Our Glossary of Store Terms is designed to help you decipher jargon, tricky terms, and straight-out gobbeldegook from the world of EPOS and payments. If there's a term you've not heard, this is the place to look!
1D Barcode Scanner
A 1D Scanner can only scan traditional barcodes of the type you would normally see on most products sold in UK shops. It can’t scan QR codes. It’s called “1D” because it scans information on one axis (across) in contrast to more versatile barcode scanners.
2D Barcode Scanner
A 2D Scanner can traditional barcodes plus other barcodes – including QR codes. It’s called “2D” because it scans information on two axes (across, up) whereas 1D scanners are limited to one axis (across).
This refers to a “mobile internet access standard” which sets peak broadband speeds for mobiles. Nearly all UK devices are 3G-enabled and capable of 3G speeds. 4G is the UK’s current standard, which launched in 2011. 3G is a little slower than 4G but will work fine when simple information is being exchanged between different devices.
3SPOS (3S POS)
A British company which sells EPOS systems. We recommend some companies for EPOS systems and not others; unfortunately, 3SPOS isn’t on the list. To understand what factors go into our thinking, try this blog.
[NUMBER/G] refers to a “mobile internet access standard” which sets peak broadband speeds for mobiles by geography. 4G is the current standard. Most devices in the UK are 4G-enabled and 4G is available throughout the UK.
5G is a mobile internet standard which will launch in the UK later in 2019. It means that for users with 5G-enabled devices, the internet will be faster.
Accent is a POS system. You can find Accent’s profile here.
Sometimes called a wireless action point (WAP), an access point is a bit of hardware which is designed to extend your WiFi range and could be necessary in a large shop or office. It’s different from a range extender in the way it works: the WAP needs to be connected via ethernet cable to the router, whereas the range extender can be placed where the WiFi is still OK to extend the range in that general direction. If you have an ethernet-only network, you can use a WAP to enable WiFi.
An acquiring bank is another name for a merchant acquiring bank or (in payments) a merchant bank. For the main entry, please see merchant acquiring bank.
Is an Independent Sales Organisation. To read the main entry, go to ISO.
Is an Independent Sales Organisation. To read the main entry, go to ISO.
If software is device-agnostic, or a device is software-agnostic, it can be used with multiple different kinds of hardware or software. Generally speaking, we’d associate this with more competitive software and fewer hidden fees. (“hey, you need to buy that hardware from us, buddy, and we didn’t tell you this, but that will cost you a cool £2 million.”) It’s also much more convenient. (On its own, of course, “agnostic” means that you’re not sure whether there’s a god or not, which is quite different.)
AIBMS is a merchant acquiring bank. To read the main entry, go to merchant acquiring bank.
AirPOS (Air POS)
Air POS is a mid-range EPOS system provider. Depending on the size of the store and the requirements, we do sometimes recommend AirPOS. You can read the full company profile here.
Alipay is a Chinese payment processing app owned by the Alibaba Group. For merchants, Alipay can be used for e-commerce or in-store via mobile payment, but does not work in the same way as most Western mobile payments. When a customer wishes to use Alipay, a merchant will select the order and their system will generate a QR code. The customer scans the QR code with their phone and enters their password to confirm the payment. The merchant will receive the money in their normal bank account, and like normal payment processing, they will charge a fee per transaction. Alipay and Barclaycard announced they would be partnering in March 2019 so the UK process for accepting Alipay should soon simplify. For now, merchants can set up for Alipay via an application on their website. The application will take a while and will involve some back-and-forth with Alipay.
Amazon Go stores are physical stores by Amazon which have no check-outs at all – you simply walk out of the store with the things you want.
American Express (AmEx)
For the most part, American Express (AmEx) is a card network. For the main entry, go to card network.
Android is the mobile operating system owned by Google. An “operating system” is software which means there’s something there when you turn the phone on. If you’re not familiar with the term already, you’re most likely to see “android” in the context of an app or software declaring it works on android. If you’re not sure whether your smartphone or tablet is an android, the odds are that it will be unless it’s by Apple. (The third alternative would be a Windows phone – but they’re rare.) iPhones cannot be android and run on Apple’s operating system, iOS.
Android Pay is a form of contactless payment processing run by Android.
Annecto is an independent sales organisation, which means they help onboard merchants on behalf of a merchant acquiring bank. Read ISO for the main entry.
