A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Term Definition
ABA Transit Routing Number, also Route Transit Number (RTN) The nine-digit bank code located at the bottom left side of a check or official financial draft that identifies the U.S. financial institution the instrument was drawn on. allows the funds to be withdrawn from the correct bank and account. allows checks to be sorted by financial institution.
Acquirer A financial institution that provides the following services to merchants: accepts cards as payment for goods and services. completes card payment transactions for the merchant. captures card information from the merchant.
Acquiring Processor An entity that delivers the following services to merchants: processes and clears transaction for merchants. provides billing, settlement, and reports.
Address Verification System (AVS) A proven fraud prevention model for card transactions that matches a physical shipping address with the cardholder’s billing address AVS is used by Card Associations (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). Merchants pay an additional 1.25% fee on Visa and MasterCard sales that do not apply AVS.
Alternative payment methods Payments made with non-card payment instruments Examples include pre-paid bank accounts, wallets, vouchers, and transfers.
Application Program Interface (API) Electronic or digital communication of information between two separate computer applications or software that permits information to be transferred and exchanged between the two systems.
Authentication The process merchants and processors use to verify that the purchaser’s payment device, e.g. card or check, is being used by the authorized account holder. Authentication applies to in-person, phone, and online purchases. A cardholder may need to present additional information such as a digital password, the card security code, or a personal ID.
Authorization The process used to approve, reject or refer a non-cash sale Merchants request approval from the cardholder’s issuing bank. The approval process includes verifying the customer’s available balance against the amount of the purchase.
Authorization Amount The transaction amount submitted to the cardholder’s issuing bank for approval The issuing bank verifies that the cardholder has an available balance for the purchase and issues a reserve equal to the amount of the transaction. The reserve is in place until the transaction is captured, a void transaction is submitted, or the 30-day authorization period has expired.
Authorization Capture The process to complete a credit card purchase by authorizing and capturing or settling the funds for the transaction The capture request is submitted by the payment gateway to the card issuing bank. If the issuing bank authorizes the request, the transaction is automatically submitted for settlement.
Authorization Code The approval code transmitted by the issuing bank The Authorization Code is usually printed on the sales receipt.
Authorization Only The total amount of the transaction that is approved The payment gateway requests the authorized total amount from the card-issuing bank.
Authorization Request The process used to verify the customer’s available funds to make the purchase The outcome of a request is an Authorization Request or Authorization Capture.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) A standalone terminal that dispenses cash, accepts deposits, receives payments, and allows customers to find out the status of their card accounts ATMs are available 24/7 and located in shopping areas, gas stations, hospitals, and in many businesses. ATMs read magnetic stripes and EMV chips.
Automatic Clearing House (ACH) A funds transfer network that permits the electronic settlement of debit and credit transactions between bank accounts and is available nationwide to participating financial institutions
Bank Card Association A group of banks and financial institutions that offers bankcards and is frequently associated with other payment entities.
Bank Identification Number The first six to eight digits of a debit or credit card account number The digits identify the bank that issued the card to the customer. The Bank Identification Number is the first part of a two-part code that also identifies the issuing bank’s location.
Bank Rate A rate, based on the type of transaction, that the merchant pays as a percentage of each credit card transaction General examples of bank rates are listed below: Card Present rate: 1.49% Card Not Present (CNP) rate: 2.24% Imprinted or phone authorization rate: 2.62%
Bankcard A credit or debit card issued by a bank or financial institution
Basis Point (BP or Discount Rate) The unit of measure used to describe a percentage of change in rate in the finance industry is called a Basis Point. One basis point equals .01%. Example: A fee increase of 1.55% to 1.65% is expressed as an increase of 10 basis points.
Batch A merchant upload or transmission of a bundle of authorized transactions Merchants usually send their card transactions at the close of each business day. Processors charge a batch fee for each bundle, so merchants usually transmit their transactions only once each day.
Batch Upload A merchant tool used to transmit a batch of multiple transactions Most merchants use a proprietary system, application, or spreadsheet to transmit their transactions.
Brick and Mortar The physical location of a retail store where merchants conduct face-to-face transactions with their customers The opposite of a brick and mortar retail outlet is an e-Commerce website.
