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  • ABA Routing Number

    A unique, nine-digit number assigned to each banking institution, used to identify the bank and direct ACH debits and credits. The ABA routing number is usually found at the bottom of a personal or business check.

  • ACH

    Automated Clearing House - group of processing institutions linked by a computer network to process electronic payment transactions between financial institutions.

  • APIs

    Application Programming Interface (API)s is a set of programming protocols used to integrate payment processors with merchant websites for online payment processing.

  • Account Updater

    A service offered by best-in-class payment processors that provides updated customer account information from the card networks.

  • Accounts Receivable Conversion (ARC)

    An electronic debit created from a consumer check processed in a lockbox, drop box or other payment receivable processing environment.

  • Acquirer, Acquiring Bank

    A financial institution that is a member of Visa® and/or MasterCard® and maintains the merchant credit card processing relationship. The acquirer receives all transactions from the merchant to be distributed to the issuing banks.

  • Activation Fee

    A one-time fee paid for initiation of a subscription billing service.

  • Address Verification Service (AVS)

    A service supported by Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express® that verifies the cardholder's billing address against the one on file with the issuer. AVS is designed to help combat fraud in non-face-to-face transactions.

  • Amendment

    A change made to a contract or subscription, such as a change in product or edition (e.g. upgrade or downgrade), number of users, payment terms, or a contract renewal.

  • Application Service Provider (ASP)

    An organization that hosts software applications on its own servers within its own facilities. Customers access the application via private lines or the Internet. Also called a "commercial service provider" (CSP).

  • Approval Response

    An affirmative reply following a transaction authorization request.

  • Arbitration

    A procedure used by an acquirer on behalf of the merchant to resolve a chargeback-related dispute with a card issuer.

  • Association

    MasterCard International, Visa U.S.A. or Visa International, which are licensing regulatory agencies for bank card activities.

  • Authorization

    The process by which a transaction is approved by the issuer, or by Visa/MasterCard on behalf of the issuer. Permission is given to (or denied) the merchant, via the acquirer, to accept a specific transaction from the cardholder account. An authorization indicates only that the card is valid and that sufficient funds are available on the cardholder's credit limit at the time the request is made.

  • Authorization Approval Code

    The numerical code designated by the issuer, assigned to a sales transaction as verification that the sale is authorized.

  • Authorization Only (Auth Only)

    Used to reserve an amount against a credit card's available credit limit for intended purchases. Authorization Only is most frequently used in the lodging (check-in), restaurant (tab) and car rental (pick-up) industries, where an approval is received for an estimated amount prior to the finalization of the charge amount.

  • Authorization Request

    A merchant's request for an authorization to accept a cardholder's sales transaction. An authorization request can occur electronically via a credit card processing terminal or via telephone as a voice authorization.

  • Auto Representment

    Automatically sending information to resolve a chargeback on a merchant's behalf without the need for merchant intervention.

  • Average Customer Lifetime Value (ACLV)

    Average customer lifetime value (ACLV) is the total recurring charges fees for subscription billing. It is an important measurement for subscription or recurring revenue based businesses. In a subscription context, ACLV is the product of the average customer duration and the amount charged on a recurring basis: (average customer duration) x (amount charged) = ACLV. Increasing the average customer lifetime by just a few months can lead to significantly higher ongoing revenue streams.

    Many subscription businesses focus customer acquisition efforts around optimizing the conversion rate, especially if they offer a free trial or provide a freemium offering. They then rate their various marketing campaigns and activities around that metric. For example, if webinars drive the highest conversion rates, they will pour more money into developing additional webinars.

    However, a better approach is to focus business activities around maximizing ACLV. To identify long-term profitable customers and thereby maximize ACLV, acquisition, conversion and retention metrics should be viewed together versus in isolation.

  • Average Ticket

    The average dollar amount of sale for credit card transactions.

  • Back-End Network

    The settlement provider responsible for finalizing transactions, routing payment to a merchant's account and generating statements.

  • Balance Sheet

    A financial statement that lists assets, liabilities and net worth as of a specific date.

  • Bank Card

    A card issued by a banking institution with a MasterCard, Visa or American Express brand.

