Acquirer (or acquiring bank) is a member of a card association, for example MasterCard and/or Visa, which maintains merchant relationships and receives all bankcard transactions from the merchant.

ACB (Automated Clearing Bureau), Prior to the establishment of BANKSERV in the first half of 1993, the banking industry in South Africa jointly owned several companies that provided shared services to the banks through a variety of different payment channels. As these companies followed their own direction and operated in separate silos, the need arose to consolidate them into a single structure, of which ACB was one

AEDO (Authenticated Early Debit Order) enables the accountholder to mandate the contracted future dated early debit orders through the use of their bank card (e.g. debit card) and PIN. Relatively new payment systems, implemented in September 2006, which facilitate the processing of Early Debit Orders.

ATM (Automated Teller Machines) is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public space without the need for a cashier, human clerk or bank teller. Also known as a cash dispensing machine.

BankservAfrica Africa’s largest PCH / ACH, majority owned by the ‘big4’ South African Banks and a minority holding of the smaller banks. Provider of electronic payments technology including check and credit / debit card processing, mobile payments, SWIFT messaging, and wire systems for banks.

Big 4, referred to as the 4 largest banks in South Africa namely, Absa Bank, First National Banks, Standard Banks and Nedbank.

Charge Back, is the return of funds to a consumer, forcibly initiated by the consumer’s issuing bank. Specifically, it is the reversal of a prior outbound transfer of funds from a consumer’s bank account, line of credit, or credit card.

CUP (China Union Pay), is the only domestic bank card organization in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Founded in March 2002, China Union Pay is an association for China’s banking card industry, operating under the approval of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC, central bank of China). It is also the only interbank network in China excluding Hong Kong and Macau, linking the ATMs of some fourteen major banks and many more smaller banks throughout mainland China. It is also an EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) network.

Co-Branded Cards, Visa or MasterCard credit card jointly sponsored by a bank and retail merchant, such as a department store. Co-branded cards can be issued at less cost than conventional retail private label cards, and give issuing banks access to new customers. Cardholders may be given incentives, such as discounts on merchandise, rebates, or discounts off purchases. A co-branded card has a tie-in with a specific merchant rather than an association or professional group. It also can be used at other merchants.

EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) is the electronic exchange or transfer of money from one account to another, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, through computer-based systems.

Electron is a debit or credit card available across most of the world, with the exception of Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United States. The card was introduced by VISA in the 1980s and is a sister card to the Visa Debit card. The difference between Visa Electron and Visa Debit is that payments with Visa Electron require that all the funds be available at the time of transfer, i.e., Visa Electron card accounts may not be overdrawn. Visa Debit cards, on the other hand, allow transfers exceeding available funds up to a certain limit. Some online stores and all offline terminals (like on trains and aircraft) do not support Visa Electron because their systems cannot check for the availability of funds.

Encrypt, it’s the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and VISA, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or “chip cards”) and IC card capable point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

FICA, (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) 28 of 2001, also referred to as FICA, is a law that is designed to combat money laundering. Money laundering is the abuse of financial systems by hiding and/or disguising the proceeds of crime.

Firewall, is a device or set of devices designed to permit or deny network transmissions based upon a set of rules and is frequently used to protect networks from unauthorized access while permitting legitimate communications to pass. Many personal computer operating systems include software-based firewalls to protect against threats from the public Internet. Many routers that pass data between networks contain firewall components and, conversely, many firewalls can perform basic routing functions.

Interchange the fee that a merchant’s bank pays a customer’s bank when merchants accept cards using card networks as payments.

Issuer is a bank that offers card association branded payment cards directly to consumers.

ISO (Independent Systems Operator), organisations that offer 3rd party processing to financial institutions JCB (Japan Credit Bureau), is the Japanese card industry offering. JCB launched its international development in 1981, designed to promote the use of the JCB card worldwide through global merchant acquiring and issuing. JCB has now established a solid foundation as a global payment brand.

MasterCard is an American multinational corporation with its headquarters in the MasterCard International Global Headquarters in Purchase, New York. Throughout the world, its principal business is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the card issuing banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use the “MasterCard” brand debit and credit cards to make purchases. MasterCard Worldwide has been a publicly traded company since 2006. Prior to its initial public offering, The company was created by two entrepreneurs in Louisville, Ky. named Raymond Tanenhaus and Stanley Benovitz. It was absorbed by the United California Bank in year 1966. MasterCard Worldwide was a membership organization owned by the 25,000+ financial institutions that issue its card.

