A Basic Online Payment Processing Glossary

Address Verification Service (AVS) – A fraud protection service offered through MasterCard and Visa that automatically checks the billing address supplied by a customer against the billing address the credit card company has on file. Once checked, AVS gives merchants a return code that indicates how well the addresses match and it is up to the merchant to assess the risk and decide if they want to allow the purchase.

Batch – A collection of online transactions that are processed as a group, such as orders that are batched for authorization.

Card Authorization – This simply refers to the process of checking for adequate or authorized funds in a cardholder’s account.

Capture – The process of converting the total amount of an authorized transaction into a transaction that can be directly deposited into a retailer’s merchant account.

Charge-back – A charge-back occurs when a customer disputes a transaction and their issuing bank or credit card company forcibly initiates the return of the funds to the customer.

Merchant Account – A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows online merchants to accept credit card payments directly on their website. The account serves as an agreement between the merchant, the bank that supplies the merchant account, online payment software and the payment processor to settle all credit card transactions received on the website.

Third-Party Processors – For merchants that do not qualify or do not want a merchant account, a third-party processor is a company that processes payments (e.g. credit cards) on behalf of a merchant. With most third-party processors, customers are typically forwarded from the merchant’s website to the payment processor’s site to complete the transaction.

Payment Gateway – Used in conjunction with a merchant account, a payment gateway is an online payment processing provider that actually authorizes credit card payments. It is the online equivalent of a credit card swipe machine used in many brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Shopping Cart – Shopping cart software is a system or program that allows online shoppers to select multiple items on a website and purchase them when ready. The software automatically calculates the total price of entire orders for customers. Shopping cart software must be compatible with payment gateway services.

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