  • Bank Identification Number (BIN)

    A unique series of numbers assigned by Visa/MasterCard to a member institution, which identifies that institution in transaction processing. The BIN comprises the first six digits of a standard credit card number.

  • Batch

    A group of approved credit card transactions, usually accumulated during one business day.

  • Batch Deposit

    The electronic depositing of a batch file transmitted to the transaction processor for settlement.

  • Batch Processing

    The authorization of transactions offline when immediate approval is not required. Transactions are collected in a batch and sent as one transmission for authorization and/or settlement.

  • Bill Run

    Automated subscription billing based on pre-defined conditions, such as the date, specific customer data, amount of payment etc.

  • Billing in Advance

    Charges for services provided at a later date.

  • Billing in Arrears

    Charges for services delivered in the past or in a previous billing period.

  • Bisynchronous Communication

    A communication method that transmits continuously with no start and stop between the information bytes.

  • Booking

    In a subscription or SaaS company, calculated as the sum or all charges on an order, including recurring charges, one-time fees, and service fees in a given contract period. Bookings is an operational metric used to track the performance of a subscription business.

  • Browser

    A software application used to locate and display Web pages.

  • CCD

    A credit or debit entry, initiated by a merchant, to consolidate funds of that organization from its branches, franchises or agents, or from other organizations; or to fund the accounts of its branches, franchises or agents or of another organization.

  • CVC2

    Card Validation Code - MasterCard term for the three-digit code printed next to the card number in the signature panel and used as part of the authorization process.

  • CVV2

    Card Verification Value - Visa term for the three-digit code printed next to the card number in the signature panel and used as part of the authorization process.

  • Capture

    Receiving and storing transaction data at the processor's host computer, to be submitted later for processing and payment.

  • Card Identification Number/Card Identifier (CID)

    An American Express and Discover verification process that utilizes a non-embossed three- or four-digit number printed when authorizing credit card transactions where the physical card is not present. On American Express cards, the CID is a four-digit code printed on the front of the card. On Discover cards, the CID is a three-digit code printed next to the card number in the signature panel.

  • Card Present

    A type of transaction in which the card is present and is swiped through an electronic device that reads the contents of the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.

  • Card Reader

    Input device on a card terminal that translates the information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of a card.

  • Card-Not-Present

    A type of card transaction in which the card is not present at the point of sale for the magnetic stripe to be read.

  • Cardholder

    The person to whom a payment card is issued, or an additional person authorized by the original cardholder to use the card.

  • Cardholder Account Number

    A sequence of numbers assigned specifically to a cardholder account that also identifies the issuer and type of payment card. The cardholder account number is the embossed number imprinted on the payment card.

  • Cardholder-Initiated Chargeback

    A chargeback that results when a cardholder contacts the card issuer and refuses to accept a charge appearing on a monthly billing statement. A cardholder has 90 days to initiate a chargeback.

  • Cash Advance

    A transaction in which a cardholder obtains cash in person at the branch of a member financial institution or ATM. This is the only method of receiving cash from a credit card that is approved by the payment brands.

  • Chargeback

    A challenge to a transaction initiated by the issuer or cardholder that is returned to the acquirer for resolution.

  • Chargeback Fee

    The amount assessed by the acquirer for processing chargebacks.

  • Chargeback Reason Code

    A numerical code that identifies the specific reason for a chargeback. MasterCard and Visa each have their own chargeback codes.

  • Check Card

    A bank card that can be used with a PIN at an ATM or without a PIN at the point of sale, also known as an offline debit card. When used at the point of sale, the transaction is processed through interchange as a credit card transaction with the funds debited from the cardholder's checking account.

  • Check Digit Verification (MOD-10 check)

    A check digit is the last position of a card account number, generated from an algorithm performed on a primary card account number. Verification of this number is referred to as a MOD-10 check and is used to validate a credit card number.

  • Churn

    Churn is a key measure of customer attrition. Subscription churn is calculated as the number of customers who discontinue the subscription service during a specified time period, divided by the total number of customers at the start of that period. Subscription churn is an operational metric used to gauge the overall health of a subscription business. Subscription churn is measured in units or dollars.

