3D Secure

The 3D Secure technologies 'Verified by VISA', 'MasterCard SecureCode' and 'SafeKey' by American Express protect online merchants from credit card misuse. This safeguards merchants from chargebacks due to cancellation of transactions following card misuse because they are then no longer liable for the settlements of transactions with Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Acceptance point

Companies which accept payment by a card (debit card and/or credit card).


An acquirer is a company which serves as an acceptance point for credit card payments (e.g. from stores, hotels, restaurants, auto rental and airlines). Acquirers require a licence from the appropriate card organisation to carry out their activities.

Account Information Security (AIS)

VISA's data security program. Certification is required, merchants must use a PSP (payment service provider) or acquire this themselves. The merchant is instructed to treat the cardholder's data in a secure environment, usually within that of the PSP (data protection).

Accounting period

Fixed period in which turnover made by a merchant or service company is accounted.


'Agent' can be used as a synonym for a webmaster who does not bill for his own services through SWISSgate, but rather advertises services in order to collect a commission payment on sales.


Verification of the authenticity of a transaction. This can include, for example, a check of criteria such as the card's validity period, the accuracy of the card number, the accuracy of the PIN, and compliance with total payments limits for each month/week.

CC number

Abbreviation for contracting company number  This can be used to clearly allocate each payment to a company which accepts credit cards. Merchants do not require their own CC number when billing through SWISSgate.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

The Common Gateway Interface is a general interface for data exchange between a web server and third-party software, such as Perl. For example, Perl scripts can be executed via this interface.


In this case, a customer and/or a bank contests the validity of a completed card payment; the money must be repaid.

Co-branded card

A card issued by a credit card organisation or one of its authorised banks together with a commercial company not in the banking industry; the card is specially customised to the needs of the company's customers.


The share of revenue for services provided through SWISSgate.


In the online payment sector, 'content' means the content of internet pages, such as text, pictures and videos which are provided against a fee.


Coupons are an incentive tool used in advertising; the idea originated in the 1950s and 1960s and has been revived today. Customers are given discounts on presentation of a coupon. Merchants can use coupons to positively influence consumer behaviour.


A credit can either be of a financial type or in the form of additional access time to a service, assuming that the customer was unable to use it for a certain period of time.


A transaction in which the amount payable is cancelled or returned.

Card issuer

Institute issuing a card, such as a bank


Person in whose name a credit or debit card is issued.

Card verification number

The 'card verification number' is on the back of the credit card in the signature field in the case of MasterCard and VISA cards, and on the front of the card in the case of American Express. It consists of 3 or 4 numbers which are listed after the actual card number (see also CVC2 and CVV2).


This is an abbreviation for 'credit card transaction', i.e. the payment of a transaction using a credit card.

Credit card

Card issued with an agreed credit limit by a card issuers. Payment from the cardholder is delayed (to a defined point in time) for all payments made between two billing cycles.

Credit card companies

Companies that own the rights to credit card brands and operate international networks for the distribution of credit cards (e.g. MasterCard International, Visa International, American Express, Diners Club International).

Credit card payment

When a credit card is used for payment on the internet, the data is transmitted to the appropriate credit card company and immediately checked for validity and the payment will be accepted or declined. For the amount authorized in this manner, the merchant can initiate a debit (capture) at a later date, so that the card will be charged and the money flows to the merchant.

Credit information file

Acquirers retain the right to conduct credit checks and obtain information through commercial and credit agencies and other organisations, including the verification programs employed by the MasterCard/VISA brands (NMAS and MATCH) and any future such systems, and to use this information accordingly.


The contractual partner agrees not to submit transactions/sales obtained through mail order/telephone order/remote sales and/or e-commerce using other contractor numbers (e.g. retail contracts) for the distribution of revenues. Furthermore, it is necessary to separate the areas of mail order/telephone order/remote sales from the e-commerce area because of the different clearing paths. Violation of the agreement entitles the acquirer i.a. to terminate the contract without notice.

