Glossary of Terms
This page is a handy reference for many of the terms and abbreviations used throughout these documents and the credit card processing industry.
The process of ensuring that systems are only accessed by those authorized to do so, and only in a manner for which they have been authorized.
A unique number assigned by a financial institution to a customer. On a credit card, this number is embossed and encoded on the plastic card.
A bank or company that acquires data relating to transactions from a reseller or card acceptor for processing.
A bank that receives the credit card transactions and the settles with the issuing banks. Bank that signs up/enables the reseller to process transactions.
Address Verification Service (AVS)
A method of reducing fraud in mail/telephone order transactions by using cardholder billing address information in the authentication request.
A financial organization that issues their own charge and credit cards. American Express also performs their own transaction processing within their own processing network.
Application Program Interface - The interface (calling conventions) by which an application program accesses operating system and other services.
The layer of the ISO Reference Model which provides communications between applications.
The provision of security services within user applications running above the Application Layer of the ISO model.
An authorization response received when a transaction is approved.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange - The standard system for representing letters and symbols. Each letter or symbol is assigned a unique number between 0 and 127.
The process of assuring that data has come from its claimed source, or of corroborating the claimed identity of a communicating party.
The act of insuring that the cardholder has adequate funds available against their line of credit. A positive authorization results in an authorization code being generated, and those funds being set aside. The cardholder's available credit line is reduced by the authorized amount.
Dollar amount approved.
A code that the issuer or its authorizing processor provides to indicate approval or denial for an authorization request.
Date and time that transaction was authorized.
Authorization Only (AuthOnly)
A transaction created to reserve an amount against a credit card's available limit for intended purchases; the settlement may occur within three to seven days, depending on the card type.
Transaction that has been approved.
Address Verification Service (see above)
Bank account number for the reseller to which funds will be deposited.
Bank Identification Number (BIN)
The first six digits of a Visa or MasterCard account number. This number is used to identify the card issuing institution.
Any association member financial institution, bank, credit union, or company that issues, or causes to be issued, plastic cards to cardholders.
A device capable of reading the encoding on plastic cards. (see Magnetic Stripe Reader)
Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP)
An information security standard sponsored and promoted by Visa USA that applies to any organization that stores or handles their credit card account numbers.
An individual to whom a card is issued, or who is authorized to use an issued card.
Cash Concentration or Disbursement: an electronic check payment processing format.
A digital identifier linking an entity and a trusted third party able to confirm the entity's identity.
Certification Authority (CA)
A trusted entity issuing certificates confirming the identity of, or given facts associated with, the certificate's subject.
A transaction returned through interchange by an issuer to an acquirer. A transaction may be returned because it was non-compliant with the association rules and regulations or because it was disputed by a cardholder.
The number of days from the processing or endorsement date of the transaction that an issuer may initiate a chargeback.
Cardholder Information Security Program (see above)
Commerce Service Provider (CSP)
Supplies the system and services to establish the back-office infrastructure for businesses. Major aspects include: the processing of secure transactions, the developing and managing of customer relationships, the collecting of payment, and the delivering of products or services over the web. A CSP may provide the following services: buyer authentication, order taking, details of what is for sale in an electronic offer, validation, payment processing (via traditional credit card payment processors), and generation of electronic receipts. (see also Electronic Commerce)
Commercial cards is a broad definition for a special class of credit card. They differ from consumer cards in that they frequently offer Level-3 line item detail and special usage controls to the corporate or governmental user. This class of card may also be referred to as Corporate Cards, Purchase Cards, Business Cards, Fleet Cards, Pro-Cards, Travel and Entertainment Cards.
Corporate Procurement Card
A Corporate Procurement Card is one type of corporate card. They are typically issued to individuals that have the authority to make purchases on behalf of their corporation. The cards are centrally billed to the cardholder's organization. They may also be referred to as Pro-Cards or Corporate Purchasing Cards. Corporate Purchasing Card
(see Corporate Procurement Card)
Custom Payment Service
Credit Card Gateway
Credit card or internet payment processing.