Business Profile A merchant’s business description defined by the type of card transactions most frequently processed at the business Card Associations, such as Visa and MasterCard, assign a business one of three merchant profiles. Swiped Accounts Telephone or Mail Order Internet
Cancellation Code A code issued by a merchant to confirm a cardholder’s cancellation of a hotel or car rental reservation Cancellation codes ensure the cardholder does not incur a charge on their account.
Capture The systematized process of accepting and submitting real-time card transactions from merchants to credit card processors or merchant account providers Merchants use Point of Sale (POS) terminals or real-time software to initiate the process. Card Processors and merchant account providers process and settle the transactions.
Capture Only A credit card transaction request to capture previously authorized funds that were not approved by the payment gateway Merchants typically use a telephone authorization to submit a previously assigned authorization code from an issuing bank.
Card Associations (The Brands) The governance entities that oversee credit card activities on payment transactions The Card Associations include credit card issuers Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
Card Code (Cardholder Verification Value or CVV2) The three or four-digit security code that is not embossed on a credit card and validates the customer’s known information on file On a Visa or MasterCard card, the code is printed on the back of the card. On an American Express card, the code is printed on the front of the card.
Card Code Status A process used by Card Processors to verify that the customer’s billing information matches the cardholder’s information The customer’s billing information must match the Card Association’s data for the cardholder. In addition to the billing address, other data that is verified includes the credit card number and the Card Code.
Card Not Present (CNP) A card transaction made when the physical card is not being used to make the purchase CNP transactions typically apply to telephone orders, mail orders, and Internet transactions at e-Commerce websites. CNP also applies to telephone and mail orders at a merchant’s brick and mortar locations.
Card Present (CP) A card transaction made when the physical card is being used to make the purchase CP transactions are usually made at a merchant’s brick and mortar locations. CP does not apply to e-Commerce transactions.
Card Reader (Magnetic Stripe Reader) A terminal that permits the payment information stored on a card’s magnetic stripe or chip to be read and transmitted to the Card Processor A Card Reader is used to process transactions made by debit cards, credit cards, and stored-value cards.
Cardholder The customer to whom the card was issued or an authorized user of the customer
Cardholder Authentication Programs Security processes that protect merchant transactions by verifying the cardholder’s identity Card Holder Authentication Programs were created by Visa and MasterCard to protect cardholders, issuing banks, and card processors. Bankcard Associations Visa and MasterCard offer merchants a Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode™ to help reduce losses due to chargebacks and returns.
Cardholder Dispute A cardholder’s claim to their issuing bank of an unauthorized charge on their card Disputes apply to any claim made by a cardholder.
Cash Disbursement Receiving cash from a debit or credit transaction at an ATM or branch Cash disbursements include cash receipts from a member financial institution or an approved agent of a member financial institution. Traveler’s checks are a cash equivalent.
Chargeback An issuing bank’s claim when a cardholder challenges a transaction’s authorization or authenticity Typical cardholder disputes include denial of the purchase, issues with product delivery or product quality, and objections about marketing claims. The high-level chargeback process is described below. Cardholders are allowed to file a chargeback up to 60 days after the transaction date. The cardholder’s issuing bank notifies the merchant. The merchant is responsible for defending the transaction.
Chargeback Representment The merchant’s response to a chargeback claim Merchants must produce the following documents to defend a chargeback: an invoice or folio shipping documents shipping address used for authorization in the Address Verification System (AVS) customer’s signature
Chargeback Reason Code A specific code that describes the reason for the chargeback Chargeback Reason Codes are provided to the merchant by the issuing bank.
Check 21 A shortened term for the Federal Reserve Bank law “Check Truncation Act of the 21st Century” Check 21 permits merchants to submit a customer’s check or bank account information for electronic payment. This law eliminates the need for merchants to process paper checks.
Check Verification A security process that compares an electronic check against a high-risk or bad check database
CISP (Visa Cardholder Information Security Program) See glossary definition for “Visa Cardholder Information Security Program”
Clearing The process that acquirers and issuers use to facilitate posting a transaction and reconciling a settlement position of a cardholder’s account by exchanging financial transaction information
Cobranded Card A jointly issued credit card bearing a merchant’s brand and a member bank or licensed third party
“Code 10” Authorization A merchant voice authorization code to alert the Card Processor that a customer may be presenting a fake or stolen credit card
Commerce Server A server with software that processes customer orders on the Internet Examples include online shopping carts, online payments, inventory databases, customer log-ins, etc.
