Glossary of terms

At Visa Europe we work in a complex industry with its own particular terminology and a bewildering array of acronyms. Here are some of the most commonly used terms.

3-D Secure

A technology developed by Visa which enables a cardholder to be authenticated during an e-commerce transaction. This technology is deployed in a service offered by member banks called Verified by Visa.

Acceptance location

We use this term to refer to any establishment or any device where Visa cards can be used to buy goods or services or withdraw cash – such as retailers, bank branches, ATM machines and unattended or cardholder activated terminals.

Acquirer

Also referred to as an acquiring bank, this is a Visa member that signs up retailers and businesses to accept Visa cards – and, along with the issuer, the cardholder, the retailer or business, constitutes one of the parties in a four party payment system.

ARF

The audit, risk and finance committee is one of the committees of the Visa Europe board of directors.

ATM

An automated teller machine, more commonly known as a cash machine, which enables cardholders to withdraw cash from their bank or card account.

Business forums

To develop its products and procedures Visa Europe operates a thorough consultative process, involving several business forums.

Card sales volume

We use this term to refer to the total number of transactions conducted using Visa cards.

Cardholder

We use this term to refer to any one of the customers of our members who has been issued with a Visa card – and, along with the acquirer, the issuer and the retailer, constitutes one of the parties in a four party payment system.

CEV

Cardholder expenditure volume is an amount of money which has been spent or withdrawn using a Visa card.

Chip and PIN

This term refers to any Visa transaction (at either the point of sale or an ATM) which is protected by a combination of a chip card and a personal identification number. The term can also be used as a description of the underlying technology involved in these transactions.

CVV2

Card Verification Value 2 is used to provide evidence that the card being used is actually in the presence of the cardholder and is valid. Such verification is used primarily in card not present (CNP) transactions occurring over the internet, by mail, or over the phone.

DCC

Dynamic currency conversion is a service which some retailers offer to foreign cardholders, whereby a currency conversion to the cardholder’s currency of domicile is conducted at the point of sale.

EC

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Its primary roles are to propose and implement legislation, and to act as ‘guardian of the treaties’ which provide the legal basis for the EU.

ECB

The European Central Bank is the central bank of the euro zone, in charge of monetary policy of the 25 countries that use the euro currency.

EMC

The executive management committee is the most senior internal day-to-day decision-making body within Visa Europe and reports to the board of directors.

EMV

The Europay MasterCard Visa chip specifications are regarded as the industry standard for payment cards in Europe.

EPC

The European Payments Council is a decision-making body that was established by the European banking industry to support and promote the creation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

EU

The European Union is an intergovernmental and supranational union of 27 European countries, known as member states.

Four party system

We use this term to describe payment systems, such as Visa, which involve four separate participants – that is, the issuer, the acquirer, the cardholder and the retailer.

Group member

A group member is an independent organisation or organisations which represent several individual banks within Visa Europe. In Spain for example, ServiRed S.A., Sistema 4B and ViaCajas S.A. represent the interests of all the Spanish banks, adapt Visa products to the Spanish market and manage the gateway to the Visa Europe processing systems.

Inter-bank routing and switching

A term used in connection with the processing of card transactions. Using the information within a card account number, processing systems such as Visa Europe will automatically send authorisation requests and clearing and settlement messages to the cardholder’s issuing bank.

Interchange

A fee which may be paid between two banks each time a card is used. It is a ‘cost sharing’ mechanism and its purpose is to ensure that Visa cards are as widely accepted and as widely used as possible.

Internal market

A term used by the European Commission referring to policies facilitating the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital, thereby opening up markets and removing obstacles to free trade.

Interoperability

This term generally refers to the ability of hardware and software from different vendors to understand each other and exchange data, either within the same network or across dissimilar networks. Within our own industry it means that different payment products from different payment schemes should work in the same way, in the same terminals, and across the same networks.

Issuing bank

An issuing bank is a member bank that offers Visa payment cards and products to consumers – and, along with the acquirer, the cardholder and the retailer, constitutes one of the parties in the four party payment system.

Transaction

This is the process that takes place each time a Visa card is used to make a purchase or to conduct a cash withdrawal.

Vendors

We use this term to refer to companies (often technology companies) which supply payment-related goods and services to Visa and its members – banks and other payment service providers. Examples may include card manufacturers, terminal manufacturers and software providers.

Verified by Visa

A service offered by members to Cardholders, retailers and businesses which provides additional security for e-commerce transactions – enabling cardholders to authenticate themselves.

Visa

We use the term Visa in many different ways. Depending on the context, it may refer to Visa Europe, Visa Inc., the Visa brand, or one of the Visa products.

Visa Commercial

We use this term to refer, collectively, to all of the business-to-business payment products and solutions which have been developed by Visa and are offered by our members. The products include Visa Business, Visa Corporate, Visa Company and Visa Purchasing.

Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. is a private stock corporation incorporated in the United States, formed through the merger of Visa Canada, Visa USA and Visa Inc. (including the Visa businesses in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa). Visa Inc. floated on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2008. Visa Europe remains a member-owned, not-for-profit association in Europe.

Visa System

We use this term to refer, collectively, to all of the data centres, computer systems and access networks which deliver transaction processing and related services to our members.

VISOR

Visa Intelligent Scoring of Risk (VISOR) is a sophisticated fraud detection system developed by Visa Europe and provided to our members. Transactions passing through the Visa System are automatically scrutinised and ‘scored’ to determine the likelihood of fraud.

Volumes

We use this term to refer to the total number of transactions conducted using Visa cards. This could be either cardholder expenditure volumes (representing the total number of all point-of-sale transactions and cash withdrawals) or point- -of-sale volumes (representing the total number of point-of-sale transactions alone).

Top of page