The payment industry is full of acronyms and jargon - making some things sound much more complicated than it should. We've included below a summary of the most-used jargon, and its meanings.
AVS – Address Verification System
A security method used for Customer Not Present keyed transactions to help reduce fraud. This
method confirms the house number and numbers from the postcode of the cardholder’s registered
address. (Not applicable on international cards.)
The store of transaction totals in the terminal.
Internet. Broadband systems are typified by being always connected and having faster connection
speeds than dial-up. The most popular kinds of broadband include ADSL (Asymmetric Digital
Subscriber Line) and Cable.
Card Security Code (also known as CVV, CV2, CVC, CVVC and CSC). This is usually used for keyed
transactions to reduce fraud. The CVV2 code is a 3 digit number found on the signature stripe, or for
American Express, a four digit code on the front of the card.
Cashback or PWCB
A value-add service which allows you to debit a cardholder’s debit card and hand over the equivalent
value in cash.
The ability of a terminal to revert to the dial mode of communication in the event of an IP/Ethernet
connection being unavailable.
DHCP – Dynamic Host Control Protocol
A system where IP Addresses are assigned to networked equipment automatically.
A device that improves the quality of an ADSL (broadband) enabled telephone line by separating
data and voice signal frequencies.
The procedure whereby the terminal checks the totals it has stored in its Batch with the totals stored
at your acquirer.
A standard used to physically connect devices together. Networking protocols such as IP can be used
over Ethernet connected equipment.
GPRS – General Packet Radio Service
This is a method of communicating data via the mobile phone network.
IP – Internet Protocol
A method whereby data is transmitted over networks such as the Internet (may also be expressed as
A number represented in the form XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX which identifies a device on the Internet (for
example: 126.96.36.199). These numbers are the networking equivalent of telephone numbers.
MAC address – Media Access Control address
An individual address given to every piece, of Ethernet networking equipment. This address is always
marked on Spire Payments equipment containing such an address. Do not confuse with Message
Authentication Certificate: a certificate used in the UKCA Standard 70 message protocol.
MID – Merchant Identification
A 7-16 digit number assigned by your bank to identify a merchant. Often abbreviated to MID.
Additional card schemes may have separate MIDs.
PABX – Private Automatic Branch eXchange.
Usually found as part of a larger telephone system, requiring the user to press a number on their
telephone to make an external call.
PCI DSS Compliance
Payment Card Industry compliances proves as a business you are not storing customer card data. You're either PCI DSS non-compliant or compliant. DSS stands for Data Security Standards (usually it's shortened to just PCI).
PIN – Personal Identification Number
This is usually a 4-digit number entered at the point of sale to validate the cardholder.
A number representing a service at a particular IP address
Terminal ID (TID)
A unique number assigned to each terminal.
UKCA – UK Cards Association
The organisation defining the rules and standard for the operation of most Point of Sales equipment
in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Formerly known as Association for Payment Clearing Services
Wi-Fi access point
A device that allows a Wi-Fi terminal to connect to a host or acquirer. The access point can
communicate with an external network either via dial or network communications.
A wireless method of short range communication usually found in handheld devices.