Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

A

Account holder

Individual(s) responsible for paying the amounts charged to an account. A person can be allowed to use a card as an authorized user but not be legally liable for the debt.

Account number

Issuer-assigned number that identifies an account in order to post a transaction. Every different account has a unique number attached to it.

Acquirer

Financial institution which has agreement with merchants to accept cards as a means of payment for goods and services, and settles card payments for merchants.

Acquiring Bank

See Acquirer

Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4th AMLD)

EU wide anti-money laundering directive to be implemented locally by each member state two years from date it took effect, June 26, 2015. The Directive applies to a range of businesses, from banks and other financial institutions to auditors and accountants.

Application Programming Interface

A software application or ‘bridge’ that allows different types of technology to communicate with each other, helping provide open, secure access to private data.

Authentication

Process where an individual proves they are genuine for the purposes of a payment.

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

An electronic network for financial transactions in the U.S. ACH processes huge volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit, payroll and vendor payments.

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B

Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (BACS)

Formerly known as Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services, is the organisation with responsibility for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, as well as the provision of managed services for third parties.

Bank Identification Number (BIN)

First six figures of a credit or debit card number.

See also BIN Check

Bank Identifier Code (BIC)

BIC (also known as SWIFT Code) is an eight or 11 digit international bank sorting code for international bank transfer.

See also SWIFT Code

BIN Check

See IP Check.

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C

Card Not Present (CNP)

Card transaction in which a card is not physically presented to a merchant, such as over the internet.

Card Scheme(s)

Card schemes set the business rules that govern the issue of the payment cards that carry their logo. The rules often apply throughout the world to ensure that cardholders’ cards can be used anywhere. MasterCard, Visa, American Express are three main card schemes.

CHAPS

The Clearing House Automated Payment System or CHAPS is a British company established in London in February 1984, which offers same-day sterling fund transfers.

Chargeback

A process in which the card issuer can call back a transaction either in full or in part. A chargeback often applies if a card holder denies having performed a card transaction. In that case the issuer files an objection with the acquirer and demands that the transaction amount be returned from the merchant's account.

Chip and PIN card

Payment card containing a chip that requires use of a PIN as the favoured method of cardholder verification at the point-of-sale and cash machines.

Clearing

The acquirer received a batch and sends it through the card network where each sale is routed to the proper issuing bank. That bank then deducts its interchange fees, which are shared with the card network, before transferring the remaining amount through the network back to the acquirer.

Closed-Loop

Stored-value card only used in designated shops, typically part of the same group or chain. Another example is public transport networks.

See also Open-Loop

Co-branded card

Co-branded cards are issued by a licensed card issuer, displaying the design of a third party company.

Contactless

Wireless technologies with limited range that enables payment transactions via computer chips embedded in payment cards, and other devices such as tags, key fobs and mobile phones.

Custodian Wallet Providers

"Wallet providers offering custodial services of credentials necessary to access virtual currencies."

As defined by the European Commission in the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4th AMLD) amendments proposed on July 5, 2016.

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D

Digital wallet

Software used to store various forms of personal data such as bank accounts, credit cards and other forms of ID. Used primarily on mobile or other electronic device to enable secure transactions.

Direct Carrier Billing

Occasionally known as “direct operator billing”. The ability to purchase goods and services charged directly to an individual mobile bill or account.

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E

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

The paperless transfer of electronically recorded payment data with a monetary value in a specific currency, accepted by a customer/contractual merchant or a bank instead of cash as a means of payment.

EMV

Abbreviation for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. Specification for payment cards that bear a chip. It is the global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or “chip cards”) and IC card capable point of sale (PoS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

Encryption

The process of encoding, hiding, messages. In payments terms often refers to the use of an industry standard (vetted) encryption algorithm which is reversible encoding to all who have a secret key to do so. This is used to protect sensitive data in transit, such as that being moved over the internet.

European Banking Authority (EBA)

The European Banking Authority (EBA) is a regulatory agency of the European Union headquartered in London. It concerns itself primarily with banking regulation, but has a mandate to develop technical standards for the security of internet payments.

European Central Bank (ECB)

The central bank for the euro. It administers monetary policy of the Eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states.

European Commission (EC)

The executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

European Parliament (EP)

The directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU.

European Payments Council (EPC)

The decision-making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments.

Its main task is the development of the Single Euro Payment Area. It has 74 members, of banks and banking associations.

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F

Faster Payments

Faster Payments Service (FPS) is a UK banking initiative to reduce payment times between different banks' customer accounts from three working days using the long-established BACS system, to typically a few hours. Many other countries are now adopting a similar model.

Four-Party Model

Merchants obtain card processing services from acquirers, who route transactions via schemes to issuers, who debit consumers’ accounts.

Fuel card

Fuel or fleet cards are sector specific cards that can be used to buy vehicular related items. This is usually issued to transport representatives and drivers. The company can then access information on fuel purchases made by employees.