An API stands for an “application programming interface.” That’s the interface between two different apps. When you’re logged in to a program, and it needs to send a signal to another program, (e.g. book this flight when I click this button) an API is what converts the messages from one program to the other.
Apple Pay (ApplePay)
Apple Pay is Apple’s branding for their contactless payment processing, which is the main entry. To accept ApplePay, a merchant needs to make sure their hardware is up-to-date (and accept NFC technology).
Assessments (Card Network Assessments)
An assessment fee is the smaller of two fees charged by a card network. (The interchange is the larger of the two fees.) Network assessments vary based on the geography and currency.
Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are types of computer visual interfaces. The idea is that computer interfaces will interact with the real world. Today, this is usually by displaying live footage of the real world and adding objects to it. For example, RoOomy is a company which runs an e-commerce furniture store where users can view an empty room through their computer/phone and project furniture items they might want to buy, to see what they could look like in situ. Snapchat and Facebook both use technology which can perceive the contours of your face and add silly filters that transform it.
Average Transaction Size
Each time somebody buys something at your store, how much are they likely to spend on average? This is key in determining what kind of processing would be cheapest for you.
Barclaycard is another merchant acquiring bank, owned by Barclay bank.
Barclaycard Anywhere looks and acts a lot like a payfac – except that it’s part of a merchant acquiring bank. Because it’s not as competitive or widely integrated as some payfacs, so we don’t usually recommend them.
The British Independent Retailers Association represent small- and medium-sized retailers. They regularly host events for their members.
Bitcoin is a kind of digital-only currency known as a cryptocurrency. A bitcoin payment made to your business would bypass the entire payments infrastructure we talk about here – no payment processing, no acquiring bank, no interchange fee, no card network. To accept a bitcoin payment in-store, you’ll need a web wallet capable of holding bitcoin, which comes with a unique address which can be represented via a QR code. A customer can then scan your QR code and send you money in exchange for a good or service directly. To accept a bitcoin payment online, we’d advise chatting to a programmer.
Bleep is an independent sales organisation which means they help onboard merchants for merchant acquiring banks.
“Blended” fees are one way of expressing processing fees to merchants. It’s generally similar to “Interchange + +” fee types – but rather than showing you which bits of fee are charged by which party, it’s rolled into one, making it simpler and less transparent.
Bluebird and StoreKit are different companies owned by the same people. Bluebird is aimed at large operations who want help figuring out multi-store EPOS roll-outs. StoreKit was launched on the premise of democratising that knowledge. Larger StoreKit customers (based on turnover) will require slightly different tactics to get the best deal, and therefore you might be referred to Bluebird if you’re a borderline case – but that won’t affect you or the way you’re being treated.
Bluetooth is one way that different devices can send signals to one another without wires – similar to WiFi. Bluetooth devices need to be 10-15 metres of each other to maintain the signal. You may have found this term because some bits of kit on the website are listed as “ethernet”, “USB”, or “bluetooth”.
Brightpearl are enterprise EPOS providers. You can read their full profile here.
Borgun is an Icelandic merchant acquiring bank.
Card Cutters is an independent sales organisation. (See ISO)
A card issuer is also known as the card issuing bank or the issuing bank or the customer bank. They are the customer’s bank account. They’re the first juncture of the payment process.
A card machine is a technology used to take payments from credit or debit cards. It is also sometimes called a PDQ machine, a payment terminal, a card terminal, a card reader. These words are generally interchangeable and don’t refer to the differences in appearance you see between card terminals, for example between this older Verifone card machine and this newer iZettle card machine. In the UK, card machines are difficult to buy unless they’re attached to a payment processing contract, or are software-specific, both of which mean that a merchant must use a specific payment processor for as long as they use that card machine. For that reason, it’s often more important to consider the aggregate payment processing costs than card terminal rental fee.
Card Network (Card Scheme, Card Association)
Card networks include Mastercard, VISA, Discover, and China UnionPay – together with the issuing bank, their logo appears on a debit or credit card. Card Networks are networks of banks and merchants. They make money in a few ways: primarily, they levy an interchange fee per transaction for using the network. They also levy a smaller fee called the network assessment fee or card scheme fee. These are charged to merchant acquiring banks which is always passed on to the merchant (with some extra costs added by the acquiring bank). Card networks publish their interchange fees which vary from card to card. For example, here is VISA’s breakdown of costs. Some interchange fees are higher because of higher operational costs, such as with international cards. Other times, the higher fees reflect higher cost of customer rewards passed on to the card user.