Corporate Card A company-issued credit card for use by an employee Companies, not employees, are liable for the misuse or abuse of a corporate card.
Credit Card A payment card used to make purchases for goods and services and/or receive cash advances Issuing banks issue credit cards to qualified cardholders and the cardholder’s authorized users. Cardholders are billed monthly. Payments on credit cards must be made according to the contractual terms. Some credit cards must be paid in full each month. Other credit cards require installment payments or minimum monthly payments. Issuing banks charge monthly interest on unpaid credit card balances. Issuing banks receive fees from merchants for processing credit card transactions. Some issuing banks charge cardholders for membership or annual fees.
Credit Card Number The account number an issuing bank or credit card association assigns to a cardholder A merchant requires the credit card number in order to accept a credit card for payment of goods and services.
Credit Card Processors (Third-party Processors) Entities that process credit card transactions and handle the processing details for issuing banks, merchant account providers, and merchants To engage the services of a Credit Card Processor, an online merchant must first establish a merchant account with the processor.
Currency Conversion The process that converts the transaction currency into the settlement currency or the issuer’s currency so that the transaction may be accurately authorized, cleared, settled, and reported. Acquirers determine the currency of the transaction. The issuer prefers using its own currency. The cardholder is usually billed in the currency defined by the issuer.
Customer IP Address Denotes a customer’s Internet Protocol (IP) Web browser address or the IP address of the payment gateway where a transaction was submitted
DDS (Digital Data Storage) debit card (Signature debit or Online debit) A debit card purchase made in place of cash that is automatically deducted from a cardholder’s account Customers may obtain Visa and MasterCard debit cards from a bank or financial institution.
Debit Network An electronic network that permits several types of financial transactions including ATM cash withdrawals, debit card transactions, and online bill pay Examples of Debit Network logos are MAESTRO, NTCE, and STAR.
Declined Transactions that are not authorized by the card-issuing bank When a card is declined, no further action is allowed.
Digital Certificate An electronic file of unique information that is utilized by a Certificate Authority to verify the trustworthiness of an individual or entity Digital Certificates are paired with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. For more information, see “Digital Fingerprint,” and “Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).”
Digital Fingerprint or Transaction Fingerprint An authentication method that uses a complex mathematical formula to create a fingerprint for sending and receiving electronic communication transmissions The authenticity of the fingerprint is verified when the recreated fingerprint matches the submitted fingerprint of the communication. A Digital Fingerprint verifies that an electronic communication is sent and received on the Internet without an interception or modification during the transmission. utilizes the same mathematical function and input value to recreate a digital fingerprint.
Digital Wallet A consumer’s account that is authorized to make e-Commerce purchases at websites that support the transaction system A customer must establish an account with a card processor. The card processor assigns the customer an ID and password.
Discount Fee The percent of a credit card, eCheck.Net® transaction, or batch settlement that the payment gateway bills the merchant Discount fee transaction types include charges, declines, refunds, and voids.
Discount Rate See the glossary definition of “Bank Rate.”
Electronic Commerce Indicator (ECI) A processing compliance protocol that does not allow hand processing or the unauthorized storage of information As of the year 2000, all merchants that sell a majority of their goods or services online must use a gateway that is ECI compliant.
Electronic Draft Capture (EDC) A system that captures transaction data for processing and storage at the merchant location
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) A paperless funds transfer from a telephone, terminal, computer, or magnetic tape
Emboss The process of imprinting identifying data in the raised letters and/or numbers on a debit or credit card
EMV A merchant security and identification technology in the form of a smart chip that is inserted into bankcards A more advanced terminal than a magnetic stripe reader is required to process an EMV card transaction.
Equipment The hardware, software, and devices used to conduct debit and credit card transactions Equipment for card processing includes internet connections, software, and terminals.
Expiration Date The date transactions are no longer valid on a credit card. After the expiration date, the card is invalid.