    Subscription churn

    There are two different types of subscription churn:

    • Active subscriber churn: This measures the active attrition rate of subscribers. When subscribers purposely cancel their subscription or recurring service because they no longer want it, that is called active subscriber churn.
    • Passive subscriber churn or involuntary churn: When a subscriber wants to stay with the subscription service but cannot do so, that is called passive subscriber churn or involuntary churn.

    Billing problems are by far the leading cause of passive subscription churn. The recurring transaction for the subscription fails. Problems can include expired cards, exceeded limits, cards temporarily blocked, and more. When a transaction fails, the payment processor usually returns a code indicating the reason.

  • Ciphertext

    The encrypted text of a message, which may be decrypted only by someone who has the correct key.

  • Close

    Sending a merchant's completed transactions to the host for processing. (See also "Settlement")

  • Close Rate

    Sales terminology for the percent of sales prospects which result in actual paying business.

  • Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet (See also "SaaS").

  • Contract Effective Date

    Represents the date from which the contract terms take effect. The date also can determine when certain charges can be billed to the customer, and often coincides with the start of the subscription term.

  • Conversion Rate

    Calculated as the percentage of users whose status changes, e.g from an Internet search to a click on a link or paid ad; from a website visitor to a known lead (through completion of a web form or inbound contact); from a free trial or free product user to a paid susbcriber, etc. Subscription businesses depend upon known conversion rates to monitor the health of their business and to predict future pipeline and revenue.

  • Counterfeit Card

    A plastic card that has been fraudulently printed, embossed or encoded to appear to be a genuine bank card, but which has not been issued by an appropriate issuing member. It could also be a card which was originally issued by a member, but was subsequently altered without the issuer's knowledge or consent.

  • Coupon/Promo Code

    Coupon or promo codes are used by subscription businesses to provide prospects with specialized pricing as an incentive to sign up. They are also used to track the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns.

  • Credit

    A refund or price adjustment given for a previous purchase.

  • Credit Card

    A plastic card with a credit limit used to purchase goods and services and to obtain cash advances on credit. The cardholder is then billed by the issuer for repayment of the credit extended.

  • Credit Slip

    A form stating a refund or price adjustment will be credited to a cardholder account. Also referred to as a credit voucher or credit draft.

  • Cryptography

    The process of protecting information by transforming it into an unreadable format. The information is encrypted using a "key" that makes the data unreadable. It is later decrypted, making the information readable again.

  • Customer Acceptance Date

    Date from which the customer has accepted the delivery of the subscription or change order associated with the subscription billing.

  • DBA

    Doing Business As - the name a business uses to operate.

  • Dashboard

    A graphical representation of key business metrics such as MRR (hyperlink to each key metric), ACLV/TCLV, churn, conversion, close rates, etc. A subscription business dashboard provides a snapshot of the health of the subscription business.

  • Data Encryption

    The scrambling of data so only the intended users can read and understand the encrypted information.

  • Debit Card

    A bank card used to purchase goods and services and to obtain cash, which debits the cardholder's personal checking account. During online debit transactions, the cardholder must enter a PIN.

  • Debit Switch

    A portal that transmits debit data between gateway banks and debit card issuers - also referred to as "Debit Network." Only financial institutions may be members of debit switches.

  • Decline

    A response from the card issuer denying the use of the card for the attempted transaction. If a request for approval is declined, the merchant must ask the cardholder for another form of payment.

  • Demand Deposit Account (DDA)

    A checking account.

  • Digital Certificate

    An encrypted attachment to an electronic message, used for security purposes. The most common use of a digital certificate is to verify that a user sending a message is who he or she claims to be. The receiver is also provided with a way to encode a reply.

  • Direct Response

    Term used to describe a merchant processing primarily non-face-to-face or card-not-present transactions.

  • Discount Rate

    The fees charged by the card acquirer to the merchant for processing payment card transactions.

  • Downgrade

    Change order or amendment to an existing contract whereby the customer chooses a lower service level and is billed a lesser amount for the service.

  • Duality

    The membership of a financial institution in both MasterCard and Visa associations.

  • Due Upon Receipt

    Payment term in which payment is due immediately upon receipt of invoice.