Credit Card Number
Unique number assigned to an individual credit card.
Credit Card Processing
The general term for processing transactions against bankcards according to terms defined by Visa or MasterCard.
Credit Card Processor
A company that performs authorization and settlement of credit card payments, usually handling several types of credit cards (such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express). If resellers wish to sell their products to cardholders, they must retain the services of one or more processors who handle the credit cards that the reseller wishes to accept. When a reseller retains the services of a credit card processor, they are issued a reseller ID.
The dollar amount a cardholder is approved to borrow.
A mathematical term or other parameter used to define how a given algorithm will transform data into cipher text.
The art or science of transforming clear, meaningful information into an enciphered, unintelligible form using an algorithm and a key.
The form of an amount of money in a transaction. Default is USD for U.S. Dollars. This feature will be used when non-U.S. dollars are used in a transaction.
Custom Payment Service (CPS)
Visa's regulations for the information that must be submitted with each transaction. Transactions must meet CPS criteria in order to qualify for lowest transaction processing fees available. (This is similar to MasterCard's Merit System.)
A 17 digit alphanumeric field that is used with Purchase Card transactions. The code is typically defined by the customer (cardholder) and is used for accounting or project tracking purposes. This field is translated to PO Number unless it is left blank in which case the Invoice is used and if that is blank as well, the Transaction ID is used instead.
The CVV2/CVC code is a three-digit number located on the back of Visa and MasterCard credit cards. American Express is also incorporating this security feature by placing a four-digit number on the front of their cards. The code is used for verification purposes and to prevent credit card fraud.
A data processing term for collecting, formatting and storing data in computer memory according to predefined fields (customer name, address, account number, etc.). When a terminal reads this information from a plastic card or from entries in a terminal, the information is stored in a computer memory for later output as a hard copy printout or as a soft copy on a CRT display. Also known as Electronic Draft Capture (EDC) or Draft Capture.
Data Encryption Standard (DES)
A cryptographic algorithm adopted by the National Bureau of Standards for Data Security. The algorithm encrypts or decrypts 64 bits of data using a 56-bit key. (see also Triple DES)
Measures to prevent unauthorized alteration of data.
A charge to a customer's bankcard account. A transaction, such as a check, automated teller machine (ATM) withdrawal, or point of sale (POS) debit purchase.
Conversion of cipher text back into plain text.
Decryption is the process of transforming cipher text back into plain text.
Process of transmitting a batch of transactions from the reseller to the acquiring institution in preparation for settlement.
Data Encryption Standard
Digital Signature Algorithm
A data element allowing the recipient of a message or transaction to verify the content and sender.
Fee paid by the reseller to the reseller bank or other contracted party for processing the reseller's credit card sales.
This is the percentage rate that a reseller institution charges the reseller giving deposit credit for handling reseller drafts or electronic sales transmissions. The discount fee is the dollar amount.
The act of electronically capturing transactions. (see Electronic Draft Capture)
Digital Signature Algorithm
Obtaining authorization for use of a credit card by electronic means, via a computer or telephone.
A system of integrated communications, data management, and security services that allow business applications within different organizations to automatically interchange information.
Electronic Draft Capture (EDC)
A point of sale terminal that reads the information encoded in the magnetic stripe of bankcards. These terminals electronically and capture transaction data, eliminating the need for a paper deposit.
Conversion of plain text into encrypted data (cipher text).
The process of transforming clear, meaningful information into an enciphered, unintelligible form using an algorithm and a key.
When used in the context of encryption, a series of numbers which are used by an encryption algorithm to transform plain text data into encrypted data and vice versa.
Application of security measures consistently across a whole data system or process, leaving no weak or vulnerable points.
E-Procurement (or Eprocurement)
Electronic procurement, or electronic purchasing, refers broadly to the technology that automates some or all of the processes related to creating a requisition document, obtaining purchase approval, locating or sourcing a supplier, creating a Purchase Order (PO), and delivering the PO to the supplier.
