Payment Glossary: The Holy Grail of Payment Terminology

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Talking about payments gets technical really fast. From the outside, it seems like such a simple process; you tap your card and seconds later you’re walking out the door with a new outfit you didn’t need to buy. Unbeknownst to you are the number of parties involved in those few seconds that make sure money is transferred securely from one bank account to another. 

My next post will go into more detail about what's happening behind the scenes when a payment is made but, for now, I thought I would start by explaining the many terms associated with payments and how they apply to your business. I want this list to be a living document you can refer to whenever you need it, so bookmark this page for future use. And if there’s a term missing from this list, reach out to us and we’ll get it added in.

Term 

Definition

Acquiring Bank
A bank or financial institution that processes credit or debit card payments on behalf of the merchant.

Once they accept payment, the funds are deposited into the merchant account. The acquiring bank might be the same as the merchants account, but this isn't always the case. 
Autonomous Payments
This is a new term given to a new generation of payments so seamless, they seem invisible. You will no longer need cards or wearables to physically pay for goods or services, it will just happen automatically.
 
Uber is a great example of this, as you are charged automatically once you exit your ride.
Biometric Authentication
Like a PIN or signature would confirm your identity and authorize payment on your credit card, biometrics uses a physical component on your body to validate your identity.

Current trends for biometric authentication include fingerprint scans an facial recognition technology.
Card-Not-Present Fraud
Also known as ecommerce fraud, card-not-present refers to online payments as opposed to presenting your card in store, so card-not-present fraud is fraud that occurs online.
Chargebacks
These are not to be confused with refunds for returned goods. Chargebacks are 'refunds' made to the customer as a result of a dispute on their credit card for a fraudulent transaction.
 
Certain POS systems, like RQ, make it easier to deal with chargebacks and prove whether or not the transaction actually took place.
COF (Card on File)
When a customer authorizes a merchant to store their credit card information for future use.
Connected Payments See Integrated Payments.
Contactless Payments
Payments made when a card (or digital wallet) doesn't touch a machine, instead just by being in close proximity, usually a few centimetres.
 
Tap and Wave are examples of this. Transactions are securely processed using NFC (Near-Field Communication).
CVM (Cardholder Verification Method)
Used to validate that the person presenting a card is the owner of the card. PIN and signature are examples of CVM.
DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion)
Also known as cardholder preferred currency (CPC), DCC is when an international transaction made on your card is converted to the currency of your credit card.
 
For example, if you live in Canada and buy an item online from a European store, you will be charged in Euro, but the total amount is converted to CAD when you see it on your statement.
Digital Wallet
Also known as e-wallet, digital wallets refer to an electronic service that allows an individual to pay for a transactions.
 
An example of this is Apple Pay where you can use to make a payment online or via your smartphone in-store.
DUKPT (Derived Unique Key Per Transaction)
A type of end-to-end encryption that uses a key (code) management scheme. When processing a payment, a new, non-reusable key is generated for every transaction.
 
DUKPT can be used by both P2PE and E2EE solutions. However, under P2PE, the key management must be done by a third party, not the merchant.
E-Wallet
See Digital Wallet.
E2EE (End-toEnd Encryption)
Describes any solution that encrypts communication from one system or device to another.
 
The data is encrypted on the sender's side and prevents third parties from accessing it while it's transferred, so only the recipient is able to decrypt it. Nobody in between (Internet provider, application service provider or hacker) can access it. Also see P2PE.
EIRF (Electronic Interchange Reimbursement Fee)
A Visa-only interchange rate (see interchange fees in glossary below).
 
An EIRF is applied when the merchant does not meet all the requirements when processing a transaction, and thus must pay a higher EIRF rate. Both Visa debit cards and credit cards can be charged an EIRF interchange fee.
EMV
Smart payment cards (also called chip card, microchips, or IC cards) which store their data on chips as well as magnetic stripe.
 
