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PCI DSS Level 1

The highest and most stringent level available from PCI DSS and is mandatory for companies that store card data in their systems and that provide services to other companies as service providers. Companies with PCI DSS Level 1 certification are regularly audited by authorised independent insititutions as well as internal audits which are required. Level 1 is appropriate for any merchant processing over 1m, 2.5m or 6m transactions per year (depending on the credit card). For instance, for Visa it is 6 million transactions per year.