  • ECR

    Electronic Cash Register - a cash register that also emulates a point-of-sale terminal for processing credit card transactions.

  • Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

    The automation of government benefits through electronic authorization, data capture and settlement processes. Plastic cards with magnetic stripes are used, eliminating paper benefits and coupon distribution.

  • Electronic Check Acceptance/ Electronic Check Processing (ECA/ECP)

    Process that converts a paper check into an electronic check at the point of sale. The check is electronically processed through the ACH network.

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

    An electronic system that automatically moves funds, e.g., an ATM withdrawal or pay-by-phone transaction.

  • Electronic Payment

    Any non-paper-based form of payment; e.g. ACH, wire transfer, credit or debit card, PayPal, etc.

  • Encryption

    Method of scrambling data to protect a cardholder's personal information.

  • Entitlement

    License or permission to accept a particular type of payment card or other payment vehicle.

  • Exceeded Timeliness

    A transaction that is deposited too late to qualify for the best interchange rate.

  • Expiration Date

    The embossed date on a bank card. After that date, the card becomes invalid and should no longer be accepted.

  • Factoring

    When a legitimate merchant processes another merchant's transactions in return for payment. This practice is forbidden by the associations.

  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

    A protocol used to transfer files over a TCP/IP network (Internet, UNIX, etc).

  • Financial Institution

    Any organization in the business of moving, investing or lending money, dealing in financial instruments or providing financial services. This includes commercial banks, thrifts, federal and state savings banks, saving and loan associations and credit unions.

  • Fleet Card

    Payment card designed mainly for fueling, maintenance and repairs of corporate motor vehicles. Fleet cards are normally used to provide specialized reporting.

  • Folio

    A number assigned by a lodging merchant for tracking a guest's charges.

  • Force

    The process by which a voice-authorized transaction is key-entered to be settled electronically with a batch of transactions. Also known as a post-auth.

  • Frame Relay

    A TCP/IP link for data that has high transmission speeds, low network delay, high connectivity and efficient bandwidth use.

  • Fraud Investigation

    The process of identifying suspicious merchant or cardholder activity.

  • Free to Play (F2P)

    A gaming-industry term that describes the type of experience in which users can join and play for free with an option to purchase virtual goods or virtual currencies that enhance their game play or social perception.

  • Freemium

    A free service with the option for certain or all customers to upgrade to a paid, premium version with additional capabilities or convenience.

  • Front-End Network

    Network provider responsible for authorizing and capturing transactions and forwarding the information to the back-end network.

  • Gateway

    Manages the electronic connection between consumers and their financial institutions and transmits data.

  • Gift Card

    A reusable, stored-value card that enables merchants to have an electronic alternative to paper gift certificates.

  • Good Faith

    An attempt by a card association member to resolve a dispute with another member in writing. A good-faith attempt at resolution must be made before filing a compliance case.

  • Hard Decline

    A declined authorization attempt resulting from a lost or stolen card, pick-up card, etc. A Code 10 call should be made by the merchant to the authorization center.

  • Hologram

    A laser-created photograph that uses a three-dimensional image that is difficult to duplicate. Used as an anti-counterfeiting measure on many payment cards.

  • Host Capture System (HCS)

    A transaction is transmitted with an authorization request to the host computer at the front end, the information is captured at the host, then sent back to the POS device. Since the information is already stored at the host, it can be settled without the merchant performing a settlement function.

  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

    A digital phone service link capable of supporting up to three types of communication devices simultaneously.

  • Interac

    National debit card network in Canada.

  • Interchange

    The exchange of transaction data between acquiring and issuing institutions.

  • Interchange Fees

    Fees paid by the acquirer to the issuer to compensate for transaction-related costs. MasterCard, Visa, American Express, etc. establish interchange fee rates.

  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)

    An organization that provides access to the Internet.

  • Invoice-to-Collect

    Part of the quote-to-cash process that refers to the collection of payments from the customer, based on an invoice. The process includes invoice creation, collection management and dispute management, if any.

  • Issuer, Issuing Bank

    The financial institution that holds contractual agreements with, and issues cards to, cardholders.

  • Leased Line

    A dedicated telecom connection with either point-to-point or multi-point configuration.

