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Detailed definitions of terms used throughout
the site and in our support pages



A financial institution that undertakes the total business and technical relationship with a merchant at any particular outlet on behalf of a card scheme. This includes marketing the card scheme, supporting the merchant and settlement of transactions. A financial institution that contracts with the merchant to collect funds from credit card issuers for goods sold that are settled by credit and debit card.


The process of recruiting new customers, i.e. cardholders for Issuers and merchants for Acquirers. It includes marketing, processing applications and agreeing a contract with the customer.


American Express


The Association for Payment and Clearing Services – the body responsible for matters relating to money transmission and payment clearing activities generally in the UK.


Average Transaction Value or ticket value.


A process whereby a credit or debit card transaction for a specified amount is approved, referred or declined by a card issuer or an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer.

Authorisation Call

A telephone call made from a point of sale to obtain authorisation for a transaction.

Authorisation Code

A code which is generated by a card issuer or by an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer when an authorisation request is approved.


Address Verification Service – verification of the numeric elements in the cardholders billing address.



Business to business transactions.


Bank Automated Clearing System.

Banking Day

Any day other than a Saturday or Sunday or a Bank Holiday.

Banking Window

A term specific to merchants with on-line terminals. A merchant has a time period (say 16.00 – 19.00) allocated to them. During this time period, they may perform their End of Day reconciliation with the host system. If the merchant forgets, they are automatically “cutover” after the end time (19.00 in the above example). After the merchant or system banking window, subsequent transactions will be logged on the next trading day.


Card Issuer

Institution who issues the payment card to the cardholder.

Card Scheme

e.g. Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners, etc.


An individual to whom a card has been issued.

Cardholder Transaction

The uses of a card by a customer in order to purchase goods or services from a merchant or obtain cash from an ATM or financial institution.

Charge Card

A payment card linked to an account that has to be settled in full by a stipulated date.


The right, in defined circumstances (usually a disputed transaction), of a card issuer to charge part or all of the value of a transaction back to the acquirer. The acquirer may subsequently chargeback the value of the transaction to the merchant.

Chip & PIN

Secure method of undertaking a transaction - designed to fight fraud.

Chip Cards

New generation of credit and debit cards incorporating integrated circuitry. Replacing magnetic swipe in an effort to combat fraud.


Call Line Identity or Telephone number.


Cardholder Not Present – transaction undertaken via telephone/coupon/letter or online where the merchant does not see the card.


Contactless payment systems are credit cards, key fobs, smartcards or other devices which use radio-frequency identification for making secure payments. The embedded chip and antenna enable consumers to wave their card or fob over a reader at the point of sale.

Corporate Card

A Commercial Card issued to businesses to facilitate corporate, mostly travel and entertainment (t&e) expenditure.

Credit Card

A payment card (e.g. MasterCard, Visa) linked to an account which, under a revolving credit agreement, may be settled in full by a stipulated date or may be repaid over a period of time, subject to minimum monthly repayments being made. Interest will normally be charged on the outstanding balance by the card issuer.


Card Security code. The last three digits on the signature strip on the back of a credit card.


Cardholder Verification Value (CV2 for Visa) and Cardholder Verification Check (CVC2 for MasterCard). This data is included as the last three digits on the signature strip (CSC) and represents a unique card verification method.


Debit Card

A card (e.g. Maestro/Visa Debit) which is designed to enable a customer of the card issuer to pay for goods and services by transferring money from a current account.

Dynamic Currency Conversion

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is a financial service where holders of credit cards have the cost of a transaction converted to their local currency when making a payment in a foreign currency.



The supply of goods and services conducted electronically over the Internet.


Electronic Fund Transfer.


A Visa International Debit Card for use in on-line POS devices operating within a zero floor limit. Cards are not normally embossed. Participating merchants must meet electronic requirements and display Electron decals. Issuers have the choice of branding cards Visa Electron or Electron, and are able to coexist with domestic brands e.g. Delta, with the domestic brand taking precedence in the home market.

End of Day

The routine which must be completed on a terminal to enable it to be polled. Depending upon terminal type and configuration parameters, many terminals are configured to perform the End of Day routine automatically.


Electronic Top-Up of prepaid mobile phones.



The general term used to denote facilities for effecting certain transactions in a situation in which part or all of a card scheme system at the point of sale is unavailable for normal processing.

Fall-Back Voucher

A multi-part document used to record transaction details when a transaction cannot be performed electronically on a merchant terminal. Information from the card is captured using a card imprinter.

Floor Limit

The level agreed between an acquirer and a merchant over which authorisation must be sought for a single transaction.



Identification Verification Certificate.


Interactive voice response.



Japan Credit Bureau – issuer of the JCB Card, the leading Japanese travel and entertainment card, accepted in over 100 countries world-wide.


