PCI DSS - Security - Mercado Pago Developers
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At Mercado Pago we ensure the Confidentiality, Availability and Integrity of all our processes following the best market practices so that you can use all our products safely.

In addition, for Mercado Pago to be able to operate with credit and debit cards, we must comply with one of the most demanding security standards in the payment industry: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

Definition and context

If you have ever stored, processed or transmitted card data in your company, you have probably heard of PCI. From Mercado Pago we want to help you and simplify the task of understanding these regulations and the different associated responsibilities.

As a Service Provider, we must meet regulatory and security responsibilities towards card brands and acquirers, but even so, security throughout the payment process is the obligation of both parties. Merchants and / or e-commerce platforms that are integrated with payment processors such as Mercado Pago must meet minimum security requirements to mitigate risks of fraud and information leakage, securing user data.

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is an international security standard that must be met by all entities that store, process or transmit card data.

PCI regulations establish a basic level of protection for cardholders (cardholders) and help reduce fraud and data breaches within the entire payments ecosystem.

Compliance with PCI regulations involves 3 important aspects:

  • Securely transmit the information corresponding to cardholder data.
  • Store data according to the best security practices in the industry, under 12 regulatory requirements that are included in the PCI Standard.
  • Annual validation of compliance with the security controls and evaluation forms proposed by the PCI Council.

We recommend that you visit the official PCI site for more information. Here is a summary of the objectives of PCI security controls.

CREATE AND MAINTAIN SECURE SYSTEMS AND NETWORKInstall and maintain a firewall configured to protect cardholder data. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
PROTECT THE DATA OF THE CARD HOLDERSProtect the stored cardholder data. Encrypt the transmission of cardholder data on open or public networks.
MAINTAIN A VULNERABILITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAMProtect all systems against malicious software and regularly update antivirus software. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
SOLID CONTROL MEASURES APPLYING ACCESSRestrict access to data accordance with the need to know who has the organization. Identify and authenticate access to system components. Restrict physical access to cardholder data.
MONITOR AND PERIODICALLY VERIFY NETWORKSTrack and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data. Periodically verify security systems and processes.
HAVE AN INFORMATION SECURITY POLICYHave a policy that includes information security for all personnel.
Read the PCI DSS - Data Security Standard document for more details. The document is available in the document library of the PCI official site .

For each of the twelve PCI requirements, there are basically four different levels of compliance, typically based on the volume of card transactions your processes organization annually, and each level has a set of obligations.

  • Level 1: (i) Organizations that process more than 6 million transactions per year for Visa or MasterCard, or more than 2.5 million for American Express; (ii) organizations in which there has been a data breach; (iii) organizations considered level 1 by any card association.
    • Annual Compliance Report (ROC) by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) or Internal Auditor.
    • Quarterly Network Scanning by Approved Vendor (ASV).
    • Compliance Certification (AOC).

  • Level 2: Organizations that process between 1 and 6 million transactions per year.
    • Corresponding annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ).
    • Quarterly Network Scanning by Approved Vendor (ASV).
    • Compliance Certification (AOC) for each of two corresponding SAQs.

  • Level 3: Organizations that process between 20,000 and 1 million online transactions per year and organizations that process less than 1 million transactions in total.
    • Corresponding annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ).
    • Quarterly Network Scanning by Approved Vendor (ASV).
    • Compliance Certification (AOC) for each of two corresponding SAQs.

  • Level 4: Organizations that process less than 20,000 online transactions per year and organizations that process up to 1 million total transactions per year.
    • Corresponding annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ).
    • Quarterly Network Scanning by Approved Vendor (ASV).
    • Compliance Certification (AOC) for each of two corresponding SAQs.
The SAQ (Self-Assessment Questionnaire) is a PCI self-assessment form that must be completed by those businesses or service providers that are not eligible to complete a Level 1 Compliance Report, and whose purpose is to validate regulatory compliance through a series of controls summarized in "yes" or "no" questions.


Mercado Pago is responsible for ensuring the cardholder data information once they enter its environment, so it is important that businesses and/or e-commerce platforms comply with the appropriate security controls to transmit them correctly. As a service provider, Mercado Pago can validate compliance by requesting evidence of the corresponding PCI documentation according to the product used.

Mercado Pago considerably simplifies the burden of compliance with this regulation for organizations that adopt any of the Mercado Pago products since they use fields that originate directly from our servers in a secure area for the entry of card data from the client. In this way, most of the PCI DSS requirements fall on Mercado Pago and it will considerably reduce its efforts in security controls.

To comply with PCI DSS, demonstrate your compliance, and in turn protect your customers' card details, it is important that you use this type of integrations to ensure that cardholder data does not reach your servers.

As we saw in the previous sections, for level 1, it is necessary to perform an audit with an external consultant. On the other hand, for levels 2 to 4, there are different types of SAQ depending on which payment integration method you use. We Recommend that you complete the corresponding SAQ according to the type of Checkout chosen due to the obligations imposed by the PCI regulations.

Here we summarize what type of SAQ you must complete for each solution integration offered by Mercado Pago.

Checkout BricksA
Checkout ProA
Checkout APIA
Remember that Mercado Pago may require this documentation due to its role as a PSP.

Advantages of a SAQ-A

The Self-Assessment Questionnaire A (SAQ A) is applicable to the previously mentioned products, and it is important to understand that the greatest advantage of these integrations is that they almost entirely delegate the security controls to Mercado Pago, which is certified in PCI-DSS.

The document has only 22 security requirements that must be applied and audited annually, such as policies, access controls, network maintenance and secure applications, as well as restrictions on physical access to card data environments, if applicable.

Unlike other types of documents such as the Self-Assessment Questionnaire D(*) (applicable to our old integrations via API) or Self-Assessment Questionnaire A-EP(**), you will considerably reduce your workload in terms of controls of security and delegating responsibility to a certified third party.

(*) The Self-Assessment Questionnaire D for Businesses consists of 250 security requirements that must be audited and met annually.
(**) The Self-Assessment Questionnaire A-EP is made up of 191 security requirements that must be audited and met annually.

In addition, it considerably reduces the risk of your integration, since the card data environment is located in a secure area hosted by Mercado Pago and you will not need to store any type of sensitive cardholder information.

It is important that you consider migrating to the new Checkout API solution with Secure Fields in case you are integrated via API in order to facilitate your PCI compliance, secure the payment channel, reducing the risk of any type of attack and damage to data of your clients and Mercado Pago.

See the SAQ Instructions and Guidelines document official PCI library for details of the description of each SAQ.