A card on which the embossed, encoded or printed expiration date has passed.
A specific type of corporate credit card used to purchase goods and services for automobile, aviation, or marine fleets.
A limited amount that Visa and MasterCard have established for single transactions at specific types of reseller outlets and branches above which authorization is needed.
A transaction unauthorized by the cardholder or a bankcard. Such transactions are reported as lost, stolen, not received, issued on a fraudulent application, counterfeit, fraudulent processing of transactions, account takeover, or other fraudulent conditions as defined by the card company or the member company.
An individual who is not the cardholder or designee and who uses a card or card account number to obtain goods or services without the cardholder's consent.
A generic term for commercial purchasing cards issued to federal, state, or local government agencies. Government cards may be purchase, travel or fleet.
An inexact term used to describe either payment received from citizens or businesses by the government, or payments from a government agency to a supplier.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Ð Secure
An active cross reference from one resource to another. The cross reference is called active because it is presented in a medium that allows the reader to follow it, for example by mouse-clicking on it. A reader can follow hyperlinks in an HTML document using a web browser, and move easily from one page to the next through a series of documents connected by hyperlinks.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
HTTP is a client/server protocol for delivering hypertext material across the internet. HTTP is stateless, which means that each time a client makes a request for information from a single HTTP server, each request is treated independently. HTTP servers do not remember the earlier requests which allows the HTTP server to respond to requests quickly.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Ð Secure (HTTPS)
A variant of HTTP for handling secure transactions. Browsers that support the URL access method, “https,” connect to HTTP servers using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
Independent Service Organization (ISO)
In the payment systems industry, an ISO is a third party organization that facilitates reseller registration to accept credit cards.
The exchange of information, transaction data and money among banks. Interchange systems are managed by Visa and MasterCard associations according to their requirements and are very standardized so that banks and resellers worldwide can use them.
A fee paid by the acquiring/reseller bank to the issuing bank. The fee compensates the issuer for the time after settlement with the acquiring/reseller bank and before it recoups the settlement value from the cardholder.
Interchange rates are based on baseline costs established by the two bankcard associations, Visa and MasterCard on behalf of their member banks that set foundation costs which make up the reseller's bank card processing fees. Additional fees may be added by the reseller's acquiring bank to reach a final rate called the “discount rate.”
Interchange Reimbursement Fee
One of the following: A fee that an acquirer pays to an issuer in the clearing and settlement of an interchange transaction, based on either the standard (paper-based) rate or an electronic rate. A fee that an issuer pays to an acquirer for making a cash disbursement to a cardholder or check purchaser.
A global public network consisting of millions of interconnected computers all linked together using the Internet Protocol.
Internet Payment Gateway
An Internet Payment Gateway is a centrally managed service that offers resellers the ability to process credit card transactions. Typically the credit card data uses the Internet as a method of transporting the data from the reseller's systems to the operator of the payment gateway.
A unique invoice / ticket/ order number which is limited to 10 digits on the USAePay Payment Gateway. Also known as 'UMinvoice' in the Transaction API.
Independent Service Organization
Any association member financial institution, bank, credit union, or company that issues, or causes to be issued, plastic credit cards to cardholders.
When used in the context of encryption, a series of numbers that are used by an encryption algorithm to transform plain text data into encrypted (cipher text) data, and vice versa.
Large Ticket Rate
Visa and MasterCard have created special interchange rates to provide an incentive for resellers to process higher transaction amounts. Large ticket transactions are often greater than $100,000.00, and may exceed several million dollars.
Level III purchase card information refers to the ability to process detailed purchase information with the financial credit card transaction. The supplemental information typically includes data elements like a Customer Code, Invoice and Order Number, Part Number, Item Description, Quantity, Unit of Measure, Unit Price, etc. Level III is a feature associated with purchase card programs. Also referred to as Level-3.
Line Item Detail
The specific information carried in a Level-III purchase card transaction.
