E-Commerce Glossary



A financial institution that provides facilities for businesses to accept payments by cards and receive these funds.

AVS Address Verifications Service
Fraud-prevention mechanic that verifies a customer address against a card.

The American Express equivalent of AVS & CVC2.

Average transaction value or ticket value of good/services sold by the business

A process whereby a transaction for a specified amount is approved or declined by a card issuer or an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer. This approval confirms that the card number is valid, not reported lost or stolen and that funds were available at the time of the transaction.

The authorisation request may be generated by a merchant terminal and processed electronically or may include voice contact between the merchant and the acquirer.

Authorisation Call
A telephone call made from a point of sale to obtain authorisation for a transaction.

Authorisation Code
A code (which must not be all zeros) which is generated by a card issuer or by an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer when an authorisation request is approved.


Bankers Automated Clearing Services Limited - an electronic funds transfer service whereby customers may enter debit and/or credit entries directly into the UK bank clearing system. The automated transactions may be created either by their own computer installation or by a service bureau on their behalf.

Banking Day
Any day other than a Saturday or Sunday, or a day which is celebrated as a Bank Holiday in any part of the UK.

Banking Window
This is specific to merchants with on-line terminals. A merchant has a banking window ( e.g. 16.00-19.00) allocated, and during this time he/she is expected to perform the End of Day reconciliation on the terminal.

It is important that the end of day is completed otherwise transactions may be delayed and appear for crediting on a different trading day.

A batch is a collection of transactions held at a single terminal or outlet. A batch may contain any number of shifts or days' data.

The bank identification number with the card schemes.


An Institution which issues a payment card to the cardholder

Card Issuer
An individual to whom a card has been issued or an individual authorised to use such a card.

Cardholder Transaction
The use of a card by a customer (normally assumed to be the cardholder) in order to purchase goods or services from a merchant or obtain cash from an ATM or financial institution.

Card scheme
e.g., Visa and MasterCard

Card Security Code or CVV2 (Card Verification Value)
An anti-fraud device used by some card issuers as a means of protection against invented or altered magnetic stripe content.

A discreet code, known only to the card issuer which is included in the electronic authorisation as a means of verifying that the card, which has been presented, is genuine.

CCS Cardholder Currency Selection
The Servebase enablement functionality for Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) through various providers.

Charge Card
A payment card linked to an account, which has to be settled in full by a stipulated date.

The term used where a card issuer can charge part or all of the value of a transaction back to the merchant via their acquirer.

Chip and PIN
Chip and PIN is a programme aimed at reducing fraud for those transactions where the cardholder and card are present at the time of the transaction.

The Chip (silver or gold coloured square on the front left side of the card) is embedded into a card to provide highly secure memory and processing capabilities. In addition to holding the same personal data as the magnetic stripe, the chip provides additional security features to safeguard against counterfeiting.

The PIN is a four-digit number that the cardholder will enter into the PIN pad instead of signing a card receipt. From January 2005, liability for counterfeit card transactions and lost and stolen card fraud, will pass to the party that is not chip & PIN compliant. Where all parties are compliant, then counterfeit transactions should reduce significantly and there will be no recourse by the cardholder saying they did not authorise the transaction.

CNP- Cardholder Not Present
A transaction undertaken via telephone/­coupon/­letter, where the card is not seen by the merchant.

Commodity Codes (CC)
VISA specified codes for categorising the actual commodity (eg: nuts and bolts). Approximately 300codes.

The process by which data is entered into a merchant terminal so as to 'personalise' it to the merchant's particular requirements.

Corporate Card
A Commercial card issued to businesses to facilitate business expenditure.

Cost Allocation Codes (CAC)
Applying internal cost coding to each Purchasing Card Cardholder (eg: cost centre number, department number or budget number).

Credit Card
A payment card (e.g. MasterCard, Visa) linked to an account which may be settled in full by a set date or may be repaid over a period of time, subject to minimum monthly repayments being made. Interest will normally be charged on the outstanding balance.

Customer Reference Code (CRC)
VAT capable suppliers can input a CRC at the Point of Sale up to a maximum of 16 digits being alpha or numeric. An example would be a job costing number.


