A Guide to Payment Industry Acronyms

The payment industry is chock-full of acronyms and abbreviations to describe the often complicated technologies surrounding electronic payment transactions. We have worked in the industry for many years and even we have trouble keeping up with the latest acronyms and their definitions. To help clear up the confusion among our customers and friends in the industry, we have put together this list of the most important payment industry acronyms.

Acronym Definition
ANSI American National Standards Institute- A non-profit that oversees voluntary consensus standards for US products, processes and systems. Encryption key transfer, storage and injection asre subject to ANSI Standards.
API Software Application Interface- a set of routines, protocols and tools for building software applications.
Contactless See NFC
CurrentC See MCX
E2E See P2P
EBT Electronic Benefit Transfer. Usually refers to SNAP (Food Stamps) or On-Line WIC
EMV Europay, Master Card and Visa joint venture which created the original standards used for Smart Card payment transactions.
Form Agent Verifone Mx Terminal application
FPE Forms Processing Engine- Equinox’s L Series Terminal Application
IK Integration Kit- Used to integrate a pos system to a payment termial’s default application
ISO International Organization for Standardization – International standard setting body composed of representatives from various national standards orgs.   ISO created standards for Credit auth messaging (ISO 8583 for example) and NFC communication messaging ISO 14443 and ISO 18092.
ISO Independent Service Organization – an entity that specilaizes in the sales, repair and maintenance of another company’s equipment.
ISV Independent Software Vendor
JPOS JPOS is an open source library which is used on variety of POS and Payment applications. It can be used on PC’s or Browser based applications
KSI Key Identifier First 10 digits of the KSN
KSN Key Serial Number- Generate and sent with each encrypted PIN Block. Identifies the Key to the host processor.
MCX Merchant Customer Exchange- a group of large retailers and banks who are developing a product called CurrentC. A mobile wallet similar Apple Pay or Google Wallet to that used QR barcodes rather than RFID to pass payment information. Notable retailers involved are Sears Holdings, 7 Eleven, Wal Mart, Rite Aid, Best Buy and Exxon Mobil.
MSR Magnetic Stripe Reader
NFC Near Field Communication also knowsn as RFID or Contactless. Uses a chip embedded in a card, fob or smart phone and an antenna that emits a low level electrical charge. The charge powers the chip, which then transmits the customer’s data to the antenna. There are two standards in use today for payments ISO 14443, which is used commonly for one way communication to transmit credit card data and ISO 18092 with is used for two way communication for EMV and couponing on Mobile Wallets
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer-Generally in the payment world OEM refers to the company that makes a part or device that is sold by another company. For example MAG TEK makes an MSR for an Equinox terminal. Mag Tek refers to Equinox as an OEM.
OPOS OLE for Retail POS- a platform specific version of Unified POS, mainly used on Microsoft Windows operating systems
P2P In the payment industry, this refers to Point to Point Encryption. Customer account data is encrypted at the swipe and decrypted at either a retailers switch, a payment gateway or by the processor depending on the scheme. There are several schemes in play using various encryption methods.
PA-DSS Payment Application Data Security Standard. PCI Standards concering Payment and POS applications.
PCI Payment Card Industry. A council made up of termial manufacturers, processors, card brands and security experts from the payment industry. This group sets all the standards and practices regarding securing payments, applications and networks.
PCI -DSS Data Security Standard – PCI standards for payment card data security.
PCI-PTS PIN Transaction Security- PCI Standards on debit pin entry and encryption on atteneded and unattended payment devices. No payment device can be sold, injected with a key or accept pin entry with being PCI-PTS approved.
PKI Public Key Infrastructure a system developed by RSA that uses a public key certificate in a device that is signed against a private key kept on a secure host to authenticate applications, devices and some P2P schemes.
QR Code A Quick Response code. Resembles a barcode and can be imaged by a Smart Phone for advertising or for payment info. See MCX.
RBA Retail Base Application- Ingenico’s original terminal application, still in use. It is the more robust of the two that they offer. Some terminal features only work with this application.
RKI Remote Key Injection
RSA Rivest, Shamir and Adelman, developers of the most commonly used Public Key algorythm. See PKI
Saas Software As A Service
SDK Software Development Kit- Used to create applications to run on payment terminals.
SNAP State Nutritional Assistance Program – USDA Food Stamp Program
SRED Secure Reading and Exchange of Data. Created by the PCI Council to provide terminal manufacturers and ISV’s a secure criteria to use in support of P2P.
SVC Stored Value Card = Gift Card or Card issued for refunds
UIA Ingenico’s application that works with OPOS, JPOS and UPOS standard POS applications.
Unified POS See UPOS
UPOS Unified POS is a world wide ISV and retailer driven set of Open Standards developed with the National Retail Federation to provide vendor neutral software application interfaces (See API) for point of sale peripherals. The goal being to allow retailers freedom of choice in selecting hardware.
VHQ Verifone HQ- Estate Management Software
WIC – Off Line WIC redeemed via Smart Cards. WIC Prescription is written to the Smart Card at the State run clinic and is decremented by the POS as items are purchased without going up for auth at a host. Retailer creates a settlement file and submits to State for payment.
WIC – On Line WIC redemption using msr / PIN based system managed by a processor. Every transaction is set up to the processor for approval. Processor reimburses the retaler for the State.
XPI XPI is an application developed to add EMV support to Form Agent.