(application program interface): The specific method prescribed by a
computer operating system, or by another application program, by which a
programmer writing an application program can make requests of the operating
system or another application. Unlike a GUI (graphical user interface),
which is a direct user interface, the API interfaces with an operating
system or a program.
In multi-user computer systems, a system administrator
defines for the system which users are allowed access to the system and
their individual privileges of use (such as access to certain file
directories, hours of access, amount of allocated storage space, and so
forth). When users log in to a secured computer operating system or
application program, the system or application identifies what resources the
user can be given during this session. Authorization can mean both the
preliminary establishment of permissions by a system administrator and the
actual checking of the permission values that have been set up while a user
is requesting access. On the Internet, authorizations are defined for
"anonymous" users that are accessing a system via the Internet.
AVS (Address Verification System):
In 1996, VISA/MasterCard headquarters
introduced a new regulation requiring all businesses who manually key in the
majority of their credit card transactions to have a special fraud
prevention feature on their credit card processing equipment. This feature
is referred to as an address verification system (it checks to see that the
billing address given by the customer matches the credit card). If you opt
not to use AVS, VISA and MasterCard will not support your
transactions and will charge you an additional 1.25% on those sales.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS):
A method used to attach styles such as specific fonts,
colors, and spacing to HTML documents. Because they "cascade," some elements
take precedence over others.
A chargeback occurs when a card holder disputes a credit card
transaction with his or her credit card issuer. The card issuer initiates a
chargeback against the merchant account
amount of the disputed transaction is immediately withdrawn from the
merchant's bank account, and the merchant has 10 days in which to dispute
the chargeback with proof of purchase, signature, proof of delivery, etc. A
chargeback fee is usually assessed to the merchant on top of the actual
The computer in a client/server architecture that requests files or
services. The computer that provides services is called the
. The most common types of client on the
Internet are computers running browsers or e-mail programs. The client may
request file transfer, remote logins, printing, or other available services.
The client also means the software that makes the connection possible.
A Web server that contains the software necessary for
processing customer orders via the Web, including shopping cart programs,
dynamic inventory databases, and online payment systems. Commerce servers
are usually also secure servers
A Web Application
for frequent and efficient updating of Web site content.
Small files that are automatically downloaded from a Web
server to the computer of someone browsing a Web site. Information stored in
cookies can then be accessed any time that computer returns to the site.
Cookies allow Web sites to "personalize" their appearance by identifying
visitors, storing passwords, tracking preferences, and other possibilities.
Credit Card Processors
(or third-party processors):
Merchant services providers
that handle the details of processing credit
card transactions between merchants, issuing banks, and
merchant account providers
. Web site operators usually must first
establish their own merchant account before contracting for credit card
A file or file system containing organized information (for instance:
Product Catalog, Inventory etc.) and,
most commonly, a filing and retrieval system for storing information. Examples of
database software: MySQL, MS Access, MS SQL Server, etc.
dHTML (dynamic HTML):
An extension of HTML
that gives greater
control over the layout of page elements and the ability to have Web pages
that change and interact with the user without having to communicate with
the server. The three components of DHTML pages are HTML,
A percentage fee paid to the merchant account
for handling an electronic
transaction. Most Web merchants pay between two and 10 percent of their
revenue from online credit card or electronic check orders.
A designation for particular location on the Internet. A domain, for example
"www.SitesOutlet.com," contains files that make up the content of Web pages
under that address. Domain names are
associated with IP addresses
To transfer files or data from one computer to another. To
download means "to receive"; to upload means "to transmit."
The processing of economic transactions, such as buying and
selling, through electronic communication. E-commerce often refers to
transactions occurring on the Internet, such as credit card purchases at Web
sites. See also Internet commerce
The user interface that appears on a Web page and allows a
visitor to the site to interact with dynamic features, including
, shopping cart
and online purchase processing software.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language):
A set of codes that determine how a Web page will appear, including
graphics, links, and text characteristics.
HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol):
The protocol most often used to transfer information
from Web servers to browsers, which is why Web addresses begin with
A broad term covering all commercial transactional activities
on the Internet. Internet commerce can range from vendors selling software
from a Web storefront (Web site) to large corporate procurement systems
using an Internet-based VPN (virtual private network) to
deal with trading partners. Internet commerce is not synonymous with
, which covers all electronic commercial
IP Address (Internet protocol
A designation for a particular
location on the Internet, such as "220.127.116.11" IP addresses are
associated with domain names.
