Protecting the payments ecosystem

Learn about the Mastercard Site Data Protection Program and PCI

Along with industry colleagues, Mastercard founded and developed the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in 2006. To help acquirers, merchants and service providers comply with this critical standard, Mastercard also offers the Site Data Protection Program (SDP).

The SDP Program, with the PCI DSS as its foundation, details the data security and compliance validation requirements necessary to protect stored and transmitted Mastercard payment account data.

The PCI DSS is designed to identify vulnerabilities in security processes, procedures and Web site configurations. PCI DSS compliance and subsequent compliance with the SDP Program mandate, helps merchants, service providers and issuers protect themselves against security breaches, while enhancing consumer confidence and protecting the overall integrity of the payment system.

Learn more about the PCI security standards

The PCI Data Security Standard

With over 250 sub-requirements, the PCI DSS can be sorted at a high level into 6 goals and 12 main requirements. 

Six Goals, 12 Requirements

Goals PCI DSS Requirements
Build and Maintain  
a Secure Network 
1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data 
2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
Protect Cardholder Data 3: Protect stored cardholder data 
4: Encrypt transmissions of cardholder data across open, public networks
Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program 5: Use and regularly update anti-virus software 
6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
Implement Strong Access
Control Measures
7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know 
8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access 
9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Regularly Monitor  
and Test Networks
10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data 
11: Regularly test security systems and processes
Maintain an Information
Security Policy
12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security



Payment application data security standard

The Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) is for software developers and integrators of payment applications that store, process or transmit cardholder data as part of authorisation or settlement when these applications are sold, distributed or licensed to third parties.

PA-DSS requires vendors of third-party payment applications to ensure proper security controls are in place to safeguard cardholder data. Many of the controls within PA-DSS are designed to specifically address common vulnerabilities that were identified as main causes in credit card data loss.

Mastercard mandate effective July 1, 2012

Effective July 1, 2012, Mastercard revised the Mastercard SDP Program Standards to require all merchants and service providers that use third party-provided payment applications to only use those applications that are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Payment Application Data Security Standard (PCI PA-DSS), as applicable. The applicability of the PCI PA-DSS to third party-provided payment applications is defined in the PCI PA-DSS Program Guide. In addition, Mastercard will establish a new PA-DSS compliance validation requirement for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 merchants as well as Level 1 and Level 2 service providers.

The Mastercard PA-DSS mandate will help continue to drive global adoption of and compliance with the PCI DSS for all stakeholders within the payment ecosystem.