  • Level I Data

    Level I purchasing card data includes the same information captured during a traditional credit card purchase transaction. This includes: total purchase amount, date, merchant category code and supplier/retailer name.

  • Level II Data

    Level II purchasing card data includes the same information captured at Level I, plus the following: sales tax amount, customer's accounting code, merchant's tax ID number, applicable minority-owned and women-owned business status, and sales outlet ZIP code.

  • Level III Data

    Level III purchasing card data includes the same information captured at Levels I and II, plus the following: quantities, product codes, product descriptions, ship to ZIP, freight amount, duty amount, order/ticket number, unit of measure, extended item amount, discount indicator, discount amount, net/gross indicator, tax rate applied, tax type applied, debit or credit indicator and alternate tax identifier.

  • Line of Credit

    The amount of credit a lender will extend to a borrower over a specified period of time.

  • Lockbox

    A service that processes payments by check and credits the appropriate business.

  • MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue)

    Calculates subscription fees normalized to a monthly value. Does not include set up, activation, or overage costs. MRR is a key metric for subscription businesses.

  • Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Number (MICR Number)

    The bank routing and transit, checking account number and check number encoded at the bottom of a check that can be used to authorize the check.

  • Magnetic Stripe

    A panel located on the back of a payment card containing magnetically encoded cardholder account information.

  • MasterCard International Incorporated

    A member-owned international bank card association, governed by a board of directors, which licenses members to issue cards or accept merchant drafts under the MasterCard Program. MasterCard owns and operates its own international processing network.

  • Media

    The documentation of monetary transactions (i.e., sales drafts, credit slips, computer printouts, etc.).

  • Media Retrieval Requests

    Media retrieval is the process of obtaining paper documents from a centralized location. There are two types of media retrieval requests: 1) requests for the sales record from cardholders, and 2) requests for documentation in defense of the chargeback from card issuers.

  • Member

    A financial institution that is a member of Visa and/or MasterCard. A member is licensed to issue cards to cardholders (issuer) and/or accepts merchant drafts (acquirer).

  • Merchant

    Store owner or seller of products.

  • Merchant Agreement

    The written contract between the merchant and acquirer that details their respective rights, responsibilities and warranties.

  • Merchant Bank

    See Acquirer.

  • Merchant Category Code (MCC)

    A universal four-digit merchant classification code that identifies the merchant by type of processing, authorization and settlement. Similar to a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), but more defined.

  • Merchant Discount

    The fee an acquiring member charges the merchant to cover the costs of providing deposit credit and handling credit card sales transactions. See Discount Rate.

  • Merchant Identification (MID) Number

    The identification number assigned to a merchant by the acquirer.

  • Method Of Payment (MOP)

    The way a merchant chooses to accept payment for products or services. Examples include: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, JCB, Electronic Check and private label cards.

  • Microtransaction

    A payment for a small amount of money, also called a micropayment, generally for less than 12 USD. Microtransactions are frequently aggregated together over a period of time or until a certain amount has been reached.


    NACHA develops operating rules and business practices for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network and for electronic payments in the areas of Internet commerce, electronic bill and invoice presentment and payment (EBPP, EIPP), e-checks, financial electronic data interchange (EDI), international payments and electronic benefits services (EBS). Additional Information:

  • Network

    An entire system of communication hardware and software used to transfer electronic information during the authorization and settlement process.

  • No-Show

    A charge to a cardholder account by a lodging merchant if the person either fails to arrive or fails to cancel the guaranteed reservation.

  • Non Face-to-Face Transaction

    Any transaction in which the card is not presented, such as a phone, mail or Internet purchase. See Card-Not-Present.

  • OK Number

    A validation number from the host computer confirming a successful batch deposit.

  • Offer Walls

    Offer walls are advertising offers that users can take advantage of and trade marketing information in return for application currency.

  • Offline Debit

    Debit transaction that occurs when a Visa/MasterCard check card is authorized through the credit card system and the amount is debited from the cardholder's checking (DDA) account.

  • Offline Transaction

    A transaction that is authorized through a voice authorization and later keyed into a POS terminal prior to settlement.