A stripe of magnetic information on the back of a plastic credit or debit card. It contains customer and account information required to complete electronic financial transactions. The physical and magnetic characteristics of this stripe are specified in sections 7810, 7811, and 7813 of the International Organization for Standardizations.
Magnetic Stripe Reader
A device that reads information from the magnetic stripe and transmits that information to a transaction processor or computer terminal. Also referred to as a card reader.
Magnetic Stripe Terminal
A terminal that reads the magnetic stripe on a plastic card.
Mail/Phone Order Reseller
A Reseller who conducts most of their transactions via mail or telephone.
MasterCard International Incorporated and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates.
A member that signs a MasterCard reseller or disburses currency to a MasterCard cardholder and directly or indirectly enters the resulting transaction receipt into interchange.
A card that bears the MasterCard symbol, enabling a MasterCard cardholder to obtain goods, services or cash from a MasterCard reseller or acquirer.
A member that issues MasterCard cards.
MasterCard's requirements for obtaining favorable interchange rates. Similar to CPS requirements by Visa.
Mail Order/Telephone Order
Multiple Transaction Processing (Multi-Trans)
Electronic communications process where multiple authorization requests and responses are exchanges during a single phone connection with the third-party transaction processor.
A transaction where the issuer and the acquirer are the same. An “on-us” check would be one in which a depositor's check is presented for payment at the same financial institution that carried the account on which the check was written.
Open To Buy Amount
Dollar amount of credit remaining for customer at the time of authorization.
A 17 character alphanumeric field that may be used between the reseller and cardholder for tracking purposes.
A term that describes the result when a cardholder has used more credit than he or she had available on the account.
Sales slips, credit slips, cash disbursement slips, drafts, vouchers, and other paper obligations indicating use of a card or card account.
A sequence of characters that allows users to gain access to a restricted system.
Abbreviation for Purchasing Card, Procurement Card, or Purchase Card. Also referred to as P-Card.
Personal Identification Number (PIN)
A sequence of digits used to verify the identity of the holder or a token. A kind of password.
Per Transaction Fees
Fees paid by the reseller to the reseller bank or other contracted party on a per-transaction basis.
Personal Identification Number
Data before the application of a cryptographic algorithm.
A generic term used to refer to any of the various cards issued to cardholders.
Point of Sale (POS)
Location in a reseller establishment at which the sale is consummated by payment for good or services.
An informal description of desired system behavior. Policies may be defined for particular requirements such as confidentiality, integrity, availability or safety.
Point of Sale
A system that processes commercial transactions. May be in the form of a card terminal, electronic cash register or specialized software.
The process of updating individual cardholder account balances to reflect merchandise sales, instant cash, payments or any other charges.
Prearranged Payment and Deposit: An electronic check payment format defined as a credit or debit entry (other than an MTE or POS entry) initiated by an organization pursuant to a standing or a single entry authorization from a Receiver to effect a transfer of funds to or from a Consumer Account of the Receiver.
A clearing record that an acquirer presents to an issuer through interchange, either initially (a first presentment) or after the chargeback (a re-presentment).
Primary Account Number (PAN)
The number that is embossed, encoded, or both on a plastic card that identifies the issuer and the specific cardholder account.
A general term used in procurement to describe an important supplier. In some cases it may also denote a certain way of doing business with said supplier.
An authorization usually done before a transaction takes place. The approved authorization request may be held for an extended length of time before a card is present.
A cryptographic key known only to the user, employed in public key cryptography for decrypting or signing information.
(lowercase) Used by some organizations as an abbreviation for Procurement Card.
(uppercase) A company that provides software and services to some issuing banks.
The date on which the transaction is processed by the acquiring bank.
One type of corporate or commercial credit card. They are typically issued to individuals who have the authority to make purchases on behalf of their organization, expenses are billed to the cardholder's organization. Also referred to as purchase or purchasing cards.
A cryptographic key which is used for data encryption and which cannot be used for decryption. Public keys can be freely published.