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G

Gateway

A payment gateway is a mix of hardware and software which gives merchants the ability to perform authorizations from a website over the internet. It’s the link between a merchant website and the processor.

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I

Interchange Fee

Paid by acquirers to card issuers for each transaction.  Rates are determined by card schemes and are dependent on the level of risk and expense involved in processing a transaction.

Interchange Free Regulation (IFR)

The European Parliament and the Council adopted the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR) on April 29, 2015. Many provisions take effect on different dates, arguably the biggest change, the interchange fee cap, came into effect on December 9, 2015.

International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

Standardised international bank account number, consisting of account number, sorting code and prefix, for international payment transactions.

Interoperability

End users, including consumers, merchants, governments, and other types of enterprises, find it easier to make and accept payments. Providers to these end users, including banks, networks, processors and other service providers, gain revenue from payments in interoperable systems that they may not be able to achieve with closed loop (or non-interoperable) systems.

IP Check

Method to check fraudulent patterns. The IP address is used to find the customer’s current location or internet access point, and the bank identification number (BIN) identifies a card issuing bank and its country of origin. 

Issuer

Financial institution which issues payment cards; credit, debit and prepaid cards, as a member bank of the card organisations and receives transactions from its cardholders from other member banks or merchants.

Issuing Bank

See Issuer.

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K

Know your customer (KYC)

The process of a business verifying the identity of its clients. The term is also used to refer to the bank regulation which governs these activities.

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M

Merchant

Individuals and companies who have entered into an undertaking in a contract with the acquirer to accept payments from the likes of Visa and MasterCard.

Merchant Account

Bank account set up by a merchant for card revenues.

Merchant Bank

Bank licensed as a member of Visa/MasterCard to provide merchants with accounts, allowing them to accept cards.

Mobile Payment

Mobile payment, sometimes also referred to as mobile money, mobile money transfer, and mobile wallet generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile phone to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods.

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N

Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology

The wireless transfer of data over a short distance (near field).  An NFC-enabled acceptance point, NFC-enabled mobile phone with an NFC-enabled SIM card or an NFC sticker, are conditions to use. 

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O

Open-Loop

Card issued by a store and which is supported by a card scheme.  It can be used anywhere that is displaying that card scheme’s logo.

See also Closed-Loop

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P

Payment Service Provider (PSP)

A company which receives electronic payment transactions for merchants etc., authenticates, processes them and also provides the merchant with the corresponding software if required.

Payment Services Directive (PSD)

The Directive on Payment Services (PSD) provides the legal foundation for the creation of an EU-wide single market for payments. The second revision, PSD2, was approved in 2016, to enter into force in each member state in January 2018.

PCI DSS

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a security standard initiated by Visa and Mastercard for merchants and payment service providers who process card payments using their systems which store or transfer card data.

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Secret number only allocated to a single card, enabling the card holder to confirm a payment or to access their account using a cashpoint.

Phishing

Phishing (password harvesting) refers to criminal activities to obtain passwords from customers using fake websites. Attackers often pose as persons who can be trusted, attempting to induce customers input sensitive information (user name, password, credit card data).

Point of Sale (PoS)

A terminal, card reader, in retail operations where the customer pays using a bank card and authorises the transaction using their PIN.

Prepaid Card

Stored-value card used to pay for goods and services, mainly as an alternative to cash. Can be open loop or closed loop. Prepaid cards are sometime disposable after the stored value is exhausted or reloaded.

Processor

Company appointed by a merchant to handle payment transactions for merchant acquiring banks or other financial service institutions.

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Q

QR Code

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. QR codes can be used to store bank account information or credit card information, or they can be specifically designed to work with particular payment provider applications. There are several trial applications of QR code payments across the world.

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R

Risk Management

Recording and analysing transaction data to minimise the risk of fraud and to protect the merchant against payment default.

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S

Settlement

Processing transactions and depositing the processed transaction with the merchant’s contractual bank (acquirer).

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

Refers to the euro payment area, currently comprising 32 countries including the 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland. 

Skimming

A method of stealing payment information by using a small, handheld electronic device that scans and stores card data from the magnetic strip. Stolen credit card information is often used to conduct fraudulent purchases online or for cloning.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)

Provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.

SWIFT Code

An eight or 11 digit international bank sorting code issued by SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) to identify a bank in international payment transactions.

See also Bank Identified Code (BIC)

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T

Tokenization

A method in which sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, are replaced by reference values or tokens. A token can be used without restriction by systems and applications, whereas the original data is saved in a secure, PCI compliant data-safe.

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W

White Label Solution

Payment company solutions made with their own corporate design and offer under their own name.

Wireless Carrier

Also known as mobile operator, carriers provide the network infrastructure for the use of a wireless device.

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