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A Comprehensive Guide to Credit Card Vaulting

As the digital age continues to evolve, the importance of card security measures is becoming increasingly crucial. Credit card vaulting is one of the most important components of any PCI compliance service, providing a secure way to store customer payment data. In this blog, we will review the basics of these services and provide a comprehensive guide for understanding how they work, as well as how they can protect your customers’ sensitive information.

Why Is Card Security More Important Than Ever?

With the rise of online transactions, cyberthreats have become a top priority for businesses everywhere. Every day, millions of customers are exposed to potential data breaches and identity theft. According to a 2023 survey conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, 33% of Americans have been victims of some form of identity theft in their lifetime.

Additionally, the average cost of data breaches has recently hit an all-time high in 2022. These staggering figures illustrate why card security measures are more important than ever.

What Is Credit Card Vaulting?

Credit card vaulting is a service provided by professional companies that protects customers’ sensitive credit card information. Through this service, merchants can securely store customer credit card data in a secure virtual “vault,” reducing the risk of potential data breaches.

What Types of Businesses Need Credit Card Vaulting?

Any business that handles sensitive cardholder data needs to take the necessary steps to secure the data and protect their customers. This includes online and retail stores, restaurants, and any other type of business that processes credit card payments. Credit card vaulting is especially important for businesses with recurring billing models, where customers allow merchants to store their payment information for future use. Secure storage enables merchants to quickly and easily process future transactions without having to ask customers for their information each time.

How Does Credit Card Vaulting Work?

Credit card vaulting involves the merchant collecting and encrypting customer credit card data and storing it on a secure server. The merchant never actually stores the customer’s information, but instead stores an encrypted token that can be used to process transactions without exposing the customer’s actual credit card number. Merchants have two main options to choose from:

How Does Internal Credit Card Vaulting Work?

An internal credit card vault solution involves the merchant storing customer credit card details in their own secure database. This allows the merchant to keep complete control of the data and ensures that it is protected. However, this option requires the merchant to be PCI compliant, as they are responsible for the security of the customer’s information, and also demands serious overhead.

How Does External Credit Card Vaulting Work?

External credit card vaulting involves the use of a third-party service to securely store customer’s credit card details. This service is often used by large companies and online retailers, as it allows them to outsource the responsibility of PCI compliance while still providing their customers with a secure way to pay.

No matter which option is chosen, it is important for merchants to ensure that their credit card vaulting solution is robust and secure. This means that the vault should be encrypted, and the credit card numbers should never be stored in plain text. Additionally, merchants should regularly audit and monitor the vault to ensure that the data remains secure and safe from potential breaches or misuse.

The Benefits of Credit Card Vaulting

The Benefits of Credit Card Vaulting

Credit card vaulting provides merchants with several key benefits:

  • Enhanced Security: By eliminating the need to store customer credit card information on-site, merchants can significantly reduce their risk of a data breach or other security incident.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: Customers are assured that their sensitive information is being securely stored, which can increase trust and satisfaction.
  • Increased Efficiency: By securely storing customer credit card data, merchants can quickly and easily process future transactions without having to ask customers for their information each time.
  • Reduced PCI Compliance Costs: Credit card vaulting services help merchants meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements with minimal effort and cost.

How Does Credit Card Vaulting Relate to PCI Compliance?

PCI compliance (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a set of security standards that merchants must adhere to in order to securely store and process credit card payments. The goal of the PCI DSS is to protect customer data and promote secure transactions. In order to be compliant, merchants must have adequate systems in place for storing, processing and transmitting cardholder data. This includes having a secure credit card vault that meets all the requirements outlined by the PCI DSS.

Interested in Learning More About PCI Compliance Services?

Concerned about PCI compliance and not sure if your business is meeting it? Check out our ultimate guide! In it, we break down everything you need to know about the PCI Data Security Standards and PCI Compliance.

The Pros and Cons of Internal Vaulting Vs. Outsourced Credit Card Vaulting Services

When it comes to credit card vaulting, merchants have two main options discussed above—internal vaulting or outsourcing the service. To briefly review, internal vaulting involves the merchant maintaining their own on-site secure credit card vault. Outsourced credit card vaulting services allow merchants to outsource this responsibility to a third-party provider. Learn more about the pros and cons of these two below:

The Benefits of Internal Credit Card Vaulting

One of the main benefits of maintaining an internal credit card vault is the control and flexibility it provides. When merchants manage their own vault, they can customize it to suit their particular needs. They also have full control over access and security protocols, which makes it easier to meet PCI DSS compliance requirements. This reduces the risk of data breaches and other security issues. Additionally, managing an internal vault means that merchants are not dependent on a third-party provider for access or support.

The Limitations of Internal Credit Card Vaulting

One of the main drawbacks of managing an internal credit card vault is that it requires a significant amount of overhead. Merchants must invest in hardware and software, as well as personnel to maintain the system. Additionally, merchants must ensure that their security protocols remain up-to-date with the latest PCI DSS standards or risk fines and penalties for non-compliance. Finally, because merchant’s are responsible for all aspects of the system, any technical issues or other problems can be difficult and time-consuming to fix.

The Benefits of Outsourced Credit Card Vaulting Services

Outsourcing your credit card vaulting needs to a third-party provider can be a smart decision for many merchants. It removes the need to invest in hardware and software, as well as staff dedicated to maintaining it. Additionally, PCI DSS compliance is often baked into the service—ensuring that your data remains safe and secure without adding extra work or worry on your part. Furthermore, if any technical issues arise, outsourced providers are usually able to quickly address them due to their specialized knowledge and experience.

The Limitations of Outsourced Credit Card Vaulting Services

Although there are many benefits to outsourcing your credit card vaulting services, it’s important to remember that you won’t have full control over the data. This can be a problem for merchants who value their customer data and want full control over it. There may be additional costs associated with the service, such as monthly or annual fees, as well as a payment for technical support when needed. However, these concerns can be mitigated by working with a professional that understands your needs and have solutions in place to address those needs.

Simplify Your Credit Card Security With PCI Booking’s PCI Compliance Services

PCI Booking is the perfect solution for simplifying your credit card security and meeting PCI compliance standards. Our comprehensive platform combines payment processing and credit card data security into one unified system, making it easy to manage all of your payment needs with a single solution. By streamlining the process, you can save time and resources while keeping your customer data secure. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you simplify your credit card vaulting services.