Public Key Cryptography
A form of asymmetric encryption where all parties posses a pair of keys, one private and one public, for use in encryption and digital signing of data.
One type of corporate or commercial credit card. They are typically issued to individuals who have the authority to make purchases on behalf of their organization, expenses are billed to the cardholder's organization. Also referred to as purchasing or procurement cards.
One type of corporate or commercial credit card. They are typically issued to individuals who have the authority to make purchases on behalf of their organization, expenses are billed to the cardholder's organization. Also referred to as purchase or procurement cards.
A hard copy document recording a transaction that took place at a point of sale with a description that usually includes: date, reseller name/location, primary account number, amount, and reference number.
Transactions for which a cardholder grants permission to the reseller to periodically charge his account number for recurring goods or services.
A number assigned to each monetary transaction in a descriptive billing system. Each reference number is printed on the monthly statement to aid in retrieval of the document, should it be questioned by the cardholder.
Issue a credit to a cardholder account, usually as a result of a product return or to correct an error.
Request Authorization (auth)
Submits a transaction for Authorization Only. The act of insuring that the cardholder has adequate funds available against their line of credit. A positive authorization results in an authorization code being generated, and those funds being set aside. The cardholder's available credit line is reduced by the authorized amount. See also Authorization.
A person or entity that contracts with reseller banks or ISOs to originate transactions and accept credit card payments in exchange for goods or services.
A written agreement between a reseller and a bank containing their respective rights, duties, and warranties with respect to acceptance of the bankcard and matters related to the bankcard activity.
Bank that has a reseller agreement with a reseller to accept (acquire) deposits generated by bankcard transactions.
Reseller Category Code
Four-digit classification code used in the warning bulletin, authorization, clearing, and settlement systems to identify the type of reseller business in various stages of transaction processing.
Reseller Depository Account
Demand deposit account established by a reseller with the acquiring bank to receive payment for sales drafts submitted to the bank card plan.
In the credit card industry, a reseller ID is a number provided to a reseller by a credit card processor when the reseller retains their services. Also referred to as a reseller number.
A series or group of digits that uniquely identifies the reseller to the reseller signing bank for account and billing purposes. Also referred to as reseller ID.
A reseller that provides goods or services in the retail industry, but is not a mail or phone reseller, a recurring services reseller, or a T&E reseller.
An issuer's request for a transaction receipt, which could include the original, a paper copy or facsimile, or an electronic version thereof.
An online financial transaction used to negate or cancel a transaction that has been sent through interchange in error.
A paper record evidencing the purchase of goods or services by a cardholder.
SDP (SDP Program)
Site Data Protection (Program)
Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
An encryption standard devised by Netscape Communications for secure communication over the World Wide Web.
The report of settlement amounts owed by one member to another, or to a card issuing concern. The buying and selling of transactions between the resellers, processors, and acquirers, along with the card issuing entities.
A bank, including a correspondent or intermediary bank, that is both located in the country where a member's settlement currency is the local currency, and is authorized to execute settlement of interchange on behalf of the member or the member's bank.
Standard Industry Classification Code
Site Data Protection Program (SDP)
An information security standard sponsored and promoted by MasterCard that applies to any organization that stores or handles their credit card account numbers.
A plastic card containing a computer chip with memory and CPU capabilities. Such a card may be used for identification, to store information or financial amounts, or other forms of data. Also referred to as an integrated circuit card or a chip card.
Simple Object Access Protocol - is a protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over computer networks, normally using HTTP/HTTPS. SOAP forms the foundation layer of the web services protocol stack providing a basic messaging framework upon which abstract layers can be built.
Sources include all of the internal system sources in the merchant console - such as the vTerminal or QuickSale - as well as any external sources - such as a Point of Sale system, an eStore or Payment Form.