CVC2 (Card Validation Code)

Three-digit card verification code on the back of MasterCard credit cards.

CVV2 (Card Verification Value)

Three-digit verification code on the back of VISA credit cards.


DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) offers your customers from non-euro countries the opportunity to pay in their home currency. DCC makes it possible to convert the respective euro invoice amount to (at present) six currencies: US Dollars, British Punds, Swiss Franks, Danish Kroner, Swedish Kroner and Japanese Yen.

Debit card

Payment card which has a credit limit and with which a cardholder can pay for goods or services through an electronic cash register. When payment is made using a debit card, the amount is charged to the customer's account directly or at latest after a few workdays. This is thus often referred to a 'pay now' method.


Decryption of encrypted data.


The revenue-based commission in the credit card sector that, for example, an acceptance point (merchant) pays to an acquirer.


Short for electronic business (e-commerce); all digitally transacted business processes (usually on the internet or intranet).


Electronic business which is transacted directly on the internet between suppliers and customers. E-commerce is a form of e-business.


Electronic payments

E-payment system

System for electronic payment of wares or services over the Internet.

Electronic cash

System used by the German banking industry that enables customers to pay merchants and service providers electronically. Online authorisation and entry of a PIN are always required in this system. The merchant receives a payment guarantee from the card issuing bank for all transactions.

ELV (electronic cheques)

Electronic cheques automatically take the invoice amount by direct debit from the customer's bank account.


This is used to personalise credit cards. The characters on a card are marked in such a way that they are raised above the surface of the card. This is called 'embossing'.


Developed by the card issuers Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and from 2005 an obligatory security standard for credit and debit card payments that provides for the changeover from magnet strip to chip cards. EMV/ep2 involves reading the card data from tamper-resistant chips and not magnetic strips. This obligatory international standard for credit and debit payments is intended to reduce misuse.


Frequently Asked Questions FAQ are offered on an internet page as an aid in which answers are provided to the most-frequently asked questions

Floor limit

Amount above which a payment needs to be authorised. Payments below floor limits are guaranteed without authorisation at the acceptance point. The floor limit is determined individually by credit card companies, depending upon the industry and acceptance point.


Term used by the German banking industry which in 1996 developed an electronic wallet on ec and customer cards issued by banks and savings banks.


Hash values are often used in order to ensure the correct transmission of data. Thus a so-called 'hash function' (an algorithm) is used to map data of arbitrary length to a fixed length - the hash value. The receiver of the transmitted data can only calculate the hash value using the same algorithm. If the hash values agree, there is a high degree of probability that the sent and received data are identical. Hashes are also used to create a so-called fingerprint data, which should not be visible itself, such as passwords or credit card information. The hash represents clearly the content of the data, without, however, revealing the content itself or allowing a conclusion about the data.


Three-dimensional image of an object. Depending on how it is viewed, the object can be seen in the hologram from different angles.


HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) is a page description language for the representation of static content in a web browser. HTMLs can also be used to create graphics, links, input fields, etc.


This is used to transfer the embossed data on a card (see also embossing) to an invoice form.

Liability declaration

Declaration by means of which a contractual partner assumes all risk of remote selling and the liability for all chargebacks.

Liability shift

In general, a merchant must bear the risk in e-commerce if a cardholder disputes a payment. However, when merchants are registered with MasterCard SecureCode, Verified by VISA or American Express SafeKey, the risk of disputed payments is transferred elsewhere.


Maestro is an international debit process which employs the MasterCard infrastructure.

Mail order

One version of remote sales (q.v.), in which the credit card data is transmitted by mail, fax or telephone.

MasterCard SecureCode (MCSC)

Provides security for the use of MasterCard cards in e-commerce transactions. Merchants who use MCSC (via a PSP or on own responsibility) receive a secure payment guarantee for transactions across Europe (avoids risk of chargebacks).

Network operator

A company which transmits credit card payment data from the merchant to the acquirer. NOs are primarily engaged in the retail business (hardware terminals in stores), but also offer solutions for e-commerce (software terminals). The NOs listed on our home page comply with our guidelines for secure transactions in the mail order business (CVC2).