Factoring An illegal process where a merchant processes its credit card transactions through an ISO for a fee equal to a percentage of the transaction When factoring occurs in card processing, merchants without a merchant account receive immediate cash instead of accounts receivable, and the ISO processes the transactions through its own account for a percentage of the transaction.
Floor Limit The authorization level below which a purchase does not require approval Example: If your floor limit is $150, then purchases of $151 and greater require approval. Exception: All transactions for mail orders, telephone orders, and airlines require authorization, regardless of the floor limit.
Fraud A false, illegal plan that results in an attempt at theft Examples include organizing an attack on a merchant’s inventory, using a stolen credit card, etc.
High-Risk Merchant An identification by a Card Processor of a business that operates in a high-risk industry, sells products or services that experience a high level of chargebacks, is prone to fraudulent transactions, and/or receives stolen credit cards High-risk merchants pay high card processing fees and are often unable to open an onshore merchant account.
Holdback A fixed amount held in reserve by an account holder to cover possible expenses or losses Holdbacks are frequently applied on new high-risk merchant accounts. A holdback is usually the sum of a percentage of all transactions. Holdbacks cover potential chargebacks, expenses, and/or disputed charges. According to the contractually-agreed time period, processors return holdbacks to merchants in good standing.
Imprint The physical proof on a sales draft that a physical credit card was used to make the purchase Electronic imprints can be created with a correct POS entry code on a magnetic stripe reading terminal.
Imprinter A device that produces an image of a bankcard’s embossed characters on copies of credit slips and sales drafts
Independent Sales Organization (ISO) An entity that acquires merchants in the best interest of different kinds of merchant service providers or that sells merchants their services and/or products
Interchange (Credit Card Interchange) The process that oversees credit card transactions for acquirers, issuers, processors, etc. The Interchange performs the following activities: processes, settles, and clears card transactions. assesses and distributes fees between all parties.
Interchange Fee The amount merchants are charged by the Card Association to collect funds for the bank and submit the billing information to the cardholder’s bank Credit card regulations establish the interchange fees. Appropriate data must be captured, e.g., cardholder’s address, proof of card swipe, customer’s electronic signature, etc. The timeliness of transaction settlements also determines the Interchange Fee.
Internet Protocol (IP) The process of communicating and transmitting information between computer systems and networks via the Internet
Internet Service Provider (ISP) An organization that provides Internet services and resource management to consumers and businesses
Independent Service Organization (ISO) Entities that provide high-risk merchants the capability to process card transactions for a fee The fee for ISO services includes a percentage of the sales, among other fees.
Issuer The institution that contracts with a Card company to issue debit and/or credit cards
Issuing Bank The bank that originates a consumer’s credit card account The issuing bank disburses funds to merchant accounts when the merchant’s credit card customer makes a purchase. The issuing bank also bills the customer for the debt incurred as a result of the purchase.
Level 2 Data Information, beyond the minimal data required, to complete a transaction Examples: shipping costs, taxes, etc.
Level 3 Data Detailed information, beyond Level 2 Data, required to complete a transaction Examples: merchant-specific order information, product codes, etc.
Magnetic Stripe The magnetically encoded stripe that appears as a visible black line on the reverse side of a credit card and contains the cardholder’s account information
Magnetic Stripe Reader (Card Swipe Reader) The device that reads the debit or credit card account information captured on a card’s magnetic stripe
Manual Entry Inputting credit card information into a card reader or payment terminal Input types include swiping the card, typing the card’s information on a keypad. Manual entry applies to an online merchant who manually enters card information, but not to a customer who enters their information on a website.
MasterCard® SecureCode™ A security program, created by MasterCard®, that authenticates a cardholder’s identity thereby providing merchants transaction protection
MasterCard® Site Data Protection (SDP) Program MasterCard’s compliance program for merchants and merchant service providers that states its technology and sensitive data security requirements
MATCH List (Member Alert to Control High-Risk) A record of terminated merchant and individual accounts This list is also known as a Terminated Merchant File (TMF).
Merchant A business or individual that sells in-store or online services and goods to customers
Merchant Account An account a bank or financial institution provides to a merchant to process credit card transactions Card transactions include Card Present and Card Not Present (CNP) transactions.