A card reader is also called a PDQ machine, a payment terminal, a card terminal, a card machine. For the main entry, go to card machine.
Rewards are benefits customers get for using a certain card – e.g., “spend $1000 per month using this card and we’ll buy you a free taco”. Card networks use rewards as a key way to market themselves to new cardholders. However, the interchange fee that gets passed on to merchants via the discount rate reflects the cost of those rewards. A taco may be cheap, but air tickets and other perks are expensive, and result in higher costs to merchants. American Express is known for superior rewards, but that gets passed on to merchants – so it’s generally more expensive to take AmEx than other card types. However, all card networks offer rewards; and the more exclusive the card, the better the rewards are.
Card Saver is an Independent Sales Organisation. For the main entry, see ISO.
Cash management is a function of some EPOS systems designed to keep granular track of what cash exists in the business at that time. Some systems are designed to be able to handle multiple cash drawers and track what cash breakdown is in each, or staff pouches where some of the cash in the business has been removed from the main drawer.
Chargebacks are cases where a customer disputes a purchase, and money gets taken out of a merchant’s account to pay them back. It is possible to dispute a chargeback, but once customer action has been taken, the onus is generally on you to prove that the chargeback was not valid. There is generally a greater risk of chargeback with e-commerce than there is with physical stores.
Chargebacks are cases where a customer disputes a purchase, and money gets taken out of a merchant’s account to pay them back. On top of cost of a “chargeback”, a bank will levy a “chargeback fee” – i.e. a fee to the merchant for the hassle of having to process the chargeback.
China UnionPay is the largest of the Chinese card networks and the only card network which links every bank in China. They are owned by the Chinese state. For the main entry, see card network. China UnionPay are also making forays into the QR-style payment described under AliPay.
CleanCloud is the only major cloud-based POS system to focus exclusively on drycleaners.
“The cloud” stores data. A cloud is comprised out of “data centres” which are large physical things full of data. They are generally operated by a technology company, such as Amazon Web Services, or Google. If software describes itself as cloud-native, or cloud-based, it means that the data generated or displayed on that software is being stored on a cloud – which in turn, means that it will need internet access. If it’s a hybrid-cloud software, you don’t need to worry about internet outages; it has an automatic offline mode during which the data is stored temporarily on the device until the connection reestablishes. If it’s a pure-cloud software, it requires constant internet connection to work. Normally the newer (and more sophisticated, cheaper) systems tend to be cloud-based or cloud-native. This is because there’s lots of advantages associated with the cloud for their users. If you’re using cloud-based software, you don’t have to store data internally on a server, which is expensive and requires maintenance. You can log in to your software through different devices – for example, with EPOS, you can view your dashboard on your EPOS tablet and your personal phone. We tend to recommend cloud-based, hybrid-cloud software to cover all the bases.
Contactless Card Payments
Contactless card payments require NFC technology from merchants.
Contactless Mobile Payments
Contactless Mobile Payments are when a customer pays by tapping their phone on a point-of-sale device. Examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay, Barclays Contactless Mobile, and Amex Pay. To accept mobile payments, you need to make sure you have up-to-date hardware (it must be “NFC-capable”) and you need to have payment processing software (from your merchant acquiring bank or your payment facilitator) which accepts contactless mobile payments. If everything looks good and it still doesn’t work, contact your payment provider. Mobile payments are a tad more expensive, because they charge a “transaction security fee” to the issuing bank, which is not disclosed in the UK. In the US, it’s around 0.15% of any purchase made with it in the case of Apple Pay.
For restaurants, some EPOS systems will enable you to override “course” defaults – e.g. when a customer wants a starter as a main.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies (including bitcoin) which bypass most of the payment infrastructure we talk about here. See the bitcoin entry for more information. Other cryptocurrencies include Ether, Ripple and Zcash.
CutPay is an Independent Sales Organisation meaning they make their money from onboarding people to a merchant bank.
A “dashboard” is the thing you see when you log in to a software which tells you stuff. You can generally amend these and it can tell you your preferred stats and facts – for example if it was a dashboard for EPOS software, and you sold bloody marys, your dashboard might tell you your stock levels of canned tomato and vodka, and your sales last month.