A source key is what authenticates you as a merchant when processing from an outside source. It is also used for reporting by its own name. In order to generate your own unique source key you must log into your merchant console at USAePay.com. From there go to settings→source keys→Add Source button. Please name it, to identify, fill out the appropriate fields and then hit the apply button to generate the key. It will appear as a long string of numbers and letters such as: dgb8otyulg26vm2hYiF8b2q6P7091681 (this is a dummy key and does NOT work). Copy and paste your new key into your outside source such as Shopping Cart, Billing Software, Payment Form, Custom Application, etc.
Source Pin Code
A number set by the merchant which corresponds with a source to provide an extra layer of security.
Secure Socket Layer
Standard Floor Limit
A floor limit that varies by reseller type. This refers to a limit on the dollar amount for a single transaction above which authorization must be obtained.
Standard Industry Classification Code (SIC)
A system used to categorize businesses by industry group. This system is being replaces by the NAICS Coding system.
A written record prepared by a financial institution, usually once a month, listing all of the transactions for an account, including deposits, withdrawals, checks, electronic transfers, fees and other charges, as well as interest credited or earned. The statement is usually mailed directly to the card or account holder.
A stored-value card is a credit card sized device, implanted with a computer chip, with stored money value. A reloadable stored-value card can be reused by transferring value to it via an automated teller machine or other device. A disposable card cannot be reloaded.
Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
A standard format for transmitting data from one computer to another. TCP deals with the construction of the data, while IP routes the data from one computer to another.
In the credit card industry, a number provided to a reseller by a credit card processor when that reseller retains their services. Also referred to as a terminal number. A reseller may be assigned multiple terminal numbers, but retain a single reseller number or ID.
Third-Party Transaction Processor
An entity that validates and authorizes credit card purchases. They may also service accounts on behalf of the issuers, emboss cards, and mail cards to the cardholders.
Any agreement between two or more parties that establishes a legal obligation. The act of carrying out such an obligation. All activities affecting a deposit account that are carried out at the request of the account holder. All events that cause some change in the assets, liabilities, or net worth of a business. An interaction between a cardholder and a reseller or a cardholder and a member that results in activity on the cardholder account.
A unique 15 character value that Visa assigns to each transaction and returns to the acquirer in the authorization response. Visa uses this value to maintain an audit trail throughout the life cycle of the transaction and all related transactions, such as reversals, adjustments, confirmations, and chargebacks.
An entity that validates and authorizes credit card purchases. They may also service the actual accounts on behalf of the issuers, emboss cards and mail cards to cardholders.
A detail that denotes the type of transaction for reporting purposes.
This is a USAePay specific placeholder (variable) for the Transaction API. Populate this variable with your source key which is generated from your merchant console at usaepay.com
Process of validating that a user is who they purport themselves to be.
The identity of the person authorized to log on to the system.
A unique four character value that Visa includes as part of the CPS/ATM program in each authorization response to ensure that key authorization fields are preserved in the clearing or settlement record.
Verified by Visa (VPAS)
An integrated authentication system and support for third party verification run by the Visa corporation. See also MasterCard Secure Code.
Visa International Service Association and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates.
A member that signs a Visa reseller or disburses currency to a Visa cardholder in a cash disbursement, and directly or indirectly enters the resulting transaction receipt into interchange.
A card that bears the Visa logo, enabling a Visa cardholder to obtain goods, services, or cash from a Visa reseller or acquirer.
Visa Commerce is a corporate card program that allows buyers and sellers to establish the trading rules supporting their businesses.
A member that issues Visa cards.
A reseller that displays the Visa symbol all Visa cards.
The systems and services, including the V.I.P. system and BASE II, through which Visa delivers online financial processing, authorization, clearing, and settlement services to members.
An approval response obtained through interactive communication between an issuer and an acquirer, their authorizing processors, or stand-in processing, through telephone, facsimile, or telex communications.
Delete all information from a specified transaction.
Nullifies a transaction that has been recorded for settlement, but not yet settled. This removes the transaction from the current batch.
Verified by Visa
The Web Services Description Language (WSDL, pronounced 'wiz-dəl' or spelled out, 'W-S-D-L') is an XML-based language that provides a model for describing Web services.