Daily Transaction File (DTF)
The transaction file that includes all of your Purchasing Card spend for the previous 48 hours.

DCC Dynamic Currency Conversion
A foreign exchange mechanism provided by banks and third parties that gives a cardholder an option to pay either in the merchant’s local currency or their home currency at the point of sale

Debit Card
A card (e.g. Visa Delta or Maestro (Domestic), which is designed to enable a customer to transfer money from a current account (including a savings or deposit account, which provides for transfers without notice to third parties), or an account on which cheques can normally be drawn to the account of some other person.

The UK Visa debit card badged with the Delta mark, comparable to Maestro (Domestic). Like Maestro (Domestic), it can support purchase with cash back and cheque guarantee functions. Unlike Maestro (Domestic) it can be used in a paper only environment and by virtue of Delta being a Visa product, is acceptable worldwide, wherever the Visa logo is displayed.

UK Cards Association
UK Cards Association – who are responsible for matters relating to money transmission and payment clearing activities generally in the United Kingdom.
Their remit includes:

  1. BACS Limited, which operates the bulk electronic clearing.
  2. The CHAPS and Town Clearing Company Limited, which operates the high value same-day clearings.
  3. The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Limited, which operates the bulk paper clearings in London.

APACS also oversees the London currency clearings and cheque card and eurocheque schemes.


ECI Electronic Commerce Indicator
A mandatory requirement from card Schemes to distinguish transactions generated through the Internet

An international payment (debit card) scheme launched in 1993 offering issuers the choice of European usage (EDC) or global usage (Maestro).

EFT Electronic Funds Transfer
The technology and practice of making payments by means of functions embodied in computer systems.

Electronic Funds Transfer at the Point of Sale - the technology and practice of making payment for goods and services by means of EFT initiated at the point where the goods or services are purchased.

A Visa International debit card for use in on-line Point of Sale devices. All Electron branded cards are electronic only, zero floor limit cards and are normally not embossed. Participating merchants must meet electronic requirements and display Electron decals.

End of Day
The routine which must be completed on a terminal to enable it to be polled. Depending upon terminal type and configuration parameters, a terminal may be configured to perform the End of Day either automatically or manually.

EPOS Electronic Point of Sale
A point of sale equipped with electronic equipment for pricing and recording transactions but not necessarily incorporating functions for EFT.

ETU Electronic mobile top up
Opportunity for merchants to sell mobile pay as you go top up facilities through existing streamline terminal at no additional cost and earn income via commission on these sales.


Floor Limit
An amount agreed between an acquirer and a merchant for a single transaction over which an authorisation approval must be obtained by the merchant for guarantee of payment subject to compliance with certain conditions.

Forced Authorisation
Where an operator 'forces' a POS terminal to obtain authorisation (either on-line or by voice contact), this is known as forced authorisation. This may simply involve an additional key depression to inform the terminal that authorisation is required. Forced authorisation may be performed by an operator suspicious of the cardholder, the card itself or for any number of reasons.

Fraud Screening
Aimed at Mail Order Telephone Order (MOTO) and E-Commerce merchants. Fraud Screening is an additional service and forms part of the transactions authorisation flow process, prior to authorisation to reduce fraud and prevent chargebacks.

Fuel Card
A special purpose charge card, e.g. Allstar, Esso Chargecard, used mostly by transport drivers to pay for fuel on the road. It saves their having to carry money and reduces their exposure to theft.


Government Procurement Card (GPC)
Same as a VPC but specifically aimed at Government Agencies and Bodies.


A telephone handset which incorporates a 'ringer' but not necessarily a keypad.


Integrated System
A terminal, which operates in conjunction with another device e.g. an electronic cash register, or is part of a network of terminals.

The financial institution that supplies customers with credit and/or debit cards for their personal/­company use.


JCB Japan Credit Bureau
An issuer of the JCB Card, the leading Japanese travel and entertainment card, accepted in over 100 countries worldwide.


Level 1 Supplier
VISA Capable Suppliers (accept Purchasing Cards but are non-VAT enabled otherwise referred to as NVE supplier).