  • Online Transaction

    A transaction that is authorized electronically from the front-end network.

  • Order-to-Cash

    Order-to-cash refers to the process in which a customer places an order, either via a website or through a sales rep, provision of the service, generating a bill or invoice, and finally collecting payment for that bill/invoice. Order-to-cash is a recurring, ongoing process in a subscription business.

  • Overage

    Usage charges incurred when service level included in the rate plan is exceeded.

  • PCI Compliance/PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

  • PPD

    A credit or debit entry, initiated by a merchant, pursuant to a standing, or one time authorization from a consumer, to effect an electronic funds transfer, to or from a consumer's bank account.

  • PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service

    A comprehensive set of services that are delivered over the web including all systems and environments comprising the end-to-end life cycle of developing, testing, deploying and hosting web applications. E.g., Google App Engine, Amazon EC2.

  • Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2)

    PSD2 stands for Payment Services Directive 2. It takes effect on September 14, 2019. This regulation impacts subscription businesses whose acquirer is in the European Union (EU) or acquirer has EU license and which are transacting online with customers' credit card whose issuer is also in the EU. PSD2 applies to all online transactions, including payments made via credit cards and alternative payment methods, subject to certain exemptions (see European Payment Council document for comprehensive details and requirements). While many alternative payment methods may already be PSD2-compliant (e.g., Apple Pay and Google Pay), others may not yet be PSD2 compliant (e.g., PayPal). The main requirement of PSD2 is Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). SCA requires that new subscribers go through a 3DSv2 process when purchasing online. This process serves to verify (or "authenticate") the subscriber’s identity and that they are the valid holder of the credit card they’re using to complete their purchase.

  • Paywall

    A Paywall is an online device that bars Internet users from accessing web site content (most notably news content and scholarly publications) without a paid subscription. There are both “hard” and “soft” paywalls in use. “Hard” paywalls allow minimal to no access to content without a subscription, while “soft” paywalls allow more flexibility in what users can view without subscribing.

  • Personal Identification Number (PIN)

    A numeric code used as verification to complete a transaction via a payment card. The number is entered into a keypad and is encrypted to travel along with the authorization.

  • Pick Up Card

    An issuer's electronic response to an authorization request, asking that the card be retained by the merchant and returned to the issuer.

  • Point-of-Sale (POS)

    The location at which a payment card transaction occurs, usually by way of a device such as a credit card terminal or cash register.

  • Point-of-Sale Terminal (POS Terminal)

    A terminal at the point of sale, connected via telecommunication lines to a central computer. Authorization, recording and transmission of electronic transactions are performed through the terminal.

  • Posting

    The process of recording debits and credits to an account.

  • Prenote

    In the electronic check-processing environment, a non-dollar transaction sent through the ACH network for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of the cardholder's account data.

  • Presentment Currency

    The currency in which a purchase is authorized through Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

  • Private Label Card

    A card issued by a merchant that can only be used in the issuing merchant's business. An example would be a department store credit card.

  • Processing Fees

    The fees associated with the processing of credit card transactions.

  • Processor

    A company responsible for processing interchange transactions - operated by an acquirer or acting on the acquirer's behalf.

  • Protocol

    A set of rules that allow data communications to work.

  • Quote-to-Cash

    Term that refers to the end-to-end business process for creating a quote for a prospect or customer, order management, invoicing and cash receipt.

  • Re-authorization (re-auth, add auth)

    To request an additional amount to be authorized on an existing transaction. Used in the lodging industry when the original authorization is not sufficient to cover the charges.

  • Real Money Trade (RMT)

    A mechanism by which users can convert virtual currencies to physical currency (real money). Before engaging in RMTs that involve currency conversions, be sure to consider and address the legal and fraud issues that might apply.

  • Reason Code

    A two-digit code identifying the reason a chargeback was initiated.

  • Recurring Transaction

    A transaction charged to a cardholder's account (with prior permission) on a periodic basis for recurring goods and services, i.e., health club memberships.

  • Refund

    A refund occurs when the merchant rebates all, or a portion, of an original transaction amount to the cardholder. Refunds are made to the same card that was used for the original transaction. Similar to a Credit.

