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Industry Terms

An Acquirer is a Visa / Master Card Affiliated Bank or Bank/Processor alliance that is in the business of processing credit card transactions for businesses and is always Acquiring new merchants.

Address Verification Service (AVS)
The process of validating a cardholder's given address against the issuer's records, to determine accuracy and deter fraud. This service is provided as part of a credit card authorization for mail order/telephone order transactions. A code is returned with the authorization result that indicates the level of accuracy of the address match and helps secure the most favorable interchange rates.

An adjustment is initiated by the acquirer to correct a processing error. The error could be a duplication of a transaction or the result of a cardholder dispute. The acquirer debits or credits the merchant DDA account for the dollar amount of the adjustment.

Auto Close
A terminal feature that allows an end-of-day batch closing to occur automatically at a specified time, without having to be initiated by the merchant.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) File
A file with instructions for the exchange and settlement of electronic payments passed between financial institutions. It represents debits and credits to be deducted from an account automatically as they occur.

The accumulation of captured credit card transactions in the merchant's terminal or POS awaiting settlement.

The submission of an electronic credit card transaction for financial settlement. Authorized credit card sales must be captured and settled in order for a merchant to receive funds for those sales. Also see Settlement.

Card Not Present
A transaction where the card is not present at the time of the transaction (such as mail order or telephone order). Credit card data is manually entered into the terminal, as opposed to swiping a card's magnetic stripe through the terminal.

A credit card transaction that is billed back to the merchant after the sale has been settled. Chargebacks are initiated by the card issuer on behalf of the cardholder. Typical cardholder disputes involve product delivery failure or product/service dissatisfaction. Cardholders are urged to try to obtain satisfaction from the merchant before disputing the bill with the credit card issuer.

Close Batch
The process of sending the batch for settlement.

Code 10 Authorization
If you suspect a card is fraudulent at the time of the transaction, the merchant can call their voice authorization phone number and ask for a code 10. The voice operator will instruct the merchant on how to proceed.

DDA Account
This is the merchants Demand Deposit Account, otherwise known as the merchant's home town bank account.

Discount Rate
The percentage of sales amounts that the bank card acquirer or T&E card issuer charges the merchant for the settlement of the transactions.

Electronic Date Capture (EDC)
Process of electronically authorizing, capturing and settling a credit card transaction.

The standardized electronic exchange of financial and non-financial data associated with sale and credit data between merchant acquirers and card issuers on various types of MasterCard and Visa transactions.

Interchange Fee
A fee paid by an acquirer to an issuer for transactions entered into interchange. The interchange fee is a percentage applied, according to Visa/MasterCard regulations, to the dollar value of each transaction. There are multiple categories of interchange, and Visa and MasterCard each have their own criteria for their own categories. A transaction must meet the specified criteria for a category in order for that category's rate to be applied. Each transaction is evaluated individually, so various interchange rates may apply within one batch of merchant transactions.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are the Web Site Hosting companies that provide a home for merchant's web sites. They typically resell and/or support the services of a Secure Gateway Provider and/or ISO or Agent or Bank.

Manual Close
A batch close that must be initiated by the merchant on a daily basis, as opposed to an auto close at a pre-set time.

Merchant Identification Number (MID)
This number is generated by a processor/acquirer and is specific to each individual merchant location. This number is used to identify the merchant during processing of daily transactions, rejects, adjustments, charge backs, end-of-month processing fees, etc.

Company and system used to authorize and capture credit card transactions.

Non-Qualified Transaction Fees (NON-Qual)
Bank card sales transactions that do not meet set Visa/MasterCard criteria for that particular merchant and are processed at a higher interchange rate. An example of this is a merchant that is retail (card present) that processes a card-not-present transaction (or manually enters card data rather than swiping the magnetic stripe through the terminal). The merchant will pay the difference between what they should have paid on retail and what they actually qualified for (card not present). This difference is called non-qualified interchange fees.

A Processor is the company that actually routes an Authorization Request from a Point of Sale device (such as a VeriFone credit card terminal) to Visa or Master Card, and then arranges for Fund Settlement to the merchant. Such processors are traditionally accessed via direct dial out modems connecting to their system.

Processing Network (Vendor)
The medium of data transport between the merchant application and the processor. This company authorizes and captures credit card transactions.

Procurement/Purchasing Cards
Charge cards used by businesses to cover purchasing expenses, such as raw materials or office supplies.

Reserve Account
One method that ACH Processor's use to mitigate risk, is to require that merchants maintain a Reserve Account at the Processor's Sponsoring Bank. This allows the Processor to issue a Hold on funds in this account when fraud has been detected or an excessively large number of returns is received. Merchants with good credit and history can usually meet the expectations of ACH Processors for covering returns and so are not always required to keep a reserve account. In cases where a reserve is required, the minimum-reserve-balance in the account is set at about 20% of the anticipated processing volume. New merchants are usually allowed to build up their reserve by sending in transactions which are not withdrawn until the minimum reserve balance is achieved; after that, the merchant is allowed to withdraw the excess funds for transfer to their home town bank.

Sales Draft (Ticket)
A form showing an obligation on the cardholder's part to pay money (i.e., the sales amount) to the card issuer. This is the piece of paper that is signed when making the purchase. Sales draft data can be captured electronically and sent to be processed over the phone lines. Also see Electronic Data Capture.

Secure Payment Gateway
Secure Payment Gateway companies help other Processors conduct secure business on the internet using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.

The process of sending a merchant's batch to the network for processing and payment. For non-bankcards, the issuer pays the merchant directly (less applicable fees) and then bills the cardholder. For bank cards, the acquirer pays the merchant (less applicable fees) with funds from Visa/MasterCard. The bank card issuer then bills the cardholder for the amount of the sale. Also see Capture.

T & E cards
Credit or charge card used by businesses for travel and entertainment expenses. Examples of these cards are American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche and JCB. Also see Corporate Cards.

Equipment used to capture, transmit and store credit card transactions.

Terminal Identification Number (TID)
A unique number assigned to each POS terminal


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