Level 2 Supplier
VAT Capable Suppliers (accept Purchasing Cards and provide the facility for a customer reference code and summarised VAT total).

Level 3 Supplier
VAT Capable Supplier with Line Item Detail (accept Purchasing Cards as VAT capable suppliers but in addition they will provide Line Item Detail descriptions for the goods / services provided with individual VAT amounts).

LID Line Item Detail
The auxiliary data attached to a purchase card transaction to qualify for VAT certification in place of an invoice (UK).
Low Value Goods (LVG)

Typical commodities bought using a Purchasing Card would be LVG (eg: stationery).

Line Item Detail (LID)
Suppliers with LID capabilities have software installed at their premises that will provide an individual line of detail for every commodity purchased.


Maestro (Domestic) Card
A debit card issued by a card issuer, which meets the Maestro (Domestic) Card Scheme standards and contains a Maestro (Domestic) Switch logo.

Management Information (MI)
Reports and expenditure analysis for monitoring your purchasing card spend.

Maestro (Domestic) Card Scheme
An electronic debit card scheme through which Maestro (Domestic) cards issued by all card issuers can be used in merchant terminals approved by acquirers to make payment for goods and/or services.

Mag Stripe
Contains magnetically encoded information relevant to the cardholder and is affixed to back of a card.

An international payments system organisation controlled by its members.

A business, which accepts, cards and provides goods and/or services and possibly other facilities to cardholders.

Merchant Terminal
An EPOS or EFTPOS terminal. It includes a controller or device to which the terminal is connected and to whose data the terminal has access.

Merchant Service Charge
A charge paid by a merchant to their acquirer, calculated as a percentage of turnover or fixed charge per transaction or a combination of both. Usually credit cards are charged on turnover and debit cards on transactions

The Merchant Identification Number with the bank acquirer.

MOTO (Mail Order Telephone Order)
Where a Merchants takes an order and card details over the telephone or by post.

A payment card which fulfils two or more roles, e.g. credit or debit card, cheque guarantee and ATM card.


Off-line Authorisation
This refers to a transaction that is approved or declined at a merchant terminal where there is no on-line dialogue with the acquirer.

Off-line Terminal
A merchant terminal where successfully completed credit and debit card transactions are stored securely within the terminal for periodic electronic delivery to the outlet's acquirer.

This term is used to define a connection or data transmission via a data communication link.

On-line Authorisation
This refers to a transaction that is approved or declined by a card issuer or an acquirer on behalf of a card issuer. The authorisation process includes an on-line dialogue between the merchant terminal and the acquirer's host system.

On-line Terminal
A merchant terminal, which normally generates an on-line authorisation request for each transaction and where data capture of a transaction by an outlet’s acquirer, occurs during on-line authorisation processing.

A grouping of EFTPOS/EPOS terminals in one location, all operated by the same legal entity and using the same delivery and control mechanisms.


PAN Primary Account Number
The cardholder number (up to nineteen digits) which is embossed on a card and encoded on the card's magnetic stripe and usually, although not invariably, embossed on the front of the card.

PAN Key Entry (PKE)
A service which may be provided at a merchant terminal where card details embossed on a card are keyed into the terminal instead of the terminal reading the card's magnetic stripe.

Payment Card
A generic term for any plastic card (credit, debit, charge etc) which may be used on its own to pay for goods and services, or to withdraw cash.

Payment Service Provider

PIN Personal (Identification) Number
A set of characters, usually a four-digit sequence, used to authenticate cash withdrawals or instructions initiated by a payment card through a customer-activated terminal such as an ATM.

A tamper resistant device featuring a keypad with which a cardholder may enter their personal number (PIN).

PIN Verification
A means of cardholder verification in which PIN checking is performed at card acquirer or card issuer

The collection of data stored in a terminal by a central computer or polling service

POS Point of Sale (Service)
The physical location at which a merchant terminal is sited and where card transactions are conducted.

POT Predominantly Off-line Terminal
A merchant terminal on which above floor limit, and certain below floor limit, transactions normally result in electronic authorisation requests being sent to the outlet's acquirer.