Merchant Account Provider The bank or financial institution that originates and services the merchant account A Merchant Account Provider may also be called an Acquiring Bank or a Merchant Bank.
Merchant Bank A bank, under a contractual agreement with a merchant, that accepts deposits generated by bankcard transactions The Merchant Bank is also known as the Acquiring Bank or the Acquirer.
Merchant Identification Number The unique number that identifies a merchant’s business or account
Monthly Minimum The least amount a merchant is charged in fees Actual monthly sales are not considered when calculating the monthly minimum. If a merchant’s sales do not reach the defined monthly minimum, the merchant pays the difference between the discount rate and the difference in monthly minimum fees.
Purchasing Card (P-Card) A company credit card that replaces paper invoices and is utilized by businesses to purchase low-cost goods and services
Payment Gateway (Gateway Provider) The code that transmits a cardholder’s order to and from a transaction-authorizing agent or merchant account provider (MAP) of the merchant’s bank Also see glossary definition of “Payment Gateway Provider.”
Payment Gateway Provider A company that provides a code and/or software enabling a merchant to transfer information from its online shopping cart to the correct acquiring bank and complete the credit card transaction process
PCI DSS Requirements that establish the adoption of international data security measures PCI DSS was created by the founders of all of the major Card Associations and the PCI Security Standards Council.
Per-transaction Fee A flat fee the payment gateway charges to a merchant for each transaction and to process each batch settlement Per-transaction fees include charges, declines, refunds, and voids.
Personal Identification Number (PIN) A user-selected, secret code that contains four to twelve letters, numbers, and/or special characters and allows a cardholder to make purchases or withdraw cash at an ATM or POS terminal
Point of Sale (POS) A physical location with a card swipe terminal or other payment acceptance system where Card Present transactions occur
Point of Sale (POS) Solutions Provider A merchant supplier of products and services that facilitate Card Present transactions POS products and services include devices, software, systems, and distributors. Card Present transactions may apply to retail and mobile merchants.
Point of Sale (POS) Terminal A device that enables card transactions by allowing a cardholder to slide a card with a magnetic stripe or insert an EMV chip encrypted card A POS Terminal is also called swipe reader or terminal reader.
Prior Authorization Capture A type of credit card transaction request that captures funds on previously authorized or authorized-only transactions At the time of the original authorization-only transaction, an issuing bank will give a merchant an authorization code to submit.
Processor The entity that handles and posts consumer credit card account transactions, performs billing and delivers reports to card associations and merchant bank accounts Card handling and posting activities include authorizing, clearing, and settling transactions.
Real-time Processing Automatically validating and processing a customer’s credit card information for a merchant The process ends with an automatic deposit of the funds into the merchant’s bank account.
Receipt Evidence of a sale A receipt usually includes the product or service description, purchase date, sale price, and method of payment Merchant information on receipt includes a merchant name and location and may include a primary account number and reference number.
Recurring Fees Monthly, repetitive, regularly-scheduled charges to maintain a merchant account Recurring fees may include monthly minimums, transaction fees, statement fees, and many others.
Reserve Account See glossary definition for “Holdback.”
Retail Most often refers to the Card Present sale of goods or services at a merchant’s physical, brick and mortar location
Retrieval Request A request made by a card issuer, on behalf of a cardholder or bank, to a merchant for a transaction’s documentation Merchants have 10 days to submit the requested transaction documentation. Unfulfilled requests that exceed the 10-day period are converted into chargebacks and the merchant is liable for additional fees.
Return or Returned Item Checks that are returned as unpaid due to an incorrect account number, closed account, nonsufficient funds, or another reason
Reversal A rejected chargeback When a merchant provides evidence of a fulfilled sale accompanied by appropriate documentation, the chargeback is reversed, and the transaction is not a loss for the merchant. Examples of fulfilled sale documentation include a sales agreement, proof of acceptable delivery as advertised, etc.
Risk-adjusted Rates The individual risk factors of a merchant that determine its merchant account rates Risk-adjusted rates are systematized by The Associations (Visa and MasterCard). Examples of risk factors are business location and longevity, marketing and sales methods, goods and services sold, merchant’s personal credit history, etc.