Maestro is a multi-national debit card service owned by MasterCard, and was founded in 1990. Maestro cards are obtained from associate banks and can be linked to the card holder’s current account, or they can be prepaid cards. The cardholder presents the card at the point of sale (POS) and this is swiped through the terminal by the assistant or the customer or inserted into a chip and PIN device. The payment is authorised by the card issuer to ensure that the cardholder has sufficient funds in their account to make the purchase and the cardholder confirms the payment by either signing the sales receipt or entering their 4 to 6-digit PIN.

Merchant, is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.

Merchant Fee, As a business owner, when you set up a merchant account to enable your customers the ability to pay for your products or services using credit cards (or debit cards with a Visa or Mastercard Logo), you will have some fees associated with the credit card transactions. The specific fee amounts that you pay will depend on the merchant account provider you select to provide your credit card processing service; however, there is a list of typical fees that the majority of providers charge business owners in exchange for the ability to accept credit as payment.

MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition), is a character recognition technology used primarily by the banking industry to facilitate the processing of cheques. The technology allows computers to read information (such as account numbers) off printed documents. Unlike barcodes or similar technologies, however, MICR codes can be easily read by humans.

Mzanzi Account is a low income transactional banking account that was developed in line with the commitments of South Africa’s Financial Sector Charter. The Financial Sector Charter requires banks to make banking more accessible to the nation and, specifically, to increase banking reach to all communities. The Mzansi Account is the result of the major South African banks working collectively to provide a standard for new bank accounts, which is affordable, readily available and suits the specific needs of the previously unbanked communities. Each bank has established its own pricing competitively. The collaboration between the banks has allowed Mzansi account holders to make use of any of the participating banks’ ATMs at no additional cost – effectively creating a network of over ten thousand ATMs across the country and extending the banking platform to the greater community. This is augmented by point of sale functionality available at retailers. The Mzansi Account is issued by the following South African banks:

  • Absa Group Limited
  • FNB
  • Nedcor
  • Standard Bank
  • Postbank

NAEDO (Non-Authenticated Early Debit Order) is a collection system that allows you to set future dated collections to take place early in the day, closer to the payment window, to improve collection rates. is a National Credit Act initiative which strives to prohibit preferential collection systems and to create equal opportunity for creditors to collect funds from debtors. The National Payment Systems Act provides for NAEDO, which dictates that transactions presented for payment from financial institutions and creditors are randomly presented for payment. This ensures a level playing field for priority collections.

NCA (National Credit Act), The NCA became fully operational in South Africa on 1 June 2007. The NCA replaces the Usury Act, 73 of 1968, the Credit Agreements Act, Act 75 of 1980 and the Integration of Usury Laws Act, 57 of 1996, which was the primary legislation governing the granting of credit within the financial services industry since 1968. In essence, the NCA is designed to promote a fair and non-discriminatory marketplace in South Africa. As such, Nedbank fully supports the NCA and is doing everything in its power to ensure that the manner in which it grants credit always upholds the intentions and requirements of the legislation, while still meeting the varied lending requirements of all its clients in a responsible manner.

NPS (National Payments System) provides management and administration, operations, regulations and supervision of payment, clearing and settlement systems in the Republic of South Africa, and to provide for connected matters. It is governed by the National Payments Act 78 of 1998.

‘Not on us’ Transactions, means that the bank that issue your card is not the same as the one which owns the ATM or POS terminals on which you made the transaction.

‘On Us’ Transactions, means that the bank that issue your card is the same as the one which owns the ATM or POS terminals on which you made the transaction.

PASA (Payments Association of South Africa) recognised by the SARB as a payment system management body in terms of the NPS Act which was promulgated only during October 1998. PASA performs a crucial function in the South African economy by assisting the SARB in managing the safety and integrity of the NPS, through which all payments between financial institutions must flow.

PCI – DSS The (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance is a set of specific security standards developed by the payment brands** to help promote the adoption of consistent data security measures that are needed to protect sensitive payment-card information. The standard applies to all organizations which hold, process, or exchange cardholder information from any card branded with the logo of the payment brand companies.

PCH / ACH (Payment Clearing House / Automated Clearing House): Bilateral, legally binding arrangement by 2 or more banks settlement system participants (excluding the designated system operator), governing the clearing of payment instructions to be settled by SARB’s settlement participants.

Or could be defined as is an electronic network for financial transactions. PCH / ACH processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches.

PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a secret numeric password shared between a user and a system that can be used to authenticate the user to the system. PINs are most often used for automated teller machines (ATMs) but are increasingly used at the point of sale, for debit cards and credit cards. Throughout Europe and Canada the traditional in-store credit card signing process is increasingly being replaced with a system where the customer is asked to enter their PIN instead of signing. In the UK and Ireland this goes under the term ‘Chip and PIN’, since PINs were introduced at the same time as EMV chips on the cards. In other parts of the world, PINs have been used before the introduction of EMV. Apart from financial uses, GSM mobile phones usually allow the user to enter a PIN of between 4 and 8 digits. The PIN is recorded in the SIM card.

POS (Point of Sale), A hardware payment device used to swipe Debit and Credit cards for payment. This device enables payments to be authorised through the acquiring bank.

RTC (Real Time Clearing), Customers are able to move single credit payments e.g. account payments in real-time (within 60 seconds) to beneficiaries – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – using RTC service on-line. The system is integrated with the Central Bank settlement service, supports multiple settlement windows and includes the ability to force settlement when a participating bank’s daily exposure limit is reached. Access to a web-based transaction look-up facility, management information and intra-day exposure (IDE) values are part of the offering.

SARB (The South African Reserve Bank) is the central bank of the Republic of South Africa. The primary purpose of the Bank is to achieve and maintain price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in South Africa. Together with other institutions, it also plays a pivotal role in ensuring financial stability.

SASWITCH, BankservAfrica’s SASWITCH service enables clients of any participating bank to draw money from ATM’s belonging to any other participating bank. This service is available to credit and debit card holders. All domestic transactions with a valid bank identification number (BIN) are switched between acquiring and issuing financial institutions. ATM card transactions bearing an international BIN are not switched via BankservAfrica. Once a transaction is received from an acquiring financial institution, BankservAfrica applies PIN security algorithms, secures the transaction on both the BankservAfrica primary and disaster recovery (DR) processors, and then forwards the transaction to the issuing financial institution. This is followed by the standard authorised / not-authorised response to the acquiring financial institution.

Security concern or ‘pop-up’ 

It is a notification selected in the cardholder’s computer settings.

The browser setting is to warn if one moves from https://… to http://….

The “security” pop-up appears when VCS (https://…) tries to redirect the browser to the http://… response page. The only unencrypted information travelling over this ‘unsecure’ connection would be your VCS terminal Id, reference number, bank response and amount –no card related information!

The programmers at Microsoft etc. could have explained it more clearly like i.e.

“Security Notification: You are now LEAVING a secure site. Any information you enter HEREAFTER is not encrypted….”

When one clicks the Submit button on the VCS payment page VCS processed the transaction.

The transaction was already completed (we’ve already received the bank’s response) when we tried to redirect.

If one clicks the Cancel button on the “security” pop-up, one will only end the browser session.

One will not cancel the VCS transaction by clicking on the Cancel button,  one will only cancel the diversion to the response page.

For an immediate solution to the problem where the cardholder’s browser warns him/her when they move from the VCS https (secure) page to the non secure page, you can do the following:

  1. Buy a security certificate from http://www.verisign.com/ or from http://www.thawte.com/ to make your response pages also secure. The cardholder’s browser won’t generate the pop-up warning because the cardholder will stay in a secure environment.
  1. Or one can modify the http method of the response pages to FETCH & POST. VCS (https) will request the approved or declined page from the merchant’s website, store and send the result returned to the cardholder’s browser. In this case the merchant cannot use any relative addressing in the page. The merchant must use absolute addressing in the response pages.

Or one can add the call-back function as a safety net in case a cardholder closes his browser prematurely. The call-back function is a background task to ensure that the merchant is notified a second time in the case where a problem occurred on the cardholder’s browser and the merchant did not receive the original response.

The cardholder loaded a browser setting to warn if they move from https://.. to http://.

popup1

The “security” pop-up appeared when VCS (https) tried to redirect her browser to your approved page (http).

This is what the Internet Explorer message looks like:

popup2

This is what the Fire Fox message looks like:

popup3

STRATE the licensed Central Securities Depository (CSD) for the electronic settlement of financial instruments in South Africa. Strate’s core purpose is to mitigate risk, bring efficiencies to the South African financial markets and improve its profile as an investment destination. Strate is aligned to international best practices and continually strives to ensure operational excellence and provide enhancements for the good of the Southern African financial markets. Strate handles the settlement of a number of securities including equities and bonds for the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) as well as a range of derivative products such as warrants, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), retail notes and tracker funds. It has now added the settlement of money market securities to its portfolio of services. It provides services to Issuers for their investors in terms of the Companies Act and Securities Services Act (SSA), 2004.

VISA is a global payments technology company headquartered on 595 Market Street in San Francisco, California. It facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit card and debit cards. Visa does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers; rather, Visa provides financial institutions with Visa-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, prepaid and cash-access programs to their customers.