EMV originally stood for 'Europay, Mastercard, and Visa', as they created the original credit card standard for smart cards. EMV is now managed by an organisation called EMVCo, which is made up of a combination of financial institutions.
Gateway (Payment Gateway)
The middleman between your store and the payment processor that receives the payment from your customer.
 
Once a customer uses their credit or debit card, the payment gateway sends the data securely to the payment processor to authorize the transaction and ensure the data entered is enough to finalize payment.
IC Card (Integrated Circuit Card)
See EMV.
Integrated Payments
Also referred to as unified payments and connected payments, integrated payments refers to payment terminals being connected to the POS software.
 
When your payments are connected or integrated, the amount due automatically shows up on the payment device, avoiding human error and extra reconciliation time with manual entry.
Interchange Fee
TInterchange fees that the merchant's bank pays whenever a customer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase online or instore.
 
The fee is paid by the merchant bank to the card-issuing bank to cover handling costs, fraud, bad debt, and the risk involved in approving a payment.
Invisible Payments
See Autonomous Payments.
Issuing Bank
The financial institution that issues credit or debit cards to consumers: the customer's bank.
MCC (Multi-Currency Conversion)
MCC gives merchants the ability to show international customers what their purchase totals in their own currency.
 
A Canadian consumer shopping on a US store's website will have their order amount converted from USD to CAD before they confirm the order.
 
The ability to provide MCC creates transparency for the customer and also reduces abandoned carts and chargebacks.
Merchant
Refers to the retailer.
Merchant Account
The retailer's bank account where funds are deposited. 
MID (Merchant Identification Numbers)
A unique code provided to merchants by their payment processor. It's like your store name, but in numerical format to identify you in the banking world.
MSP (Merchant Service Provider)
The company that provides merchants with the tools and services they need to process credit and debit cards.
 
iQmetrix for example offers an MSP program in addition to our POS software.
Next-Day Funding
Where a merchant will receive funds from credit and debit transactions the next business day.
NFC (Near Field Communication)
A wireless technology that allows users to make payments by placing an NFC device like a smartphone or credit card within a few centimeters of another NFC device such as a payment terminal.
 
Near-field communication sends data through electromagnetic radio fields and is the technology behind e-wallets like Apple Pay. See contactless payments for more info.
NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds)
More commonly known as insufficient funds, NSF refers to a checking account that does not have enough funds to successfully process a payment.
Online Retrieval
Online retrieval and chargebacks go hand in hand. Online retrieval is a request for information on a transaction.
 
If a transaction does turn out to be fraudulent it then becomes a chargeback. See chargeback for more information. 
P2PE (Point-to-Point Encryption)
A type of E2EE and was established years after E2EE by the PCI Security Standards Council.
 
Payment solutions that offer similar encryption but do not meet the P2PE standard are referred to as E2EE solutions. See E2EE for more info.
PCI
See PCI DSS.
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
Also referred to as DSS or more commonly just PCI, PCI DSS refers to the security standards around credit card acceptance.
 
There are measures in place that ensure merchants are meeting these requirements when storing and processing payments, so that customer data is kept safe. 
PED (Pin Entry Devices)
As the name suggests, PEDs or Pin Pads, are devices used to accept and encrypt a cardholder's personal identification number (PIN), when paying with debit or credit. 
Processor (Payment Processor)
Facilitates the disbursement of funds between the card networks, issuing and acquiring banks, and the merchant's account.
Quick Chip
An upgraded chip technology by Visa that speeds up payment processing and approval when using chip credit or debit cards.
Terminal Sharing
Refers to hardware payment devices that are able to process payments from more than one workstation or POS. 
Tokenization
Keeps a customers card data safe when processing a payment. It does this by swapping out sensitive card data with a completely random set of data that has no meaning or value. Tokenization makes the data completely useless if it was to fall into the wrong hands. 
Unified Payments
Refer to Connected Payments.

As you can see, there's a lot going on in the world of payments and the right retail software can help you simplify the payments process. If you’re interested in learning about how iQmetrix can take care of your retail payments, head here

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