The Terminology of Card Machines

Some aspects of card machines are incredibly simple – mostly how easy it is to spend money so quickly! But there are also lots of complex and confusing terms associated with them that you, as a business owner, might want a little clarity on. 

Here at Business Quotes, you can compare card machine prices to find the best one on the market. No matter what sector your business is in and how much money you’re planning to take, we’ve got you covered. 

Alongside this, we’ve put together this handy glossary with the most commonly encountered terms associated with card machines and a simple explanation for each one. If you have any questions, or if you’re ready to compare card machine costs for your business, get in touch with us today!

Card Declined 

Never a nice feeling, this message occurs when a transaction can’t be authorised, either due to a lack of funds or perhaps a new card being used for the first time. 


Contactless payments have soared in popularity in recent years and developed significantly. Customers can pay with certain debit or credit cards wirelessly on electronic card machines and also receive refunds. This is even easier now with mobile phones using features like Apple Pay. 

Credit Cards

These allow customers to make purchases ‘on credit’ accruing a balance to be paid at a later date, after which additional charges and interest may occur. 

Debit Cards

These allow customers to purchase goods and services using money from a current account. 

taxi credit card machines

E-Commerce (or, Ecommerce)

Short for electronic commerce, this term refers to transactions carried out across the web. 

Electronic Point of Sale

Electronic Point of Sale, or EPOS, is the digital location of a transaction. In an online marketplace of interconnected networks, EPOS systems are a key asset for businesses to maintain stock levels across multiple sites and other sales figures, which can then be accessed from anywhere. 


An increasingly common feature of card machines, an initial or final gratuity step allows customers to leave a tip or service charge alongside the cost of their items or services. 

Payment Gateway

This is the software that talks between the acquiring bank and the issuing bank to authorise payments and move funds. Payment gateways offer an additional layer of security, which is vital for anyone using card machines – on both sides of the counter. 


This is a popular term for card readers and stands – quite amusingly – for ‘Process Data Quickly.’ Which is exactly what they can do. 


Often mistakenly called PIN number (which would mean ‘Personal Identification Number Number’), this usually-four-digit code allows consumers to authenticate payments on card machines with a credit or debit card. These are not required for contactless payments. 

taxi credit card machines

Point of Sale

Also known as POS for short, this is the physical location of a sales transaction. It’s where money changes hands, either physically or electronically, and where card machines are perhaps most needed. 

Point-to-point Encryption

Helpfully shortened to P2PE, this is the security standard for card details being encrypted instantly when used. This ensures the information is transferred securely to the payment processor to be decrypted and processed. 

Prepaid Card

As an alternative to credit and debit cards, these are cards with access to funds deposited in a separate account advance with a chosen balance to use up. 


Card machines can debit a previous payment back to the customer, either in part or in full. This can be done by the customer inserting the payment card or through contactless, just as with purchases. 


The cancellation of a transaction from either party.

Categories: Advice, Card Machines

Tags: , ,