The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) was created by the major credit card brands in 2004 to encourage and enhance the security of credit card data.  The use of the DSS, which is a prescriptive set of requirements for securing credit card data at rest and in transit, is mandated by the major card brands and is required of all organizations accepting credit card payment transactions, known as merchants.Merchants are assigned levels based on the number of transactions they process of various brands per year.  These levels determine the type of annual compliance assessment that the merchant must perform, either a self-assessment or one by a third-party Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).  Failure to comply with the PCI-DSS may result in fines from credit card acquirers or even loss of the ability to accept credit card transactions.  The DSS and associated standards are managed by the PCI Security Standards Council and regularly updated as new threats emerge.