What CVV, PCI, DSS, AVS, ACH, and Other Payment Acronyms Stand For

Acronyms, abbreviations, and other language shortcuts were designed to make it easier for us to communicate. But we use them so frequently that, while we know what they mean, we may forget what they actually stand for. At the same time, some jargon is industry-specific, so an outsider may have a hard time learning what the acronym stands for. Sometimes payment-industry-specific acronyms can start to seem like a foreign language! Let’s look at some common payment acronyms in the card payment sector, what each one stands for, and what it means.

CVV – Card Verification Value

On the back of most credit cards and debit cards on or near the magnetic strip, you’ll see a series of numbers. It’s usually your account number plus three extra digits. Those three digits are referred to as the CVV, sometimes called CSC (Card Security Code) or CVC (Card Verification Code). It’s an additional security feature for online transactions.  In the case of American Express, the CVV appears on the front right of the card, above the account number as four smaller, unembossed digits.

PCI – Payment Card Industry

The PCI Council is a regulatory body with members representing banks, card networks, developers, merchants, and other stakeholders. They designed, assess, and implement a set of twelve recommendations for security during card transactions (see DSS below). The recommendations are not mandatory by law, but many networks trust them, and some (like Visa) refuse to work outside them, making compliance essential if you want to do business with holders of Visa cards.

DSS – Digital Security Standards

The set of 12 recommendations designed by the PCI Council (see PCI, above). If you’d like your organization validated, you can get a PCI-trained specialist to evaluate your business. There’s no actual certificate to prove compliance. You simply get added to the database of PCI-approved vendors.  “Digital Security Standards” is sometimes abbreviated as “PCI DSS,” which stands for the Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standards.

QSA – Qualified Security Assessor

The specialist that verifies PCI compliance. The official PCI website maintains a list of QSAs around the country, so you can look through it and find someone in your neighborhood. As part of the process, you also need a quarterly review by an ASV – Approved Scanning Vendor. They make sure your transaction security is still up to par.

AVS – Address Verification System

Card networks have various security systems to make sure card users are who they say they are. AVS links the card to the owner’s physical address, verifying their identity. Other measures include reviewing identification documents and using ‘secret questions and answers’. CVV / CSC / CVC fall under this category of card security protocols (cee CVV above).

VCR – Visa Claims Resolution

Visa is the most common card in the world, and in 2018, they came up with a new set of rules to combat friendly fraud and chargeback disputes. VCR shortened the resolution process, reduced claim categories from 22 to 4, and offered simpler dispute codes that are easier to select, understand, and identify. Other card networks are expected to adopt these practices.

ACH – Automated Clearing House

In cases where users need to make repeated, pre-planned payments, the ACH network transfers cash safely from bank to bank. It’s done in bulk, cutting costs drastically, as compared with individual wire transfers.

For more information on payment acronyms, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.

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