APS #4056


Payment Card Compliance Program

Brief Description

This policy establishes ultimate authority over payment card activity, assigns responsibility for oversight of campus payment card merchants, and specifies who bears the costs and risks of organizational units accepting card payments.

Reason for Policy

The acceptance of payment cards by organizational units incurs costs and presents significant financial and reputational risks to the university.  This policy establishes authority and responsibility for overall management of the university’s payment card programs, clarifying responsibility for approval and oversight of payment card merchants, and assigning responsibility for costs and risks associated with payment card acceptance.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
Payment Card Compliance Program
APS Number: 
Effective Date: 
March 1, 2017
Approved By: 
President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Responsible Office: 
Policy Contact: 
Assistant Treasurer, 303-837-2182
4056-Acceptance of Payment Card Cost and Risk, January 1, 2011
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
March 1, 2017
Applies to: 
All organizational units that accept payment card payments across all campuses and system

I. Introduction

Payment cardsPayment cardSee Section III. Definitions are one of the most convenient but also most costly methods for accepting payment for goods and services. In addition, acceptance of payment cards has inherent risks for the merchantMerchantSee Section III. Definitions unit and the university. The immediate risk is of a payment transaction being returned to the unit after a good or service is provided to a customerCustomersAn individual who applies for and/or receives goods or services from the University.. There is also the risk that any cardholder data within the merchant processing environment, on paper or in electronic form, is compromised and possibly used for fraudFraudIncludes certain illegal acts; misstatements arising from fraudulent financial reporting; and misstatements arising from misappropriation of assets. Fraudulent illegal acts are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and perpetrated to obtain money, property or services; to avoid payment or loss of services; or to secure personal or business advantage. Misstatements arising from fraudulent financial reporting are intentional misstatements or omissions of amounts or disclosures in financial statements to deceive financial statement users. Misstatements arising from misappropriation of assets involve the theft of an entity's assets.. If cardholder data is compromised, the negative consequences can be significant financial and reputational risk, for both the merchant department and the university as a whole.

II.  Policy Statement

  1. Authority for overall management of the university’s payment cardPayment cardSee Section III. Definitions programs

    The treasurer of the university, in coordination with the designated campus and system authorities, is responsible for the overall and ongoing oversight and management of the university’s payment card acceptance program. This includes management of the relationship with the university’s acquiring bankAcquiring bankSee Section III. Definitions, coordination of compliance efforts across the campuses and system with the acquiring bank and Payment Card AssociationsPayment Card AssociationSee Section III. Definitions, and reporting to the president in the event of a breach of cardholder data confidentiality. No organizational unitOrganizational unitA subset of University operations. An Organizational Unit may be a department or any other distinct operational activity with the following characteristics: • Organizational permanency; • Programmatic autonomy; and • An annual operating budget that is fiscally independent. Within the Finance System, these areas are represented on the ChartField tree as Orgs. shall accept card payments without the express approval of the treasury. All merchantMerchantSee Section III. Definitions units will attain and maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS)PCIDSSSee Section III. Definitions and other relevant standards and requirements for processing and securing cardholder data. The treasurer has the authority to temporarily suspend or permanently revoke the ability of a merchant unit to accept card payments at any time within the treasurer’s discretion.

    This authority does not automatically apply to the university’s procurement card program or to non-payment transactional campus banking relationships.
  2. Responsibility for and oversight of payment card compliance program

    On each campus, the vice chancellor/chief financial officer is responsible for the approval of new payment card merchantPayment card merchantSee Section III. Definitions applications for that campus as well as ongoing oversight of new and existing merchant units. The vice chancellor may delegate these responsibilities in writing. For system units desiring to accept card payments, the system controller is the designated responsible party. This approval and oversight authority includes acceptance of the risks entailed in accepting card payments.

    Each campus shall maintain a procedure that identifies the roles and responsibilities for oversight of payment card activities for the campus.  Procedures must address ongoing monitoring of merchant security, annual security assessment for each campus merchant, and coordinating response to any unauthorized payment card system access or data breach with treasury and the chief information security officer.  Procedures should also detail what responsibilities the campus Information Security Officers (ISO) choose to delegate to the respective campus information security staff.

    As described in APS6005 - IT Security Program, the campus ISOs shall for their respective campuses establish security standards that meet requirements of the PCIDSS as well as other federal, state or local regulations.  The chief information security officer and the campus chief information officer, as designated in the IT Security Program policy, shall be responsible for providing  technical oversight and approval of existing and proposed electronic payment processing methods, particularly with respect to the security, integrity, and confidentiality of those methods and cardholder data. 
  3. Merchant responsibility

    The organizational unit that is the merchant of record is responsible for the following:
    1. Costs of payment card acceptance and compliance.