  • Renewal Rate

    Calculated as the percentage of subscribers scheduled to expire during any one cycle who renew their subscriptions. Renewal rate is a subscription operational metric which reflects overall customer satisfaction. Can be measured on a unit or dollar value basis.

  • Representment

    An attempt to reverse a chargeback initiated by a merchant or acquirer to the issuing bank that presented the chargeback, backed by supporting documentation.

  • Retail Transaction

    A face-to-face transaction in which the cardholder presents a card to the merchant to pay for goods or services.

  • Retrieval Request

    A request by the issuer to the acquirer for a copy of the original sales ticket.

  • Revenue Recognition

    The Revenue recognition principle is a cornerstone of accrual accounting together with matching principle. They both determine the accounting period, in which revenues and expenses are recognized. According to the principle, revenues are recognized when they are (1) realized or realizable, and are (2) earned (usually when goods are transferred or services rendered), no matter when cash is received. In cash accounting - in contrast - revenues are recognized when cash is received no matter when goods or services are sold.

  • Reversal

    When an acquirer successfully represents a chargeback to the issuer, the chargeback is reversed and the funds are returned to the merchant.

  • SAS 70

    International regulatory standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that requires formal reviews on an organization’s control over information technology and related processes.

  • SSAE 16

    Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 is an attestation standard put forth by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that addresses engagements undertaken by a service auditor for reporting on controls at organizations (i.e., service organizations) that provide services to user entities, for which a service organization's controls are likely to be relevant to a user entities internal control over financial reporting (ICFR).

  • SaaS - Software-as-a-Service

    A software delivery model in which a software is provided on a usage, duration, or frequency basis rather than as a one-time license.

  • Sales Transaction Fee

    The amount the financial institution charges a merchant for each sales transaction.

  • Sandbox

    A sandbox is a separate technical environment where customers or prospects can test software or services with a subset of data without disruption to their production environment.

  • Set Up Fee

    Also known as activation fees (hyperlink to activation fees listing), set-up fees are a one time charge levied to cover costs associated with getting a customer up and running on a service.

  • Settlement

    The process in which a merchant transmits batches of transactions to the acquirer. In interchange, it is the process by which acquirers and issuers exchange financial data resulting from sales transactions, cash advances, merchandise credits, etc.

  • Settlement Currency

    The currency in which a merchant receives funds after the completion of a foreign exchange conversion.

  • Shopping Cart

    A shopping cart is a software application that typically runs on the computer where your website is located (the Web server), and allows your customers to do things such as search for a product in your store catalog, add a selected product to a basket, and place an order for it. For many subscription businesses, adding an item to the shopping cart is typically referred to as the “Subscribe Now” or “Order Now” processes where customer profile and payment information is collected to provision the service and commence billing.

  • Sidegrades

    When a user switches to a different, but comparable, product or service offering.

  • Smart Card

    A payment card with a built-in microprocessor (chip) that stores information. Smart cards can be used for stored-value cards, credit cards, loyalty programs and security access.

  • Soft Decline

    A declined authorization attempt that does not necessarily mean the card is bad (i.e., call referral, issuer unavailable or cardholder over limit). These transactions may be resubmitted a day or two later in an attempt to obtain a valid authorization.

  • Software Development Kit (SDK)

    A "kit" that is built to help a developer incorporate software into another program or system.

  • Standard Industrial Code (SIC)

    A universal four-digit code that designates a merchant's industry type. Similar to an MCC code.

  • Stored Value Card

    A stored value card is used by a merchant to issue spending credit to their customers. The merchant's customers are given a magnetic stripe card in exchange for money received, merchandise returned or other considerations. The card represents a dollar value that the merchant's customer can either use or give to another individual. There is no security associated with the card itself. The actual record of the balance on the card is maintained on a stored value card database.

  • Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)

    PSD2 stands for Payment Services Directive 2. It takes effect on September 14, 2019. This regulation impacts subscription businesses whose acquirer is in the European Union (EU) or acquirer has EU license and which are transacting online with customers' credit card whose issuer is also in the EU. PSD2 applies to all online transactions, including payments made via credit cards and alternative payment methods, subject to certain exemptions (see European Payment Council document for comprehensive details and requirements). While many alternative payment methods may already be PSD2-compliant (e.g., Apple Pay and Google Pay), others may not yet be PSD2 compliant (e.g., PayPal). The main requirement of PSD2 is Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). SCA requires that new subscribers go through a 3DSv2 process when purchasing online. This process serves to verify (or "authenticate") the subscriber’s identity and that they are the valid holder of the credit card they’re using to complete their purchase.

