CREDIT CARD PROCESSING GLOSSARY OF TERMS

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1 CREDIT CARD PROCESSING GLOSSARY OF TERMS 3DES A highly secure encryption system that encrypts data 3 times, using 3 64-bit keys, for an overall encryption key length of 192 bits. Also called triple DES. This technology is associated with PIN pads, and ATMs. ACH (Automated Clearing House) A processing organization networked with others to exchange (clear and settle) electronic debit/credit transactions (no physical checks). Acquirer The financial institution that establishes and maintains the merchant account, receives transactions from the merchant, and initiates the interchange via VISA/MasterCard. The acquirer must be a licensed member of MasterCard or VISA. Also called the acquiring bank. Address verification service (AVS) A service that verifies the cardholder's address, used primarily by mail/phone order merchants. AVS occurs when the terminal / software / gateway prompts the person using it for the cardholder s billing address and zip code. This option helps to control costs for the merchant. If this option is bypassed by the merchant, the transaction downgrades to a higher rate transaction. AVS may not be appropriate for low-ticket, high volume locations such as fast food where the speed in processing customers is critical. Authorization The process whereby a transaction is approved by an issuing bank, authorized agent, or Visa/MasterCard on behalf of that issuer, before the transaction is completed by the merchant via telephone or terminal. Basis Points A "basis point" is 1/100th of a percentage point, or 0.01%. In decimal format, one basis point would look like, One basis point would equal $0.10 for every thousand dollars. Ten basis points would equal $1.00 for every thousand dollars of sales. When considering rates, a rate of 1.75% would be 10 basis points less than a rate of 1.85%

2 Batch Accumulated transactions that have been captured in the POS, but not yet settled. Batching, also know as settling, is usually done at the end of the day either manually by the merchant or automatically by the POS. Batching involves the POS communicating with the host network to initiate the transfer of funds. Like all other transactions, a batch is a communication and therefore a cost to the merchant. Batching is an important part of a merchant s account. If a merchant completes credit card sales and fails to batch out within 48 to 72 hours, most transactions will downgrade to a higher cost. This happens because there is inherently more risk to the associations with non settled transactions. This will show up on a merchant statement, for example, as an EIRF (Electronic Interchange Reimbursement Fund). Selecting an auto batch option for the POS will safeguard against this, but auto batching is not possible with certain merchants such as restaurants or if merchants use a POS that doesn t allow an auto batch option. Card Associations Payment networks such as VISA or MasterCard (and others) that act as a gateways between acquirers and issuers for authorizing and funding transactions. Cardholder The owner of the credit or debit card that is being used to make a purchase. Card Present A transaction evidenced by the action of swiping a card through a terminal or by an imprinted and signed credit card draft. A CPS Visa transaction is a Card-Present-Sale. Chargeback A transaction that has been disputed by the cardholder or issuer, is sent back through interchange and the card issuing bank to the acquirer, and must be resolved by either the acquirer or the merchant. Chargebacks occur for a variety of reasons such as fraudulent use of a cardholder s card, non-receipt of merchandise, non matching account number (transaction was processed on an account not found on an issuer s masterfile), transaction was processed more than once to the same cardholder, credit not acknowledged (cardholder is claiming that a credit voucher or refund acknowledgement issued by merchant was not processed). Ways for merchants to limit chargebacks is to always collect a signature for all card transactions, verify a cardholder s identity at the point of sale or via AVS, have a clear return / refund policy, and be careful to only enter the amount of the sale at the POS. Check conversion A check service offered to merchants whereby a merchant scans the image of a check presented by a customer and converts the image into an electronic transaction similar to PIN-based debit. Check conversion requires check imager / scanner equipment and involves additional fees to the merchant. When a merchant scans a check and the transaction is approved, the face value of the check is guaranteed as long as required information is recorded on the check such as driver s license number and phone number.

3 Clearing The exchange of transaction details between an acquirer and an issuer which posts the transaction to the cardholder's account and reconciles it for settlement. CVV2 Card Verification Value 2. CVV2 is 3-digit code printed on the back of a Visa card. It is a security feature that protects MOTO (Mail Order / Telephone Order) and Internet transactions from fraud. CVV2 ensures that the credit card number is legitimate and that the card is in the possession of the purchaser. Discount rate The amount charged to a merchant by the acquirer for processing the merchant's daily credit card transactions. The discount can be in the form of tiered pricing where interchange categories are condensed down into a limited number of categories, or Interchange Plus pricing or a hybrid of both. DUKPT Derived Unique Key Per Transaction. An encryption technique for secure keymanagement that uses a unique key for each separate transaction to prevent the disclosure of any previously used key. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) A government-funded cash assistance program that distributes payments such as Food Stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on cards that can be swiped and used with POS terminals. Merchants who wish to accept EBT cards must first apply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Electronic Ticket Capture (ETC) An ETC system reaches out and "grabs" sales ticket information electronically. Buyer information is contained on the magnetic strip on the back of the credit card. The merchant "swipes" the card through a terminal, and the buyer information is "read" by the computer system and merged with the sales information. It then processes the ticket just as if the merchant was making a manual deposit at a bank. This action is normally done in "batches" of tickets, such as at the end of the day. ^ Gateway A gateway is a web-based credit card processing method in which a merchant s shopping cart transmits its information to the gateway, and then the gateway translates it to the card processor s format and sends it to the card processor. It then does approximately the same thing, but in reverse, when it returns the authorization and other codes to the shopping cart. Gateways are typically used in conjunction with shopping carts or any other transaction that is not done face-to-face. Authorize.net and e Processing Network are both examples of gateways. When a merchant processes using a gateway, there is usually a monthly gateway fee that is in addition to all other fees. Imprinter

