DMARC is Soon To Be Mandatory For PCI DSS Compliance

Sumit Singh
November 17, 2023


The global payment card industry data security standard, PCI DSS v4.0, that sets the criteria of technical and operational standards for protecting account data, is being updated. By March 2025, the standard will require organisations to use DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) tools to secure credit card data.

If your business needs to comply with the standard, it’s vital to understand the relationship between PCI DSS compliance and DMARC and to implement the necessary changes before the deadline to avoid significant penalties and increased risk of data breaches.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards and best practices established by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to help organisations that handle credit card transactions and payment data protect sensitive information. PCI DSS compliance is required for any entity that processes, stores, or transmits payment card data, including merchants, service providers, and financial institutions. Non-compliance can result in fines and penalties, as well as increased risk of data breaches and loss of customer trust.

The standard is periodically updated to address evolving security threats and challenges in the payment card industry. These updates often include changes to security requirements and best practices for protecting cardholder data and maintaining secure payment card environments. PCI DSS v4.0 was issued on March 31, 2022. However, since then, a lot of feedback has been taken on board to ensure the standard remains relevant. As part of the most recent set of updates, the PCI SSC has mandated DMARC use by March 2025.


The PCI SSC has been working to combat credit card theft and fraud since its inception, with email security being a notable area of focus. However, recently, there has been a significant rise in sophisticated social engineering scams, including phishing for credit card information. Meanwhile, costs relating to compromised records with this type of personally identifiable information have risen more than any other category of asset stolen in data. As DMARC has proven to be incredibly effective at preventing phishing emails that spoof a brand’s domain from reaching their recipients, the tool is being integrated into PCI DSS v4.0.

The new DMARC requirement aims to help businesses operate more securely and meet the evolving security needs of the payment industry. DMARC adoption has been slow to date and the hope is that the need to comply with PCI DSS and avoid fines and penalties will help accelerate its adoption.


Businesses involved in payment card processes are at significant risk of unauthorised access, data breaches and phishing attacks. This makes the need for robust email security measures to protect sensitive cardholder data fundamental. While PCI DSS and DMARC have different primary focuses, they are both part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and work together as follows:

  • Protecting email communications - implementing DMARC helps organisations protect their email communications, which may include discussions, notifications, or documentation related to payment card transactions.
  • Reducing the risk of social engineering attacks - email-based phishing and spoofing attacks can be used to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, including payment card data. DMARC can reduce this risk.

As PCI DSS v4.0 promotes industry best practices and standards for transmitting cardholder data, it recognises the value of DMARC authentication to prevent email spoofing and impersonation. Moreover, DMARC compliance provides organisations with monitoring mechanisms and proactive control against phishing attacks targeted at cardholder data.


Deploying DMARC offers several benefits for organisations handling cardholder data and seeking to achieve PCI DSS compliance, including:

  • Enhanced Email Security - DMARC helps organisations secure their email communication by preventing email phishing and spoofing attacks.
  • Improved Data Protection - by reducing the likelihood of email-based social engineering attacks, DMARC indirectly contributes to the protection of cardholder data.
  • Better Control Over Email Delivery - DMARC allows organisations to specify how they want unauthenticated or failed email messages to be handled, providing better control over email delivery.
  • Enhanced Reputation Management - DMARC can improve an organisation's email sender reputation. A positive sender reputation can help ensure that legitimate emails are delivered and not flagged as spam.
  • Reporting and Visibility - DMARC provides reporting capabilities, allowing organisations to gain insights into their email ecosystem, monitor email-related security issues and address them promptly.

It's important to note that while DMARC can contribute to PCI DSS compliance, it is just one component of a comprehensive approach to securing payment card data and maintaining overall data security. Organisations should still implement other necessary security measures and follow all relevant PCI DSS requirements to fully meet compliance standards.


If you’re yet to implement DMARC ahead of the March 2024 deadline, we can help. Infotrust offers DMARC implementation services to assist in the planning and execution of DMARC. Our team of experts all have in-depth knowledge and an excellent track record of supporting small and large organisations in Australia.

If you would like to find out how we can help you on your DMARC journey, ensuring your business complies with PCI DSS v4.0 and stays secure, contact the experts at Infotrust today.