      The merchant is responsible for all costs and other responsibilities of payment card acceptance including, but not limited to, merchant discounts, fees, costs of processing services, equipment, software, maintenance, incident investigation, fines, remediation, and notification to customers.
    2. Protection of cardholder data

      The merchant is also responsible for the privacy and security of any cardholder data that it may collect, access, process or otherwise handle, as well as the security and integrity of any website or web application through which it processes online payments.  The unit may contract with third parties authorized by the campus ISO and treasury to process cardholder transactions, but remains responsible for meeting their merchant compliance and security obligations established under the PCIDSS.
    3. Certification of payment card environment

      The merchant shall, as part of completing the annual self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ), review the payment card processing environment with the campus ISO or designee.  If the merchant is using a third party for all or portions of the payment card processing environment, it is responsible for acquiring a statement of compliance from the third party.  At the discretion of the ISO, the merchant will facilitate an audit of the third party’s compliance.  The organizational unit is responsible for providing notification to the campus ISO of any material changeMaterial ChangeSee Section III. Definitions in the payment card acceptance process and submitting a revised SAQ at the discretion of the campus ISO.
    4. Training

      The merchant shall ensure that all staff responsible and accountable for handling cardholder data or support systems used for processing cardholder data complete appropriate training annually.  The organizational unit fiscal designeeFiscal DesigneeSee Section III. Definitions must complete annual self-assessment (i.e., SAQ) training.  PCIDSS training is available and organizational units should consult with their campus ISO to determine appropriate training for their staff.
  4. Enforcement

    The treasurer is responsible for enforcing this policy and will collaborate with the campus ISO and campus controller on any enforcement actions.  Any merchant failing to comply with this policy will be responsible for fines and/or incident response costs, and/or subject to termination of credit card processing accounts.

III.  Definitions

For purposes of this policy, italicized terms used in this APS are defined in the APS Glossary of Terms or are defined in this APS:

Acquiring bank - the financial institution that sponsors the university into the payment card system, processes card transactions, and settles funds for card payments into university bank accounts.

Fiscal Designee [FOR PURPOSES OF THIS POLICY ONLY] - The fiscal manager for the merchant account is the person responsible for the funds that are received and for the management of the staff handling the credit card transactions.  In the accounting system, this person is generally referred to as the fiscal principal.  This responsibility can be delegated.

Material Change – a significant change to an organizational unitOrganizational unitA subset of University operations. An Organizational Unit may be a department or any other distinct operational activity with the following characteristics: • Organizational permanency; • Programmatic autonomy; and • An annual operating budget that is fiscally independent. Within the Finance System, these areas are represented on the ChartField tree as Orgs.’s business or IT practices that may implicate the security, confidentiality, integrity, or availability of records containing cardholder data.   Examples of material change include: 1) changes to network configuration, security controls, infrastructure, or data flow, 2)replacement of hardware in the cardholder environment, or 3) a major upgrade or replacement of applications in the cardholder environment.

Merchant - any organizational unitOrganizational unitA subset of University operations. An Organizational Unit may be a department or any other distinct operational activity with the following characteristics: • Organizational permanency; • Programmatic autonomy; and • An annual operating budget that is fiscally independent. Within the Finance System, these areas are represented on the ChartField tree as Orgs. accepting payment cards in payment for goods or services.

Payment card - any mechanism used for payments that is issued by a financial institution and processed through a credit card or debit card/ATM processing network.

Payment card association - associations of payment card issuers that govern payment card acceptance; this includes Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JBC.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) - the technical standard for the security and privacy of cardholder data issued and maintained by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council or its successor.

IV.  Related Policies, Procedures, Forms, Guidelines and Other Resources

V. History

  • Adopted:  January 1, 2011
  • The title of “IT Security Principals” was replaced with the title of “Information Security Officers” effective May 1, 2014.
  • Revised and renamed March 1, 2017. Previous title: Acceptance of Payment Card Cost and Risk.
  • Clean-up January 31, 2018.  Revised term “Fiscal Principal or Designee” to “Fiscal Designee” since the term “Fiscal Principal” is defined differently in other APSs.

VI.  Key Words

Credit card, Credit card processing, Credit card security, Debit card, Merchant Services, Online payments, Payment card, Payments, PCI, PCIDSS, Security