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Glossary of Terms


The acquirer is the financial institution that accepts payments for the products or services on behalf of a merchant.

Address Verification System (AVS)

Also known as Address Verification Service, this system verifies the credit cardholder's billing address to ensure validity of the information entered. It is used to minimize fraud and is supported by Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

B2B (Business to Business)

B2B (Business to Business) refers to the exchange of goods or services between businesses.

B2C (Business to Consumer)

B2C (Business to Consumer) refers to the exchange of goods or services between merchant and end consumer.


The total amount of all credit card transactions awaiting settlement, i.e. waiting to be transferred into the merchant's bank account.

Card Issuer

An issuer is the financial institution that lends money to the cardholder. It is also referred to as the cardholder's financial institution.


A credit card transaction in which the card is not physically present. It can refer to accepting credit cards via the Internet, by fax, mail, or telephone.


A situation where a buyer asks their credit card company to reverse a transaction that has already been approved. See our guide on how to stop chargebacks.


E-Commerce, or Electronic Commerce, refers to the buying and selling of products or services online via the Internet or using other electronic means.

Interchange Rate

A fee that the acquiring bank pays to the issuing bank during a transaction (that uses the MasterCard or Visa network).

Merchant Account

An account that is opened through a bank or a credit processing company that allows a business to accept and process credit cards from purchasers.


Mail Order/Telephone Order. Credit card transactions that take place via e-mail, fax, mail or telephone. All of these are transactions that take place where no physical credit card is present during the transaction, referred to as "card-not-present" transactions.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS)

A strict guideline to help payment processing organizations prevent credit card fraud, hacking and various other security vulnerabilities and threats.


The company that acts as an intermediary between the Authorization Request from a Point-of-Sale device and Visa or Master Card. The Processor manages the Fund Settlement to the merchant.

Real-Time Processing

A process whereby the customer's credit card is authorized and charged at the exact time of purchase.

Retrieval Request

A retrieval request happens when a customer contacts their issuing bank and requests more information about a transaction that appears on their credit card statement. View our list of retrieval request codes.


Settlement occurs when the credit cardholders' funds are transferred between the card issuing bank and merchant acquiring bank. Put simply, money is exchanged from the customer to the merchant, to complete a purchase transaction.

Shopping Cart

A shopping cart is a software solution that runs on a merchant web site or online store, allowing customers to add or delete items for purchase. Items in the shopping cart can then be paid for using a credit card during the online checkout process. View our list of compatible online shopping carts.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)

SSL is a secure web protocol used for encrypting data between the web browser and web server so that a third-party cannot intercept the credit card information. Merchants must purchase an SSL Certificate in order to provide secure acceptance of credit cards via their web site or online store. For assistance in purchasing or setting up an SSL Certificate, please contact one of our merchant support specialists at 1 866 883-1494.

Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal is an application that allows merchants to manually key in customers' credit card information. The information is then securely transmitted and authorized by the payment gateway. For more information, see our section on virtual terminals.