Online personalisation of terminals (OPT)

A security method that was adopted jointly by the German Central Bank and the Central Credit Committee (CCC): In Germany all ec cash payment terminals have used OPT since 1 January 2005.

Partner program

Partner programs- also 'affiliate systems' - offer the webmaster involved in a service a commission from sales. Webmasters with high-traffic web pages can easily earn money by advertising through SWISSgate's partner program. Merchants that are connected to SWISSgate offer of commission as a percentage share of the revenues or as one-time commission on sign-up's.

Payment costs

Payment costs are defined as the sum of costs the payment service provider (PSP) charges the merchant for it's services.

Payment service provider (PSP)

A company which transmits e.g. credit card payment data from the merchant to the acquirer. Although PSPs are primarily active in the e-commerce section, they also offer solutions for standard mail order transactions (software terminal).


PHP is a script language which is mainly used to create and structure web pages or web applications.

PIN pad

The protected keyboard at a terminal used to enter a PIN number. In common usage, however, the entire terminal is referred to as a 'PIN pad'.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)

Usually a PIN is a 4-digit number which is used by a customer to identify themselves when paying for goods and services in a cashless transaction.

Plausibility check

Checking data to ensure that it complies with certain rules; usually checkusms are used for this purpose.


The clearing of a card transaction, see sales accounting


Companies responsible for the technical aspects of card transactions; i.e. they review transactions and approve them, and arrange for payment.

Remote sales

Contracts for services which involve the transmission of credit card data via the internet, mail, fax or telephone.

Returned debit

The repayment of a direct debit transaction is called a returned debit.

Side Data Protection (SDP)

A data protection program provided by the MasterCard brand. Certification is required, merchants must use a PSP (payment service provider) or acquire this themselves. The merchant is instructed to treat the cardholder's data in a secure environment, usually within that of the PSP (data protection).

SSL encryption

SSL stands for 'Secure Socket Layer' and is supported by all current browsers as a standard for secure data transmission over the internet. SSLs prevent unauthorised access to sensitive data (credit card numbers, account data). The main purpose is to provide for secure electronic payment transactions over the internet.

Subacquiring/Master Merchant/Sales accumulator/Concentrator

A contractual partner is obligated to distribute goods and/or services exclusively in their own name and for their own account. The acquirer reserves the right to verify this. Failure to comply gives the acquirer the right to termination of the agreement without notice.


Subscriptions, in this context, are payments that are automatically rebilled after the access time they pay for has expired.


A powered device, sometimes with a keyboard and display, which provides for data exchange in cashless payment transactions.

Ticket number

A ticket number is a unique series of numbers generated by SWISSgate's support system which is created when a written query is sent to technical or customer services. It serves, among other things, to track the correspondence between SWISSgate services and the person asking the question.


The term 'transaction' covers the entire procedure in which payment data is verified and processed. Not only is a successfully settled payment called a transaction, this is also the term used for reservations, cancellations and interrupted payment processes.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A unique and valid internet address which can be visited directly by users from anywhere in the internet, such as https// The individual elements of the address are separated by slashes. It starts with the data transfer protocol (HTTP), followed by the domain name and, optionally, a path to a particular file.

Verified by VISA (VbV)

Verified by VISA is the globally available solution for online authentication. According to projections, the system could reduce card misuse on the internet by about 80%. Verified by VISA provides for unambiguous identification of the cardholder by means of entry of a personalised password. Since April 2002, participating merchants have been protected against losses caused by card fraud. This is even the case when the cardholder has not yet registered for the system at their bank. However, merchants continue to be liable for chargebacks for other reasons. Results of market research undertaken by VISA show that 90% of persons who have never bought or paid online would be willing to pay through Verified by VISA, and that 70% of online shoppers use it often.

Web browser

A web browser is a software program that displays internet pages. Popular web browsers are, among others, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.


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