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Glossary of Merchant Service Terms

Address Verification System (AVS) Standard with most merchant accounts, this is the system that verifies that the address provided by the customer matches the one on file with the credit card company.

Automatic Check Handling (ACH) A form of electronic payment or e-payment that passes money through a wire transfer or an automated clearinghouse. ACH essentially creates an electronic check so both small value, high volume transactions can be handled with ease. ACH payments usually take 1-2 days to clear.

Credit Card A type of bank card that is accepted worldwide and that allows cardholders to make payments and subsequently reimburse the sponsoring bank.

Chargeback This is what it's called when a customer disputes a transaction made by credit card, either because he or she did not authorize the purchase, or because s/he believes that the product or service was not as promised. Certain industries are especially prone to chargebacks, making them “high risk” according to merchant service providers and usually resulting in higher transaction fees.

Card Verification Value (CVV2) Appearing on the back of most Visas and Master Cards as a three digit number, and appearing on the front of most American Express cards as a four digit number, the CCV2 is used a security measure to reduce credit card fraud and chargebacks for online or MOTO processing.

E-Commerce Also known as electronic commerce, this term is used to described the buying and selling of goods and services using the internet.

Electronic Data Capture This is how data is submitted to merchant service providers through a business' Point of Sale terminal.

Independent Sales Organization (ISO) This is a company that takes a percentage of a business' sales in exchange for processing their credit card transactions online.

Merchant Account An account set up between a business or seller and a company that processes credit card payments, so that the merchant can accept such payments from his or her customers.

Merchant Bank This is the bank that backs the merchant account, depositing its own funds into the merchant's account and then proceeding to collect the money owed from the cc company.

Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO) A commonly used term to describe businesses in which a product or service is ordered by mail or by telephone, as with catalogue orders or telephone solicitations. MOTO is typically seen as a riskier type of payment since the customer is not physically present to sign for his or her purchase.

Monthly Minimum Usually set at $25, a business must accumulate or pay at least this much in fees each month in order to meet his or her contractual obligations with the merchant bank.

Personal Identification Number (PIN) Associated with debit, or ATM cards, customers use this number as a means of security and verification when they pay. A PIN most commonly uses numbers, but can be alphanumeric.

Payment Gateway A code used to connect a client's payment with the merchant bank.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) An encoding method used to protect data being sent through the internet, often required in order to handle payments online.

Shopping Cart Program Software that can be installed on a website, allowing customers to select and set aside items as if in a cart or basket in a brick and mortar store. Some merchant accounts include free shopping cart or basket programs.