A debit card is a card which allows customers to pay for things at EPOS terminals (or online). It will bear the logos of the card network and the issuing bank. Whereas credit cards provide the user access to a line of credit from a bank, a debit card deducts money directly from their bank account.
We use “device” to mean any piece of technology that has an internal computer. So that would be a smartphone, a smart watch, a tablet, a laptop, a PC.
The discount rate is the aggregate of all the fees the various parties impose on you during payments. For a breakdown of your discount rate, check out our blog.
Discover is a card network (like mastercard and VISA) which is most prevalent in the US.
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
This refers to the underlying technology which enables cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. A “ledger” refers to a record of transactions, and “distributed” means that no one party controls or maintains the ledger – it’s written on and by the computers of all the different parties in the ledger.
This includes a barcode scanner, a cash draw, a receipt printer, a tablet or computer which integrates everything, and sometimes stands – all of the hardware in an EPOS kit. It also includes a card reader; but remember, a card reader needs a specific payments provider.
EPOS system or EPOS kit
We have a whole page on this one, but simply put, electronic point of sale systems (EPOS systems) are the bits of hardware which enable you to take cards, along with bits software designed to simplify store management tasks. It’s comprised of: EPOS software, payment processing, and EPOS hardware. They all interrelate; so this quickly becomes a mess of different overlapping options and choices. Sometimes payment processing and EPOS software are rolled into one bill. Sometimes there’s “free” hardware in exchange for increased processing costs. The classic missteps that merchants take in our experience is that they (A) accidentally buy things which aren’t compatible, or (B) they miscalculate their pricing and end up spending more than they should. This is part of our reason for existing: we’ve built tools to help you build a kit or browse EPOS options with the right level of price and capability. These can be accessed on the main site.
EPOS software is the software that the EPOS system uses. In recent years, software providers have started allowing their software to be downloadable via an app
Epson is a hardware manufacturer which makes some points of a POS system – including printers.
An Ethernet cable is a way of plugging a device directly into the internet (rather than getting to it wirelessly, through WiFi). Some receipt printers must be plugged into the internet via ethernet cable.
First Data are everywhere in payments. They do just about everything – and act as another payment player in various places you wouldn’t expect them. In their biggest capacity, they are a merchant acquiring bank.
Flexible Table Mapping
Many systems allow you to create a basic table map, whereby you can allocate orders to specific tables. Better systems can let you to create a table map in which guests and items move between different tables, the bar, and more.
General Data Protection Regulation is a European Law which has been written into UK law, meaning we will continue to abide by it following our departure from the EU. It’s about customer data, and it says a few things which are relevant to small shop and restaurant owners. First, if you’re collecting customer data (e.g. email addresses) you’re liable for a data breach if you don’t protect it. This is a great argument for using the cloud when you’re storing customer data and not using local devices. (No payments software will store payments info on any of your devices – that’s subject to a much more complicated set of laws.) Second, you can’t pre-check boxes which invite users to receive marketing emails. Finally, you can’t share customer data with someone else without asking them first. That means you can’t tell someone else a customer’s name, email, phone number, or any other bits of info you might happen to have.
Glorydale Merchant Services
Glorydale Merchant Services is an Independent Sales Organisation, which means they onboard new customers on behalf of merchant acquiring banks. Their bank is Borgun.
Goodtill (The Good Till)
Goodtill is a POS system which is focused on hospitality. You can read their full overview here.
Global Payments (Company)
Global Payments is a merchant acquiring bank operating mainly in the US.
Gross Fees (Gross billing)
In contrast to net fees (net billing), gross fees are when payment processing fees are charged to you at the end of each month. This is the kind of billing that takes place when a merchant acquiring bank processes payments directly.
This refers to paper thickness. Make sure your paper is the right paper for your printer!
Handepay is an Indepedent Sales Organisation, which means they onboard new customers on behalf of merchant acquiring banks. Their bank is EVO.
Heckler Design is a design agency which make rather attractive iPad stands. Some of their models are only available through StoreKit, so check them out!
Hike is a POS system which is aimed mainly at retailers. You can read more about Hike here.
iKentoo is a POS system which is aimed mainly at restauranteurs. You can read more about iKentoo here.
iPad (iPad Mini)
An iPad is a type of tablet sold by Apple. They can be used as the main interface on a lot of EPOS kits because they’re portable when they need to be, you can easily fasten them down, and the new generation of EPOS software is designed for tablet control. An iPad Mini is a smaller iPad.
