What is the Role of Merchant Services and is PCI DSS Compliance a Must?


Accepting EBT or credit card payment, both are payment solutions and are available with more than 26,000 retailers. It includes grocery stores, convenience stores, specialty retailers, and quick-serve or fast-food restaurants nationwide.

The aim to consider ebt is to accept payments easily. The merchant services accept payment types in a wide range. They use the latest methods of payment to ensure flexible payment terminals so that even with EBT, the government program is easy to use. The merchants support the needs of payment processing by offering smart payment terminals to adapt to retail environments. There is a robust gateway of payment supporting a seamless payment experience.
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What is SNAP?

SNAP represents Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It is also popular as food stamps. SNAP is a federal nutrition program providing eligible families and individuals with financial assistance to purchase food.

SNAP EBT cards are with approved merchants selling food staple products. These merchant services process the EBT transactions. You must register before beginning the processing of the transactions of EBT.  On having registration as a SNAP retailer, you can ensure your POS system terminal support is accepting ebt payments. If not, you may contact the merchant service provider to get the right terminal.

The process to start is:

  • Visit the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) eAuthentication website and register your account.
  • Collect the SNAP form application and submit essential documentation.
  • Ensure the POS terminal or the card reader accepts the PIN-debit transactions.

The government funds the SNAP program, and so the merchants are not expected to pay any fees for card processing. The EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards facilitate the customers to pay through a government-funded financial assistance program for food and other products. 

Importance of PCI DSS Compliance

The organizations accepting credit cards for payments and the various payment methods use these payments. It is widely accepted. The complexity and number of systems and services that support the organizations and the credit card payments are incredible.

The relationships and the risks associated between merchants accepting payment through credit cards and the entities supporting them are constantly increasing. It is important to have PCI DSS Compliance so that there is no breach activity.

Merchant services know a merchant agreement between the acquiring banks, and accepting the payment through credit card is a must for their business. Nevertheless, the service providers do not know they are service providers and lack knowledge about their responsibilities.  

Thus, the PCI Council must explain its importance. A merchant is an entity accepting payment cards. For the PCI DSS Compliance, the cards should have the logo of Discover, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, or JCB. Having any of these logos impliesyou can make payment for the services and/or goods.

Merchants must validate the PCI DSS compliance. A merchant must understand their service providers. Thus, it is necessary to find the best merchant services and have formal agreements with the service providers. The deals should call out explicitly the PCI requirement that is the responsibility of the service provider and the merchant’s requirements to manage the duty.

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Role of PCI DSS

Business entities are not any payment brand. They are involved directly in the storage, processing, or cardholder data transmission. It includes companies providing services that can impact or control the card holder data security. Traditional service providers include payment gateways, payment processors, managed POS companies, and providers coming into direct contact in the payment process with card data.

Not all organizations recognize their roles that they are the service providers, which places the customers and their own business at risk. For a managed network to safeguard the activities of point of sale systems or the back office computer, there is a need for PCI DSS Compliance. It should come as merchant services with firewall protection so that the card data environment is safe.  It will keep the billing account management, hosting, co-location providers, and back- office services going smoothly.

The PCI Security Standards Council states to a service provider that:

A merchant accepting card payments as payment for his services or goods is also a service provider. The services he sells result in processing, storing, or transmitting the cardholder’s data, that is, on behalf of other service providers or merchants.

Even if your business is operating as merchant services primarily, acknowledging all the components of the service provider is a holistic way to have PCI DSS compliance.