure SDKs, Checkout, or Elements. Stripe cannot entirely secure data manually taken from the consumer by the business as they didn’t handle the taking of the data.

While the standard Stripe Dashboard is very user-friendly, customization is a necessity for most businesses. Businesses should consider integrating other helpful applications to turn the Dashboard into a one-stop shop.

Some popular integrations include transfer reporting, accounting support, billing, and financial reporting. All of these can be integrated in a PCI-DSS-compliant way.

5. Directly to The API

Sending cardholder information directly to one’s API opens one up to more PCI compliance necessities.

Instead of enjoying the ease of SAQ-A that one could have with Stripe PCI compliance, one will be required to upload SAQ-D. This form is much more time-consuming and comprehensive than SAQ-A. Most businesses won’t want to deal with the extensive SAQ-D when they can submit SAQ-A.

It is highly advisable to migrate to client-side tokenization like Stripe, as this reduces the compliance requirements for the user. When one doesn’t migrate, they aren’t supported by Radar.

Radar is Stripe’s fraud prevention toolset that includes functions like risk assessment and rules. Only users of Stripe’s SDKs, Checkout, and Elements get the added support of Radar. Plus, users of Stripe can enjoy the added benefit of Stripe PCI compliance.

Stripe highly recommends that businesses use Stripe’s mobile SDKs, Checkout, or Elements for accepting all forms of credit card payments from consumers. This eliminates one’s integration from handling any credit card data.

Even though one’s integration may not be storing credit card data, it will still need to meet specific PCI compliance regulations because it handles sensitive consumer data.

Why Enhancing Capabilities is Beneficial When it Comes to PCI Compliance For Stripe?

Why Enhancing Capabilities is Beneficial When it Comes to PCI Compliance For Stripe?

Additionally, PCI compliance is not something that one wants to mess around with. Even those that one wasn’t knowingly aware of, violations of compliance can lead to costly fines and business destruction. As a software provider, one wants to protect themselves from breaches and their many clients.

Having a client upset about PCI compliance violations due to a product of one’s offering can lead to a bad relationship and a potentially nasty legal situation.

One can avoid these unpleasant situations with their consumers by customizing any platform. Savvy developers handle full Stripe integration and will guarantee compliance. All software development tailor-made to fit any organization’s needs will comply with U.S. Consumer Protection Standards, PCR, PCI DSS, EMV, Check-21, PA DSS, and many other payment standards.

A viable payment processing platform is just the start in a world that requires credit card processing to conduct a large portion of business transactions. One must think about integrating a payment system that allows them to be PCI compliant. Advanced integration tools are one of the reasons for Stripe’s popularity.

The platform includes several third-party integrations that make fast connections with popular productivity, accounting, and CRM software.

However, a professional developer can increase Stripe’s functionality by creating a custom integration with the platform. Stripe integration services that are PCI DSS compliant alongside a long list of other compliance standards are any business’ best choice.

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