Glossary: Most Common Terms

Below is a list of the most common terms we’re asked about. For a full glossary, click here: Full Glossary

Address Verification Service (AVS):

A fraud-reduction service that allows the Merchant to verify a Cardholder’s billing address prior to completing a Card Not Present Transaction.


A Transaction disputed by a Cardholder or Issuer pursuant to the Credit Card Rules.

Discount Rate:

A type of fee paid by a Merchant to process its Card Transactions.  Discount is calculated by multiplying the Discount Rate by the Volume of Card Transactions.

Interchange Fees:

Interchange is a laundry list of different percentage and transaction fees that an Issuing Bank (Cardholder’s Bank) charges an Acquiring Bank (Merchant’s Bank) to process one of their cardholder’s credit cards. A common misconception is that Visa and MasterCard profit from interchange, which is not the case. Visa and MasterCard charge Dues and Assessments on transactions.

There are hundreds of different interchange fees, what is important is to understand that interchange is essentially the wholesale rate that banks charge each other in order to process a credit card transaction. In order to pay the lowest fees when processing credit cards, a merchant’s goal is to pay as close to interchange as possible.

Merchant Processing Agreement (MPA):

The written agreement between merchant and acquirer that details their rates, rights, and regulations in the contract.

Monthly Minimum Fee:

A minimum amount that your member service provider may require you to generate each month.  If your monthly credit card processing fees are less than the minimum, then you are assessed the difference.

Non-Qualified Rate:

A discount rate assessed in a Tiered Based Pricing Method the transaction did not fall under the one of interchange products designated for the qualified rate tier. Beware of this type of pricing method because you are almost always paying well above the interchange cost for all non-qualified transactions.


View the Full Glossary: Click Here