4 A manual device used to imprint embossed card information onto sales drafts for transaction records. An imprinter only captures card information; it cannot authorize a transaction. Imprinters are primarily used as a backup when the other processing equipment is unable to read data on the card's magnetic stripe. For merchants without an electronic printer, an imprint is needed to prove a card was present if a customer disputes a key-entered transaction. To be used, the merchant must have their metal or plastic plates showing their business name and MID merchant identification number (MID). If a merchant in a conventional retail store is using one of these, it is a sign that their equipment is out of order or they are using a terminal without a printer. This method would be highly inefficient for the merchant. Integrated Point of Sale (IPOS) This acronym refers to conventional terminals that are "smarter" and more sophisticated in that they may be setup to communicate with like terminals owned by the same merchant even if they are located at different locations and with different merchant numbers. Interchange The process of authorization and settlement of card transactions through VISA or MasterCard. Interchange includes the transmittal of cardholder information, transaction data, and fees. Interchange Fee The amount card associations charge acquirers for each card transaction they process. The card associations pay the interchange fee to the issuer as compensation for expenses incurred in providing lines of credit to cardholders. The acquirer's cost is passed on to merchants as a part of the discount rate. Keyed In Transaction A transaction is "keyed" when the information from a credit card is manually entered into a terminal or computer. A transaction is keyed because either the card is not present at the time of the transaction or the equipment being used to process the transaction cannot read the card. Keyed-in transactions usually carry a higher cost to process because there is inherently more risk with non-face-to-face transaction because a merchant cannot verify the customer s identity.

5 Issuer / Issuing Bank The financial institution that issues a credit card to a cardholder. The issuer must be a licensed member of MasterCard or VISA. Also called the issuing bank. Level I processing Purchases made with personal credit cards issued from U.S. banks qualify as Level I transactions. This means that the only information the merchant must pass to process the transaction is the merchant's name, transaction amount, and the date. Level II processing Level II transactions normally involve corporate cards issued from a U.S. bank. Transactions that qualify for Level II processing cost the merchant less than Level 1 transactions. To qualify for Level II, a transaction must be passed with: merchant name, transaction amount, date, tax amount, customer code, merchant postal code, tax identification, merchant minority code, and merchant state code. Level III processing Of the 3 different levels of credit card processing, Level III provides the lowest transaction processing rate. But, in order to qualify for the lowest rate, Level III transactions must be passed through the processing system with much more detailed transaction information that Level I or II transactions. Because so much information must be transmitted, not all terminals are equipped to process Level III transactions. Purchases that qualify as Level III transactions generally are made with government credit card or corporate cards. M MOTO (Mail Order Telephone Order) MOTO refers to a type of card acceptance where a transaction is conducted either over the phone or via mail order. In either case, the transaction is not in person. MOTO accounts are typically more costly due to the higher inherent risk associated with a non face-to-face transaction. Magnetic Stripe A stripe of magnetic information affixed to the back of a plastic credit or debit card. The magnetic stripe contains essential cardholder and account information. Member Alert To Control High Risk Merchants (MATCH) MATCH is an electronic bulletin board used to track people and businesses whose merchant processing accounts are reported "terminated" by acquiring banks. ^

6 Merchant A business that has contracted with an acquirer for card processing services and accepts credit cards as a method of payment for goods or services. Merchant Account The contract between a merchant and an acquiring bank for providing card processing services. Merchant Account Number A number that numerically identifies each merchant, outlet, or line of business to the processor for accounting, billing and technical purposes. Merchant Processing Agreement (MPA) The application executed by the merchant, processor and bank to establish a merchant account. Message Authentication Code (MAC) A data security feature that produces a unique code for every digital message that allows the recipient to verify that data has not been altered since being transmitted by the sender. Mid-Qualified Transaction A tiered transaction that is more costly to the merchant to process because the transaction is keyed in or the card that was being used for the transactions is a type of rewards card. A mid-qualified transaction is more costly than a qualified transaction, but less costly than a non-qualified transaction. Monthly Minimum Fee The minimum amount of discount fees charged by a Merchant Service Provider in a given month. If account activity does not generate the monthly minimum, the merchant pays the difference. For example, if the Monthly Minimum Fee is set at $25, and a merchant s fees only added up to be 12 for a particular month, the merchant would be charged an additional $13 to reach the Monthly Minimum Fee. Monthly Statement Fee (also Account on File Fee) Statement of processing activity and charges mailed to the merchant on a monthly basis. Although, the monthly statement fee may seem high for a a piece of paper that is mailed to a merchant, there is much more that is included in this fee such as 24/7/365 live support as well as local support.