An authorisation transaction intended to be followed by a separate financial transaction within a specific time interval. Pre-authorisations are used primarily in situations where the cardholder/­merchant wishes to obtain advance approval or verification that sufficient funds are available to make a subsequent purchase using a payment card. Generally restricted by card schemes to Hotel and Car Hire sectors.

Processing Day
Settlement Transactions performed by a merchant during non-banking days (i.e. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays) are consolidated with the transactions performed during the nearest immediately preceding banking day to produce single credits per card scheme. (MasterCard/­Visa credits are merged for NatWest acquired merchants.) Processing Day Settlement is available for all terminal types and data delivery methods.

Purchasing Card
A card issued to employees of major corporates to facilitate corporate purchases to reduce administration costs. Merchants may be asked by their customers to become VAT accredited which means that the merchant in addition to the transaction amount will enter either Summary or Line Item VAT information into their terminal or computer software. This transaction is accredited by HM Customs & Excise and in many cases eliminates the need for the supplier to issue a VAT invoice

PWCB- Purchase with Cash Back
An optional transaction type within the Maestro (Domestic) previously Switch and Delta card schemes where a merchant may, with the approval of its acquirer, allow a cardholder to draw cash up to a limit agreed with its acquirer (but maximum £50) within a standard sale transaction. Also known as 'Cash Back'.


The method by which a merchant compares the business undertaken at his electronic data capture terminal with that recorded by the acquirer and credited to his bank account.

Response Time
The time taken for a terminal to obtain a reply from a remote computer system.

Restaurant Configuration
A facility, which may be configured into certain EFTPOS, which enables the merchant to enter a gratuity after a transaction, has been completed at the terminal.

RFI Request for Further Information
A request by either the card issuer or cardholder wishing to obtain further information about a particular transaction.


A transfer of funds to complete one or more transactions.

A shift refers to transactions produced at a single terminal or outlet. A shift may cover any number of periods during a day (subject to a terminal's capacity for storing separate shifts) or may be equal to a day.

The Mastercard equivalent of VbV (Now also known as MasterCard SecureCode).

Signature Verification
Checking a person's identity by comparing his/her signature with a previously supplied specimen. To date, this has been done almost entirely manually but electronic signature verification systems are beginning to appear

Streamline ID
The Streamline outlet identifier. It is an eight-digit number

A card is swiped when it is passed through an electronic POS terminal and the magnetic stripe is read.


A device, which allows a user to send data to, receive data from and invoke the functions of a remote computer system.

Textphones consist of a keyboard and small display. People with hearing and/or speech impairments may find it difficult or impossible to use a standard telephone. For these people a textphone may be useful as they can type their conversation and this can be read by a similar textphone, over a telephone line. Both incoming and outgoing conversations appear on the screen.

TID Terminal Identification Number
A unique identification given to a terminal. The first part is registered with APACS to identify manufacturer/­merchant/ supplier.

People with hearing and / or speech impairments may find it difficult or impossible to use a standard telephone. Typetalk enables these people to make contact with standard telephone numbers by using their own textphone. They do this by entering a Typetalk prefix in front of the standard telephone number and this routes the call via the Typetalk operator who acts as an intermediary between the textphone user and the speaking person.


The process within a merchant terminal, which checks whether or not the card being used for a transaction is valid, according to that card scheme's Functional Specification(s).

Value Added Tax (VAT)
Tax that is added to each commodity at the appropriate rate depending on the commodity purchased.

VbV "Verified by Visa"
A methodology introduced by the Card Scheme and Banks to provide an additional, secure cardholder verification process prior to an Internet transaction proceeding.

Visa Global Invoice Specification.

An international payment systems organisation controlled by its members.

Visa Purchasing Card (VPC)
Charge card commonly used for low value, high volume transactions.

Voice Authorisation
Authorisation by means of communication between merchant and Authorisation Centre by normal telephone.

Voice Referral
The procedure which may follow an authorisation request where the merchant is requested to contact its acquirer for further instructions or the communication of further information about the cardholder or transaction.