This is the operating system run by Apple. An operating system is the software that enables any computer – smartphones, tablets, laptops, or PCs – to start in the first place. iOS can only work with Apple products and Apple products can only work with iOS.
Independent sales organisation
An independent sales organisation is a company which charges a fee to refer people to merchant banks, and sometimes manage much of the communication with the customer. It is sometimes cheaper to go through an ISO than to go direct.
Ingenico are a hardware manufacturer involved in the production of card readers.
If two softwares are integrated, something which happens in software A can affect software B. If your payments and EPOS are integrated, for example, your EPOS will automatically update each time somebody pays – otherwise you would have to manually input each order.
Intelligent POS was a POS company which was acquired by iZettle. It’s now called iZettle Pro, which is their premium offering. Read more here.
Interchange (Interchange Fee)
The interchange is the fee that card networks charge merchant acquiring banks during payment processing. This fluctuates with what kinds of cards you use. Foreign cards and high-rewards cards are likely to be more expensive.
This is one way that total payment processing costs can be expressed to merchants. It’s so called because it’s the interchange fee “plus” the other smaller fees that accrue during the payment process.
Internal Power Supply
This is sometimes written in product descriptions of hardware products. If a product says this, it still needs to be plugged in. The bit that’s internal is the boxy plastic thing about halfway down the cord for a laptop – that’s what it means by power supply. They’ve found a way to get this inside the device.
iZettle is a payment facilitator. iZettle run a basic EPOS software along with its payment facilitation software, meaning that if you’re looking for free EPOS, iZettle is sometimes what we recommend. They run a more advanced EPOS software called iZettle Pro for companies with greater EPOS needs. You can read iZettle’s full profile here.
iZettle Go is the basic free EPOS software run by iZettle. They introduced “Go” to draw a contrast with iZettle Pro – their newer, premium offering. You can read iZettle Go’s profile here.
iZettle Pro is the higher-tier EPOS software run by iZettle. While iZettle basic is free with payment processing, iZettle Pro requires a monthly fee. You can read iZettle Pro’s profile here.
A kiosk usually refers to a self-service checkout which is now commonplace in supermarkets (such as Sainsburys, ASDA) and QSR restaurants (McDonald’s). Following notable success in boosting sales in McDonald’s, we’re likely to see more and more of these around. Check out our blog on kiosks.
Kounta is mid-range EPOS software focused on hospitality. You can read Kounta’s profile here.
Lightspeed (Lightspeed Retail, Lightspeed Hospitality)
Lightspeed produce two sophisticated EPOS systems focused on retail and hospitality. You can read the profiles for Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Hospitality via the links.
Linux is an operating system. If you’re not sure whether your device is a Linux device, it’s probably not. While Linux is a popular OS, it’s popular mainly for people who know a great deal about computers. EPOS systems apps have generally been written to cater for iPad and Android, which together own most of the smartphone and tablet market.
Lloyds Bank Cardnet
This is the merchant acquiring bank owned by Lloyds bank.
Loyverse is a type of “freemium” EPOS software. You can read Loyverse’s full profile here.
A Mac is a computer which is manufactured by Apple. There’s a number of different types of Mac, as the Mac “family” of computers has been running since the mid-80s.
Magnetic Stripe (Magstripe, Mag Stripe)
This is the stripe on the top of a card. The strip encodes the information on the front of the card, and the customer then signs to confirm the purchase – which replaces the CVC as a security check. Mag stripes are less secure than chip and PIN, and some providers are in the process of phasing them out. Some payment facilitators won’t provide a magstripe reader. Merchants aren’t legally obliged to accept payment via magstripe, and don’t need to take any action to accept magstripe, except to ensure that they have the requisite hardware and store the receipt effectively.
Mastercard is a card network which is used globally. For the main entry, go to card network.
This site is designed for merchants! If you serve customers who buy things at your store, then when we speak, you’re a merchant.
Merchant Acquiring Bank
A merchant acquiring bank is not the same as your business bank account. It’s a bank account which sends money to your business bank. You can read a fuller summary here.
Merchant Service Providers
Any financial products designed for merchants and payments are a kind of “merchant service.” Independent sales organisations are often also called merchant service providers.
Micros is a very widely used and known EPOS systems provider. Because they are not software agnostic, and because of the way the pricing works, they’re not on the list of providers we work with. Read how we choose EPOS providers here.
