dTracker and PCI DSS.


"PCI DSS" stands for Payment Card Industry - Data Security Standard. It is a policy & assessment framework which financial institutions have developed to protect electronic credit & debit card data during processing and storage.

Compliance with the PCI DSS is now mandatory in some countries for all organisations which process or store card data. This includes any mission or aid agency which might receive credit/debit card donations & payments. The industry has stated that this will be progressively extended to most, if not all, remaining countries.

However even if PCI DSS compliance is not manatory for an organisation, it represents "best practice" electronic handling of private or sensitive data. It should be a goal of all Christian organisations to apply the principles to all of their IT systems and operations.


The implications of PCI DSS (v1.1) for dTracker are primarily in the following areas of the standard:

  • Requirement 3: Protect stored cardholder data.
  • Requirement 4: Encrypt data transmission across public networks.
  • Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
  • Requirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.
  • Requirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access.
  • Requirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.

The other requirements in the standard are related more to an organisation's IT infrastructure - machines, networks, and usage policies. These are outside the scope of this document and need to be addressed by the appropriate IT support staff & management.


All of the relevant requirements are fully covered in dTracker version 4. Specifically, a correctly installed & configured system complies with items 2.1, 2.3, 3.1-3.5, 4.1, 6.1-6.5, 7.2, 8.1-8.4 & 10.1-10.5 of the standard.

Four of the above requirements are fully covered in dTracker version 3:

  • Item 3 is covered by the fact that the database file (dTrackerData.mdb) uses MS-Access' in-built encryption. (It cannot be opened without signing in.)
  • Item 4 is not relevant because dTracker version 3 does support access from outside of the local (private) network.
  • Item 6 is covered if you apply Microsoft Office updates (part of the Windows update functions). Access to the data is controlled by MS-Access, not by dTracker.
  • Item 8 is covered if you use login passwords and do not share usernames - each person should sign into dTracker under their own name (and only their own name).

The remaining two requirements are not fully covered in version 3:

  • Item 7 is possibly covered because you must sign-in to dTracker to see the card data. If everyone who uses dTracker has [even occasionally!] a need to view it then you are fully compliant. If not, then the other users can see the data even though they do not need to.
  • Item 10 is not covered at all. Whist dTracker version 3 logs all changes to card data, it does not log access to it.


To be compliant while still using dTracker version 3 (from 3.3) you have the following options:

  1. Erase or truncate the Card Numbers on all past receipts and activate the function to do this for any new receipt once it has been processed. This will limit any compliance issues to the Regular Contributions - which may be sufficient, or may mean that you must also adopt the following option. However this will also require you to re-enter the card number for every new receipt.
  2. Process credit & debit cards externally in your accounting or banking systems. dTracker can be configured to permit receipts with no card number, however this may require double-handling of the payment.
  3. Item 7 can be resolved by moving all non-financial users to a later version if it has the necessary functionality. The new version can be configured to prevent them from accessing card data.


dTracker version 4.0 and later are fully compliant with the relevant PCI DSS requirements.

dTracker version 3.3 and later are only partially PCI DSS compliant. However there are ways of mitigating the problem issues until version 4 can be implemented.

dTracker versions 3.2 and earlier are only partially PCI DSS compliant. The only way to resolve this is to remove all card numbers from the system and process card payments externally.