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Glossary

A

Acquirer

The party adhering to a circuit, which signs and manages contractual agreements with merchants to accept payments through cards or other payment instrument.

ATM (“Automated teller machine”)

Automated machine to undertake transactions such as withdrawing cash, requesting account information, and, where possible, paying in cash or checks, making bank transfers, making payments (e.g. fines, utility bills, phone top-ups, etc.). The cardholder activates the ATM by inserting a payment card (whether a debit, credit or prepaid card) and types in their secret personal code (PIN).

B

BANCOMAT® / PagoBANCOMAT®

Payment circuits with a debit or prepaid card, which operate nationally. They respectively allow the withdrawal of cash from ATMs which are set up to operate on the BANCOMAT® circuit and the payment of goods and services at merchants belonging to the PagoBANCOMAT® circuit. To access the services of the circuits, it is necessary to use a card with a BANCOMAT®/PagoBANCOMAT® trademark on terminals which are set up for the same circuits.

C

Credit card (“Pay Later”)

Payment instrument which enables the Cardholder, on the basis of a contract with the issuer, to purchase goods or services or withdraw cash on the circuit or circuits present on the card. The amounts spent or withdrawn are charged at a time agreed with the issuer, which is subsequent to that of the transaction. Payment by the Cardholder takes place on pre-set schedule, normally monthly, in a single payment or, if envisaged by the contract, on an instalment basis (so-called revolving credit cards); it can be made via a charge on a bank account, which is pre-authorised by the Cardholder, or by other methods. Purchase and withdrawal transactions are generally subject to a maximum use (the so-called credit limit) which is defined in the contract.

Cardholder

The party holding a card or other payment instrument in their own name, by virtue of a contract with the Issuer.

D

Debit card (“Pay Now”)

Payment instrument which enables the Cardholder, on the basis of a contract with the issuer, to purchase goods or services or withdraw cash on the circuit or circuits present on the card. The amounts spent or withdrawn are charged on the account at the same time as the transaction. The charge occurs immediately for each individual payment or withdrawal.

M

Multifunction card

Joint debit and credit card. The Cardholder can choose whether to make a payment using the debit function or the credit function.

P

Prepaid card (“Pay Before”)

Payment instrument which is issued against a prepayment of funds to the issuer, the value of which diminishes each time the card is used to make payments or withdrawals. Prepaid cards can be “anonymous” or to a named individual.  Anonymous prepaid cards can be either rechargeable (disposable cards with a maximum value in Italy of 500 euro) or not (with a maximum annual limit of 2,500 euro). Prepaid cards issued to a named person have a maximum value which differs from issuer to issuer and can be topped up more than once, including remotely and by other people. A recent development in prepaid cards consists of the so-called “account card” which has an IBAN that incorporates some features of a payment account, such as for example the possibility of making and receiving bank transfers.

Payment circuit

Platform consisting of a series of rules and procedures which, by using a particular payment card or other payment instrument, allow to make withdrawals and to make and receive payments.

Payment card

Payment instrument which enables the Cardholder, on the basis of a contract with the issuer, to make purchases at retailers or to withdraw cash from ATMs. In order to make payments and withdrawals the Cardholder must verify that the merchant or ATM display the same trademarks as present on the card. These trademarks identify the circuit or circuits with which the card is set up to operate. Payment cards are classified as debit, credit or prepaid cards.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)

Secret personal code consisting of a numeric sequence associated with only one card or one payment instrument, to guarantee its exclusive use by its Cardholder.

POS (Point Of Sale)

Machine which enables the payment of goods and services using a card or other payment instrument. The device allows the transfer of the information necessary for authorisation and registration, in real time or subsequently, of the payment. The POS terminal can also be virtual; it is a solution which enables the management of online payments through a dedicated web page.

I

Interchange fee

Amount exchanged between Authorised Parties on the same payment circuit; it concerns transactions in which the Acquirer that manages the POS or ATM terminal is different from the Issuer of the payment card (for example, a withdrawal using a card from an ATM of a bank different from that which issued the card). The interchange fee is generally set by the party that manages the circuit.

Issuer

The party belonging to a circuit which issues cards or other payment instrument, by signing and managing contractual agreements with Cardholders.