Mind Body (Mindbody)
Mindbody are an EPOS system which we sometimes recommend. They’re aimed at gyms. Their full profile can be accessed here.
Minimum Monthly Fee
If you have signed a payment processing contract with your merchant bank, you may be liable to pay a minimum monthly fee. In this case, you either pay a minimum monthly fee or your normal processing costs, whichever is higher.
Monzo is the largest of the new generation of British banks. They have no physical branches, instead operating through an app. As far as merchants are concerned, they’re a card-issuing bank like any other which uses mastercard as its card network.
mPOP is a type of printer/cash draw made by Star Micronics.
An EPOS or POS system is an “MPOS” if it’s designed to be moved around. (The “m” stands for “mobile”).
NFC stands for near-field communication. It’s another technological way that different devices can communicate to each other, like bluetooth or WiFi – but it’s designed specifically for payments. That means it’s short-range and secure.
NCR (National Cash Register) Corporation
This is an older EPOS system vendor and remains one of the most popular. It’s not one of the ones which has made it to our final list, unfortunately – so it can’t be bought via this website. You can find out what ingredients go into our list here.
Net billing during card processing is when money is deducted by the processor before it enters your account. It stands in contrast to gross billing, for which you will receive an invoice for all your processing fees at the end of the month.
Nobly is mid-tier EPOS software we do sometimes recommend. You can access Nobly’s profile here.
EPOS systems which have offline mode are sometimes called hybrid cloud devices, in contrast to a “pure cloud” device which would need to be constantly online in order to work. Data is stored locally while the device is disconnected.
Oracle are a large B2B technology company which operate an EPOS system (and many other products).
To “pair” two devices is to (literally) make sure they’re on the same wavelength. You might have to do this before using Bluetooth – the pairing process should connect the two devices together. You can usually find options to do this by looking in systems or settings and rustling around for connectivity.
There are several players present during payment. The merchant, the acquiring bank/merchant bank, the card network, the issuing bank, and the customer, are always involved in traditional payment processing. The customer enters a merchant’s store, and wishes to buy an item. They have a credit card which bears the logos of the issuing bank (e.g. HSBC) and the card network (e.g. VISA). They place their credit card inside a card machine, and enter their PIN. If the customer enters the correct PIN, the card machine signals to the issuing bank that the customer wishes to make a transaction. The issuing bank then indicates that it wishes to pay the merchant bank via the card network. The issuing bank forwards the entire sum to the card network, which levies an interchange fee, and passes the remainder onto the merchant bank. The merchant bank deposits the money in the merchant’s bank account, minus the discount rate – the interchange fee plus its own processing fee. The interchange fee goes to the card network; the processing fee is split between the merchant bank and any other players – for example, a payment facilitator, or an independent sales organisation, who have invited a merchant to use payment facilitation software but are not themselves involved in payments.
Payment Facilitator (PayFac)
A payfac is an alternative way to accepting card payments than renting a terminal from a merchant acquiring bank. Examples include iZettle, Square, and SumUp. Their rates are characterised by being fixed rate and targeted at smaller merchants. You may also recognise their (more modern-looking) card readers. They have something called a master ID with a merchant acquiring bank, meaning they can hold sub-accounts with the bank. It’s a faster onboarding process, and they make card payments easier. If you’re curious about learning more, read our beginner’s guide to payments.
Payment Processing refers to the whole chain of the payment process defined under payments. This isn’t a bit of jargon – it’s used to refer to any bit of the process.
Payment Processing Fee
The payment processing fee, (sometimes called the discount rate) is the sum of all fees that the merchant is presented with per transaction. There’s the interchange fee, the card scheme fee, the merchant acquiring fee. These can be presented as blended, fixed rate, or interchange + + to merchants.
“Payment Provider” generally refers to your merchant acquiring bank, unless you use a payment facilitator, in which case it refers to both your payment facilitator and your merchant acquiring bank. It’s a blanket term.
PaymentSense is an independent sales organisation. We often recommend PaymentSense if we think a customer is better suited to them than to Bluebird.
PayPal is a company which acts as an online payment processor specialising in peer-to-peer payments. Separately, they own an EPOS system known as PayPal Here. In online payments, PayPal acts as a payment processor. PayPal charge merchants a fee per transaction which incorporates all the other fees that accrue during payment. If a PayPal customer has an internal PayPal balance, the money will move peer-to-peer but PayPal charge the same fee. PayPal is also used as a means of peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions which cannot generally be used by merchants to accept payment. Here, moving money is free* where the asterisk depends on things like currency switching, linked accounts, and other factors. Money in a merchant PayPal account can be moved to a merchant bank account for free. Finally, PayPal also own PayPal Here, which is a payment facilitator.