Know Your Customer (or "KYC")

Know Your Customer (or “KYC”) is the due diligence that financial institutions and other regulated companies must perform to identify their clients and ascertain relevant information pertinent to doing financial business with them.

KYC policies have become increasingly important globally to prevent identity theft fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing.


Liability Shift

From 1st January 2005 – failure of merchants to process a Chip & PIN transaction will lead to them becoming liable for any fraud committed.



A domestic and international payment (Debit Card) scheme launched in 1993.


An international payments systems organisation controlled by its members.


Merchant Classification Code.


A business that accepts cards as settlement for goods and/or services provided to their customers.

Merchant Advance

Merchant Advance allows merchants to turn future credit card sales into cash. A fixed percentage is deducted from the merchant account automatically through credit card processing receipts for repayment.


(Mail Order Telephone Order) Cardholder Not Present transactions. Where a merchant takes Mail Order or Card details over the telephone.


Merchant Service Charge – a charge paid by a merchant to his acquirer, calculated as a percentage of credit card turnover for credit/charge card transactions or a fixed charge per transaction for debit cards.



Means New to Cards and refers to the definition of new merchants that at the time of recruitment do not offer any payment services by card.



This term is used to define a connection or data transmission via a data communication link.

On-line Authorisation

This refers to a transaction that is approved or declined by a card issuer or an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer. The authorisation process includes an on-line dialogue between the merchant terminal and the acquirer’s host system.

On-line Terminal

A merchant terminal that generates an on-line authorisation request for each transaction and where data capture of a transaction by an outlet’s acquirer occurs during on-line authorisation processing.


Pan Key

A service which may be provided to a merchant’s terminal enabling card details to be keyed into the terminal as opposed to the card being swiped through the terminal.

Payment Card

A generic term for any plastic card (Credit, Debit, Charge, etc) which may be used on its own to pay for goods and services, or to withdraw cash.

Payment Page

The payment page, also known as a paypage, is a secure web page (signified by https/) in the web address where confidential information such as credit card details are added in order to complete a payment.

Payment Service Provider (PSP)

A payment service provider (PSP) offers merchants online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of payment methods including credit card, bank-based payments such as direct debit, bank transfer and real-time bank transfer based on online banking.


The paypage, also known as a payment page, is a secure web page (signified by https/) in the web address where confidential information such as credit card details are added in order to complete a payment.


Personal Details Form.


Personal Identification Number – a set of characters, usually a four digit sequence, used to authenticate cash withdrawals or instructions initiated by a payment card through a customer activated terminal such as an ATM or Chip and Pin cards for transactions on terminals.


The collection of data stored in a terminal by a central computer or polling service. Data is collected in batches rather than in real-time.

Polling Window

The period (normally 0.00 – 6.00) during which polling takes place.


Point of Sale (Service) – the physical location at which a merchant terminal is sited and where card transactions are conducted.


Predominantly Off-line Terminal – merchant point of sale for which electronic authorisations are sought above a pre agreed floor limit.

Processing Day Settlement

Transactions performed by a merchant during non-banking days (i.e. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays) are consolidated with the transactions performed during the nearest immediately preceding banking day to produce single credits per card scheme.


Public Switched Telephone Network – the standard voice telephone system which may also be used for data.


Purchase with Cash Back – an optional transaction type offered within the Maestro and Visa Debit Card schemes allowing a merchant, with the approval of its acquirer, to allow a cardholder to draw cash up to a limit agreed with its acquirer (but maximum £50) within a standard sale transaction. Also known as “Cash Back”.



The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.


The method by which a merchant compares the business undertaken at his electronic data capture terminal with that recorded by the acquirer and credited to his bank account.


Request for Further Information – a request by either the card issuer or cardholder wishing to obtain further information about a particular transaction.



A particular type of business or merchant grouped together for reference.


A transfer of funds from the acquirer to the merchant.


Streamline Merchant Services (NatWest).

SMS Charges

All charges, adjustments and chargebacks charged by SMS.



Transmission Control Protocol.


A hardware device that accepts and processes card payments.

Travel & Entertainment Cards

(T&E Cards) General term for payment cards, usually charge cards, used primarily by businessmen and women for their travel and entertainment of clients. American Express and Diners Club Cards are often referred to as travel and entertainment cards.



An international payment systems organisation controlled by its members.

Voice Authorisation

Authorisation by means of communication between merchant and Authorisation Centre by normal telephone.

Voice Referral

The procedure which may follow an authorisation request involving the merchant being requested to contact its acquirer for further instructions or the communication of further information about the cardholder or transaction.



A webpage or web page is a document that is suitable for the World Wide Web and can viewed through a web browser and displayed on a computer screen.

A webpage contains "content" - this is a combination of text, static & motion pictures.