Acquirers say attitudes toward PCI make or break merchant relationships

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One in four acquirers say that how they approached Payment Card Industry security standard compliance caused them to lose merchant accounts.

However, 22% of the more than 130 acquirers, independent sales organizations or payment facilitators participating in a ControlScan survey felt their approach to PCI compliance helped them retain more merchants.

Ultimately, the survey reveals that more than half of the respondents view their compliance approach as having an impact on overall merchant satisfaction.

ControlScan, a security and compliance provider in the payments industry, conducted the survey between December 2016 and January 2017.

"Easing their merchants' PCI compliance pain is certainly to the acquirer's competitive advantage, but for risk reasons, it's important to actually get the merchants compliant," Chris Bucolo, director of market strategy at ControlScan, said in a March 22 press release. "Acquirers who become a trusted advisor to the merchant will be more knowledgeable, consultative and communicative, and that will strengthen merchant retention."

The survey found that 75% of respondents did see their portfolio compliance rate increase in 2016. Of those, 47% felt it was because they had increased the amount of merchant education surrounding compliance.

Ultimately, acquirers should seek a way to adjust PCI compliance programs so that merchants obtain "authentic compliance," or ongoing security awareness, Bucolo added. "Authentic compliance means the merchant has actually learned something versus simply checking the boxes."

Atlanta-based ControlScan worked with the Merchant Acquirer's Committee to establish the survey and provide findings to payments industry stakeholders.

For years, ControlScan's focus has been on easing the PCI compliance process for acquirers and merchants with various tools, including self-assessment questionnaires and network scans.

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