  • Submission

    A stored value card is used by a merchant to issue spending credit to their customers. The merchant's customers are given a magnetic stripe card in exchange for money received, merchandise returned or other considerations. The card represents a dollar value that the merchant's customer can either use or give to another individual. There is no security associated with the card itself. The actual record of the balance on the card is maintained on a stored value card database.

  • Submission

    A file sent by the merchant that contains one or more transactions.

  • Summary Adjustment

    A correction to a deposit, made by the acquirer, when there is an error in the submitted deposit.

  • Synchronous

    Communication method that transmits continuously with no stops and start bytes between information bytes.

  • T&E Cards

    Cards that are developed for and used primarily in travel-related services.

  • T&E Merchant

    An airline, car rental company or lodging establishment with a primary function of providing travel-related services.

  • TCLV (Total Customer Lifetime Value)

    Calculates the total recurring charges over the lifetime of a subscription. TCLV is a key performance metric for SaaS or subscription-based businesses. For instance, a three year contract billed annually at $15,000 per year would have a total contract value of $45,000, assuming there are no activation or set up fees.

  • Telemarketing

    Selling goods or services over the phone, for payment by credit card.

  • Terminal Identification Number (TID)

    Number identifying a merchant to the front-end network.

  • The average dollar amount of sale for credit card transactions.

    Business to Business - refers to one business communicating with or selling to another.

  • Tiered pricing

    A common subscription and usage charge model where pricing changes are based on the incremental number of units that are purchased. For instance, 1-5 users may be charged full price and 5-10 users may receive discounted pricing. So if a customer purchases 7 units, only units 6 and 7 are discounted, where the first 5 units are charged at the full price.

  • Track One

    Track One information, stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of a card, has the cardholder's name in addition to the account number and expiration date stored in it.

  • Track Two

    Track Two information, stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of a card, has the account number and expiration date.

  • Transaction

    Any action between a cardholder and a merchant or member that results in activity on the account, such as a purchase, cash advance or credit.

  • Transaction Date

    The actual date on which a transaction occurs.

  • Transaction Fee

    The amount a merchant pays per transaction for processing.

  • Upgrade

    A change order or amendment to an existing contract subscription where a customer chooses a higher service level. This can be a more expensive service offering, or a larger quantity (users, usage-level, etc.).

  • Usage Charge

    Charge associated with actual consumption of a given product or service. This can be measured in terms of time on a site, gigabytes of data, number of reports generated, miles driven, or any other unit of measure.

  • Usage Pricing

    Pricing a service or item based on its consumption or usage, rather than a flat rate for a given service or period of time.

  • Valid Date

    The date embossed on a payment card stating when the card may first be used.

  • Value Added Reseller (VAR)

    A third-party that certifies their software to be used on a processor's system.

  • Virtual Currency

    A type of money in place of physical currency (real money). For example, users can earn virtual currency by signing up for a service, playing a game, or trading real money. In some cases, they can convert virtual currency back to physical currency through RMT.

  • Virtual Goods

    Non-physical objects purchased for use in online communities or online games that generally exist as a database entry only. The value can be functional, social or emotional.

  • Visa USA

    A member-owned national bank card association, governed by a board of directors, which licenses members to issue cards and accept merchant drafts under the Visa Program. MasterCard owns and operates its own international processing network.

  • Volume Pricing

    Subscription billing based on a usage charge model where pricing changes based on the total number of units that are purchased.

  • WEB

    An electronic debit from a consumer's bank account created during a secure Internet session between a company and consumer.

  • Web Store

    A web store or online store is a website where prospects can browse, select, and purchase products or services.

  • Zero Floor Limit

    Requires that all transactions receive authorization.

  • eCommerce

    Electronic Commerce - the sale and purchase of goods or services over the Internet.