7 N Non-PIN Debit Card A debit card with either a Visa MasterCard or Discover mark that is tied to a cardholders bank account or a prepaid account and which is processed without the use of a PIN. Non-Qualified Discount Rate A non qualified discount rate is a type of tiered pricing that applies to a transaction when the transaction fails to meet qualified or mid qualified criteria. Non-qualified transactions may include transactions in which customers paid using a government or corporate card. At times, qualified transactions my downgrade to non qualified status for reasons such as sales transactions are not settled within 48 hours. Or, a mid qualified transaction may downgrade if the AVS information is not entered by the merchant. If a tip tolerance is exceeded on a VISA transaction, the transaction also downgrades to non qualified. P PAN Primary Account Number PAN Truncation A procedure by which a cardholder s copy of a sales or credit draft will only reflect the last four digits of the card account number. PIN Debit Card A debit card used at a merchant location by means of a cardholder-entered PIN in the merchant s PIN pad. PIN debit cards bear the marks of ATM networks such as NYCE and STAR. PIN Pad PIN Pads are either external devices connected to a credit card terminal or can be an internal component to a credit card terminal. PIN pads are used by customers when they use a debit card for a purchase. PIN pads are not appropriate for all merchants. Point-of-sale (POS) terminal A device used to record and transmit card transactions electronically for authorization and processing. POS terminals can transmit information via a regular telephone line, broadband Internet connection, or wireless signal. POS terminals are also called a card processing terminal. POS terminals can also refer to systems merchants use such as sophisticated restaurant ordering systems, etc. Purchase Cards Purchase Cards are credit cards for use by employees of government agencies or corporations. What makes purchase cards different from ordinary credit cards is that they

8 may only be used at certain types of merchant locations. Purchase card transactions are usually more costly for a merchant to process and will mostly fall in the non-qualified tiered category. Q Qualified Discount Rate A qualified discount rate is a type of a tiered pricing where all the criteria are met for the transaction to pass at one of the least expensive rates possible. R Retrieval Request A retrieval request is a cardholder s bank requesting information from the merchant. This is done in order to substantiate a chargeback claim made by a customer. S Sales Draft A sales draft is the receipt for a credit or debit card purchase. It the evidence of a purchase of goods or services by a cardholder from merchant either in electronic or paper format. It is important for merchants to always obtain a signature when feasible. Secure Server All Web servers that handle credit cards should use SSL (secure socket layer) encrypted communications. While a secure server discusses sensitive credit card information with the customer, anyone eavesdropping on this electronic conversation (through any Internet computer) between browser and server will only see illegible data. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) This is a certificate which is installed on a secure server. It is a security feature that keeps Internet communications private and ensures they have not been forged or tampered with. Having an SSL certificate is a requirement to conduct e commerce and is associated with a shopping cart. Settlement The exchanging of data or funds between the acquirer and the issuer. Settlement includes funding the merchant for the transaction and paying any necessary fees due to the issuer or acquirer for processing the transaction. Settlement Account An account at a financial institution designated by merchant as the account to be debited and credited by processor or bank for card transaction fees, chargebacks and other amounts due under an MPA.

9 Shopping cart A software application needed for ecommerce and online transaction processing. Shopping cart software collects the items a cardholder selects for purchase, maintains a running total, and may calculate taxes and shipping. Split Dial This is a process which allows the authorization terminal to dial directly to different card processors (e.g., AMEX) for authorizations. This can usually result in cost savings to the merchant. Standard Industry Code/Merchant Category Code (SIC/MCC Code): The SIC code is a four digit, numeric identifier of merchant business types. There are thousands of these codes. Store and Forward A transaction that has been authorized by a merchant when the merchant cannot obtain an authorization while the customer is present, typically due to a communications failure. The merchant will store the transaction electronically in their host system and retransmit the transaction when communications have been restored. Swipe This is the action of physically sliding a credit card through a terminal or magnetic stripe reader that "reads" the magnetic strip on the back of all credit and debit cards. By definition, all swiped transactions are card present transactions. T Transaction Fee This is a per item fee charged for each transaction between a POS or non-pos processing solution and the processor s network. It is important to note that transaction fees are also part of interchange. V Virtual terminal An Internet-based portal used for processing card transactions. Brick-and-mortar merchants may use an online payment gateway to process card transactions online without a POS terminal or card processing software. Online merchants must have an online payment gateway to enable their business for ecommerce. This is also called an online payment gateway. Voice / VRU This is an automated Voice Response Transaction typically used for authorizing a credit card transaction.

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