Visa Inc.'s most recent statistics of merchant compliance with the Payment Card Industry data security standard shows that all of the largest U.S. merchants have validated their point of sale systems as not storing prohibited data.

Visa categorizes 1,252 merchants as Level 1 and Level 2 merchants, which handle more than 1 million Visa transactions a year. Merchants also have to validate their compliance with the PCI standard itself. The prohibited data validation is an additional step for many merchants.

Visa's previous PCI compliance report said that 99% of Level 1 and Level 2 merchants had performed this validation as of June 30. The new report covers merchant compliance through July 30.

Level 1 merchants, those with more than 6 million annual Visa transactions, handle about 50% of Visa's transactions. Level 2 merchants, processing 1 million to 6 million transactions a year, handle about 13% of Visa's transactions.

Visa, however, suggests that of the approximately 5 million Level 4 U.S. merchants, those with fewer than 1 million annual Visa transactions, compliance with the PCI standard is "moderate among stand-alone terminal merchants, but lower among merchants using integrated payment applications." Level 4 merchants account for 32% of Visa's annual transactions.

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