Charities in the UK are at risk of being fined or banned from processing credit card transactions if they do not have a certificate that is being introduced by credit card companies, delegates at the International Fundraising Congress were warned yesterday.
Jamie Jackson, chief executive of the consultancy Fundraising Initiatives North America, said credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa had come together in 2005 to formulate collective security guidelines for tackling credit card fraud.
He said any organisation that stored or processed credit card details would need a Payment Card Industry Certificate to show it was compliant with these standards.
The credit card companies had so far been concentrating on contacting large corporations to ensure they had these certificates, Jackson said, but they were going to move on to charities. Many charities in the UK did not yet have a certificate, he told the gathering.
"Even if you just hold on to that data, you have to have one of these certificates," he said. "And if you don’t comply you could be suspended from processing credit card transactions – and you could be fined.
"They’ve been relatively relaxed so far about cracking down on charities. But if they come to you, you’re in trouble. If you go to them, you will get more favourable timelines to complete the process."
Jackson said he had been through the process three times for his company in the US, Canada and the UK, and said it would cost charities between $10,000 and $50,000 to get a certificate. The process could take between two months and one year, he said.
To find out more about the standards, charities should visit www.pcisecuritystandards.org.