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PCI-DSS originated as separate data security standards established by the five major credit card companies: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and the Japan Credit Bureau. The goal was to ensure that cardholder data is properly secured and protected and that merchants meet minimum-security levels when storing, processing, and transmitting this data. In 2004, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council was formed to align the individual policies from each credit card company into an industry-wide standard.