PayPal Here is a payment facilitator owned by PayPal. A payment facilitator runs basic EPOS software to supplement its core function, payment processing.
This stands for personal computer – any desktop computer or laptop is a PC.
This is the bank’s fee for complying with safe data laws – which they pass onto the merchant. (It stands for, “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard”). If you opt for a fixed rate, this should be included/invisible to you.
PCI Security Standards Council
This is the security authority which enforces the payment card industry data security standards (PCI-DSS).
PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards)
These are laws which govern banks and telecoms passing financial information. They relate to the safe sending and receiving of financial data.
A PDQ Machine is also called a card machine, a payment terminal, a card terminal, a card reader. PDQ stands for Process Data Quickly.
A personal identification number (PIN) is the four digit number used to confirm a card transaction. Sometimes a PIN is used on computers in place of a password. In those circumstances, the only distinction between a PIN and a password is that a PIN is device-local; i.e. it can only be used for that account via that device.
PIN on glass, PIN on mobile, POM
Most card readers have a keypad on which you can enter your PIN. The exception, Square, requires that the user type in their PIN on a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. We’ve assessed the pros and cons here.
POS System or POS Kit
There is no difference between a POS system and an EPOS system. The “E” stands for electric, which is redundant – we don’t know any POS systems which use steam power. Both are on the website because people search for both, and we want to make sure they find us. For the main entry, see EPOS system.
This is an ambiguous term. It’s usually used to refer to card readers, but can refer to an entire till and POS system. That means that a POS terminal might include an iPad and a cash draw as well as a card terminal.
Printer Routing simply means that you can choose which printer you print from. This can be useful for restaurants which have separate food and bar areas but want to send everything to one receipt; or want different types of food to be on different order receipts routed to different parts of the kitchen.
This is when a payment facilitator will only permit you to process so much before they refer you to a merchant acquiring bank. By the time this happens, it will have been cheaper to go through a merchant acquiring bank for some time.
A QR code displays complex information to computers. It looks like a square box, and can be read by smartphones. It can represent, for example, a web address, or a price – therefore it can be used in place of a regular barcode. (For this, you’ll need a barcode scanner capable of reading it! See 2D barcode scanner).
Retail Management System
This is another name for an EPOS system.
Revel Systems is an enterprise EPOS software company. We do sometimes recommend revel, and you can read their profile here.
Revolut is part of the new wave of banks in the UK. Revolut is digital-only and do not have stores. Other examples include Starling, Tandem, and Monzo.
Risk is one of the most important concepts in finance. The “riskier” any contract is, the more expensive the bank makes it. Contracts which are more flexible entail higher levels of risk – and therefore become pricier.
A router is the physical box sold by an internet service provider (ISP) such as BT or Virgin. The internet is connected to the router via fibre-optic cables. This type of internet access is sometimes called broadband.
Shopify is a company which is primarily associated with e-commerce, but which do produce an EPOS system known as Shopify POS. In physical EPOS or POS, see our profile of Shopify here. For e-commerce, Shopify run an application programming interface (sometimes called a platform) which helps store owners manage their e-commerce. It means you can “build a store” quickly without a designer or developer. You can also do the kinds of things you’d associate with EPOS software online; like manage your inventory.
In contrast with proprietary software, which you buy and own, software-as-a-service is software which you rent access to, typically via a monthly bill. This means that it’s automatically updated, and there’s constant support available. Netflix and Spotify are two examples of SaaS. SaaS is becoming the dominant way that software is bought and sold in the UK.
Square is a payment facilitator which also produces a basic EPOS software.
Smart Watch Payments (Smartwatch Payments)
Smart Watches generally support exactly the same forms of payment as mobile devices. For those entries, read contactless mobile payment (e.g. ApplePay) or QR-payment entries (e.g. AliPay).
An SMS is a text (it stands for “short message service”). Text-based receipts are an increasingly popular as vendors cut down on paper use.
This is the technical name for a WiFi network name.
Star (Star Micronics)
Star is a manufacturer of hardware, including receipt printers, based in Japan.