Settlement The merchant process that ensures they receive payment for their transactions at the end of each business day The financial data that merchants and cardholder banks exchange includes cash disbursements, merchandise credits, and sales transactions.
Settlement Amount The amount posted against the payment method of credit card transactions for charges or refunds and sent to the Card Processor or ACH network The settlement amount may be less than or equal to the originally authorized transaction amount.
Setup Fees Merchant account fees required to establish an account Setup fees include application fees, equipment or device purchases, and software licensing fees.
Shopping Cart A software or internet company that supplies payment form and e-commerce tools to merchants who sell their products and services via websites.
Smart Card A plastic, electronic payment card with a chip that allows purchases up to the value on the card Smart Cards are also called a pre-paid cards. The value of the card is stored electronically.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) An encryption system that allows data to be submitted via the Internet Secure Socket Layer (SSL) are used for the following purposes: to send e-Commerce transactions and passwords to allow client and server computers to exchange information such as public keys to encode and decode the communication
Stored-value Cards (Gift Cards) A branded card with a predefined value that is valid for purchase only at the branded store Stored-value cards are similar to a debit card, but a stored-value card is not issued to a specific cardholder. If a stored-value card is lost, anyone may use it to make purchases at the branded store.
Swipe Discount Rate The fee charged by merchant account providers to Card Present merchants Card Present fees are generally lower than Card Not Present (CNP) fees because when a physical card is used to make a purchase, merchants are able to perform fraud checks identify misuse match the customer’s signature with the signature on the back of the credit card
Terminal The device that brick and mortar merchants use to communicate card information to processing networks via dial-up telephone or broadband transmission by swiping a customer’s magnetic stripe card or the inserting an EMV chip card
Terminal Identification Number (TID) A POS device’s unique identification number assigned by a merchant’s processor The TID provides the processor information about the device’s capabilities and configuration.
Third-party Gateway An e-Commerce software application that often includes virtual terminal access to the Processing Bank, so the merchant can connect an Internet shopping cart or POS software application with the bank Virtual terminals allow merchants to key-enter a transaction if needed.
Third-party Processing Debit and credit card transaction processing by entities that act under contract to acquirers or issuers
Transaction The business deal between a merchant and a customer that results in the sale and purchase of goods or services and a charge made against the cardholder’s debit or credit card account
Transaction Date The date a customer’s card is charged or a cash disbursement is released for an agreed purchase
Transaction Fee The charge, collected by the Merchant Account Provider (MAP) or ISO, for each credit card transaction Fees generally range from $0.20 and $1.00 (USD).
Transaction ID (Trans ID) A unique identification value utilized to search for or sort transactions and assigned to each transaction processed through the payment gateway
Transaction Type A charge or refund transaction for payment or reimbursement A charge transaction permits a merchant to collect payment for goods or services rendered from the customer. A refund transaction allows a merchant to return the customer their funds from a previous charge transaction.
Underwriting An evaluation of a merchant applicant’s credit worthiness and financial history to determine the applicant’s financial obligations and ability to repay the credit instrument
Value-add Reseller (VAR) An entity, such as an Independent Sales Organization (ISO), that delivers services and/or solutions to optimize a merchant’s transaction management or business practices
Verified by Visa A security program that requires merchant registration and allows merchants to minimize their risk of chargebacks and returns while, at the same time, provides additional protection to their customers who use Visa cards
Virtual Point of Sale (VPOS) Terminal A process that allows brick and mortar retail merchants to submit debit and credit card transactions via a card reader and a computer equipped with Windows Internet Explorer (IE)
Virtual Terminal A solution that allows merchants to submit their card transactions by manually keying in and submitting transactions or via a VPOS
Visa Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) Visa’s security compliance program that protects sensitive data and technology of merchants and merchant service providers Member institutions are required to comply.
Void The denial of an attempted debit or credit card transaction that was not submitted for batch settlement Merchants must submit the transaction so it can be voided. Once voided, no further action is allowed on that transaction. A refund must be submitted if a batch settlement containing that transaction has been completed.
Wireless Data service A wireless service permitting merchants to transmit debit and credit card transactions via a cellular phone or another enabled wireless device