Credit Card Processor & FinTech Industry Terms to Know

As a business owner, there are countless responsibilities you have. Depending on the size of your company, you may work directly with a credit card processor or have someone on your team who does. In order to help maximize efficiencies and better communicate with your card processor company to ensure all your payment needs are being met, it can be helpful to understand the following industry terms.

PCI Compliance

In short, PCI compliance helps keep merchant accounts secure. More specifically, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) defines PCI compliance as an information standard for how organizations are to handle branded debit and credit cards.

Organizations such as Priority Payment Systems Local work with merchants to help get their accounts PCI compliant. The card brands (American Express, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard for example) mandate the PCI standard but the Council administers it. As part of becoming PCI compliant, security validation that helps to reduce credit card fraud is required to be completed on an annual or quarterly basis.

ControlScan PCI

ControlScan is our fintech partner behind PCI compliance; the managed security service provider brains behind PCI compliance. If you don’t have an in house security team, don’t worry; ControlScan becomes your team helping you to predict, protect, and defend against the latest security threats.

Payment Processing Network, Bankcard Networks

These two terms are typically used in reference to American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, making up the four major networks and key players that determine where credit cards and debit cards are accepted.

Net Zero Payment Processing / Zero Processing Fees

These two terms are exactly what they sound like: merchants pay net zero payment processing fees to process credit cards. The terms are part of the program we launched here at Priority Payments Local™, the Net Zero Processing Fees program. Surrounding this program, the term zero fee processing is also used interchangeably; zero fee processing is just another term used to refer to our Net Zero Processing Fees™ program.

Cash Discount Credit Card Processing

The term cash discount credit card processing also works hand in hand with our Net Zero program. Net Zero offers one of two program structures:

Option 1: True Cash Discount (Also Referred to as Cash Discounting)

Your customers are aware of the program in part due to the complimentary signage we provided at sign up (which you have clearly displayed where payments are accepted). They are also aware of the program from your price lists or menus (in the food and beverage industry). If your customers pay by cash, they pay the posted discount price.

Option 2: Surcharging

Surcharging adds a fee to a product or service. This way to process payments is currently available in most states including in New Jersey.

Two additional terms within this category that we get asked about have similar meanings:

Cash discount program ISO. A cash discount program offered by an independent credit card processor known as an ISO. ISO stands for independent sales office.

Cash discount program credit card processing. All cash discounting programs offer the option to add a service fee to transactions that are paid for using a credit card while also being offered a discount when cash is tendered.

ISO Payment Processing

Payment processing performed by the independent sales office (ISO) payment processing company.

Net 0 Payment Terms

Net 0 payments terms or net zero payments terms, alternatively written has nothing to do with a net zero payment processing program. Instead, Net 0 payment terms refer to payment terms between the amount of time you would like your customers to pay the invoices you send them. Net 0 is not actually proper but is a term that some merchants need clarification on. Net 30 or Net 60 terms are however proper.

Net 30 payment terms. You expect your customers to pay your invoice in full within 30 days of the invoice date.

Net 60 payment terms. You expect your customers to pay your invoice in full within 60 days of the invoice date.

EMV, EMV Chip, and Smart Payment Cards

EMV refers to the technical standards for smart payment cards, payment terminal machines, and automated teller machines. The term EMV is talked about in reference to EMV chip and smart payment cards.

Experian perfectly defines EMV chip as the small, square computer chip that likely appears on one or more of your credit and debit cards and they are the reason you’re more likely to “dip” than “swipe” at the register these days. EMV (which stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa respectively) chips are able to create a unique transaction code for each purchase their introduction was intended to protect people against some types of fraudulent activity.

To determine if you or your customers have this payment technology, look for this universal contactless symbol on cards.

contactless payments symbol

EMV, EMV Chip, and Smart Payment Cards

Like its name suggests, keyed in card processing is when payment transactions are keyed into a payment processor instead of being swiped or taped. Keyed in credit card processing transactions or not advisable partly due to the risk of human error that comes with doing so. In addition, transactions that are not keyed in present less risk for merchants.

Credit Card Processing Sales

The act of processing sales using a credit card as a form of payment.

Specialty Credit Card Processing

This is a term that credit card processors use to classify certain industries such as:

  • Supermarkets
  • Quick pay services
  • Automated fuel dispensers
  • Emerging markets
  • Utilities


Address verification. A credit card processor may ask you to provide an AVS to confirm that your select customers own their credit card or debit card as stated for security purposes.


Merchant identification number. When your payment processing account is boarded, you are assigned a MID. A MID is one piece of information that your payment processing company will use to identify your account.


Mail order telephone. A type of payment that is made either via the mail or by phone.


A term used when a customer disputes a transaction by initiating a procedure to get their money back. At Priority Payments Local, we monitor chargebacks and work with merchants firstly to ensure reduce their likelihood for happening, and secondly, help fight them if and when they do happen.

Further Credit Card Processor Terminology Reading

Additional questions we get asked about often surround NFC payments and payment processing equipment. Due to the wide range of terminology around these credit card processing industry topics, we are putting together separate guides. In the meantime, check out:

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