This is a function which good EPOS software does for you. Via an interface, you can keep your pricing up-to-date on all items, keep track of units sold/in stock, and for better systems, keen things which modify those units – e.g. ingredients, where the units are meals.
We’re StoreKit. We’re a shop for hardware, and a market for payments and EPOS software. If you want to buy a cash drawer, you can do that – or if you want to ask us which EPOS we’d recommend to you, that’s great as well!
We’ve built a log in, and we often enable discounts when you sign up! Using this log in you can save separate store locations for rapid delivery next time round.
Stripe are an e-commerce payment processor. They work more like payment facilitators than they do like merchant banks – it’s designed as simplified pricing so that anyone can use it.
SumUp is a payment facilitator. This means they produce free EPOS software to supplement their payment processing, which is their main product. Read SumUp’s profile here.
Syncing between terminals
This is a feature of EPOS software which is useful in hospitality. If you have two EPOS terminals which refer to the same area – whether that’s tables you want to book, or the stock you’re selling – it can be important that they are updating together. That way if two employees at two different parts of the restaurant try to book table 6 at a similar time, there will be no lag which could prevent the second from seeing that the table is already booked.
Sometimes, customers decide to move to the table by the window which has just freed up. Or to join their table with their friends’. Some restaurant EPOS systems facilitate table transfers which allow you to change the table tied to their order.
A computer tablet, or tablet, is a type of computer which is a large square screen with a touch interface. Examples include the iPad.
When people talk about a “stack” they’re generally talking about lots of different technologies which conceptually “stack” on top of each other – where you can’t use the ones on top without the ones below. For example, our gross profit calculator is embedded in our website. To use the website, you need to use a web browser such as Chrome or Safari. To access a web browser, you’re going to need an operating system like Windows and broadband internet or data. An operating system needs to run on a device, like a Toshiba Laptop. A developer might draw these as bricks sat on top of each other – that’s the stack!
Terminal Rental Fee
The monthly fee for renting card terminals. Generally this is normally levied by merchant acquiring banks whereas card terminals used for payment facilitators can be bought outright.
Thermal Printer (Thermal Paper Printer)
Some receipt printers will require thermal paper. Thermal paper changes colour when it’s exposed to heat, which changes the way the printer works. Crucially, printers which mention thermal paper in their product description can only use thermal paper. If you want a printer in your kitchen, we tend not to recommend thermal paper printers. They are prone to breaking in the hot kitchen.
TISSL is a point of sale (EPOS) software company aimed at the hospitality sector. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite make our curated list! Find out what goes into the list here.
Tokenisation is a cybersecurity procedure. When you’re sending sensitive data (such as during a payment), mobile payment providers will tend to send a “token” which represents the data, rather than the data itself. It’s a bit like needing to send some gold to someone, but sending the code to a safe containing the gold, rather than sending the gold itself. That way, if someone intercepts the mail and finds the code, they still won’t know where the safe is.
Toshiba is a huge technology company which makes all kinds of technology hardware.
TouchBistro is an EPOS system which we do sometimes recommend. Read TouchBistro’s full profile here.
Turevo is a Merchant Acquiring Bank.
United Merchant Services
United Merchant Services are an Independent Sales Organisation. For the main entry, go to ISO.
Universal Transaction Processing
Universal Transaction Processing is an Independent Sales Organisation. For the main entry, go to ISO.
Valitor are a merchant acquiring bank, and sometimes an issuing bank and a payment gateway. They are headquartered in Iceland.
Vantiv is the historic name for WorldPay until January 2018.
Vend is a software company which produces Vend EPOS software. Vend is typically aimed at retailers as it focuses on managing complex inventories.
Verifone is the technology manufacturer which makes most of the older EPOS hardware on the market.
VISA is a card network, headquartered in the US. For the main entry, go to card network. .
WeChat pay is a type of mobile payment through the Chinese app WeChat, which launched in the UK in 2017. In contrast with contactless mobile payments, WeChat generates a QR code which is scanned by the merchant.
Wireless Terminal Solutions
Wireless Terminal Solutions are an Independent Sales Organisation and make money by onboarding people to merchant acquiring banks.
Western Union sends money abroad on behalf of their customers. Money can be sent by a Western Union transfer agent (often a small shop) and picked up with proof of ID via another Western Union transfer agent in any country. Western Union takes an international processing fee and pass a small amount onto the transfer agent. To become a Western Union agent you can apply on their website.