A word or phrase used in a search engine query, for example,
to find Web documents relating to a particular subject.
MAP (Merchant Account Provider):
A bank or other institution that hosts merchant accounts and processes
online credit card transactions. The term is also often used broadly to
include any credit card processing service.
A bank account established by a merchant to receive the
proceeds of credit card purchases. By establishing a merchant account, the
agrees to pay the merchant for
valid credit card purchases in exchange for the right to collect on the debt
owed by the consumer.
A bank that holds a merchant
. After a consumer buys a product using a credit card, the
merchant bank places funds into a merchant account in exchange for the right
to collect on the debt owed by a consumer. See also merchant
A special HTML
tag that provides
information about a Web page. Unlike normal HTML tags,
meta tags do not affect how the page is displayed. Instead, they provide
information such as who created the page, how often it is updated, what the
page is about, and which keywords represent the page's content. Many search
engines use this information when building their indices.
Merchant Services Provider:
A bank or other firm that
provides services for processing financial transactions, usually credit card
sales. Many MSPs provide merchant accounts
while others require their clients to establish merchant accounts on their
The minimum amount in fees and percentages charged by a
merchant services provider
in a given month. If account
activity does not generate the monthly minimum, the account holder must make
up the difference.
The code that transmits a customer's order to and from a
merchant's bank's transaction-authorizing agent — usually a
MAP (merchant account provider)
. See also payment gateway provider.
A company that provides code and/or
software for an e-commerce site to enable it to transfer information from
its shopping cart to the acquiring bank, and on through the rest of the
credit card transaction. See also payment gateway.
POS Terminal (Point of Sale
An electronic device used for verifying and processing credit
card transactions. If the credit card is available, the merchant can swipe
the card through the terminal.
A set of rules that regulate the way data is transmitted
Regular, usually monthly, charges for maintaining a
merchant account. Recurring fees include the
, transaction fees
statement fee, and monthly minimum
The verification and processing of credit card
transactions immediately following a purchase. Real-time verification on the
Web usually takes less than five minutes. Real-time verification is
especially important for Web sites that sell products and services that
consumers expect immediately, such as memberships to the site or software
SET (Secure Electronic Transaction):
A system for encrypting e-commerce transactions, such
as online credit card purchases. Developed by Visa, MasterCard, Microsoft,
and several major banks, SET combines 1,024-bit encryption with digital
certificates to ensure security. SET is still in development.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer):
A system for encrypting data sent over the Internet,
including e-commerce transactions and passwords. With SSL, client and server
computers exchange public keys, allowing them to encode and decode their
A program that lets you do keyword
searches for information on the Web or within a website.
A Web server or other computer connected to the Internet that
is capable of establishing encrypted communication with clients, generally
The computer in a client/server architecture that supplies files or services.
The computer that requests services is called the client
Fees charged for establishing a
, including application fees, software licensing fees,
and equipment purchases.
Shopping cart software allows the
cardholder to select items from an online store and place them in a virtual
shopping basket or shopping cart. The shopping cart remembers which items
are selected while the cardholder views other items within the online web-store, keeps a running total, and may calculate taxes and shipping.
The items in the shopping cart are eventually ordered if the cardholder
within a data structure that gives instructions for formatting or other
documents are set up using HTML tags,
which serve various functions, such as controlling the styling of text and
placement of graphic elements and providing links to interactive programs
A charge for each credit card transaction, collected by
the MAP (merchant account provider)
Transaction fees usually fall between $0.20 and $1 (U.S.).
URL (Uniform Resource Locator):
An address for a file (or page) located on the
Internet, usually the Web. Example: "www.sitesoutlet.com."
A software application that is
accessible using a web browser
. It typically consists of
a client tier (the web browser), a presentation tier (web servers
) and a
tier. The application
may be spread over multiple presentation tiers and indeed use multiple
application tiers, using multiple database sources.
A software application that allows for the browsing of the World Wide Web.
Example: MS Internet Explorer.
A Web hosting company leases server
space and Web services to companies and
individuals who wish to present a Web or e-commerce presence but do not wish
to maintain their own servers. The servers are connected to the same fast
Internet backbone. Cost structures are
determined by the amount and complexity of services offered, such as
scripting tools, database tools, multimedia streams, statistics, etc.
A computer dedicated to storing the various files that make
up Web pages and the protocols needed for communicating with other computers
via the Internet.