Terms to Know

Magnetic Stripe

A stripe of magnetic information that is affixed to the back of a plastic credit or debit card. This stripe contains customer and account information that is required to complete electronic financial transactions. The physical and magnetic characteristics of this stripe are specified in the International Organization for Standardization standards 7810, 7811 and 7813.

Magnetic-Stripe Data

Also referred to as “track data.” Data encoded in the magnetic stripe or chip used for authentication and/or authorization during payment transactions. Can be the magnetic stripe image on a chip or the data on the track 1 and/or track 2 portion of the magnetic stripe.

Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO)

A transaction where a cardholder orders goods or services from a merchant by telephone, mail or other means of telecommunication, and where neither the card nor the cardholder is present at the merchant outlet.


MasterCard is a global bank card payments brand and network that provides its services to banks and merchants as follows:

  • Franchisor:  Through the thousands of financial institutions that are MasterCard’s customers, the company markets a strong portfolio of brands and products worldwide, including MasterCard, Maestro®, Cirrus® and MasterCard® PayPass™.  With these, MasterCard offers a network of more than 24 million acceptance locations around the world and, in many cases, guarantees payment through its system.  (It does not, however, issue cards, set annual fees, determine annual percentage rates on cards, or solicit merchants to accept cards.  MasterCard’s customers, a myriad of financial institutions worldwide, manage the relationships with their cardholders and with merchants.)
  • Processor:  MasterCard’s processing enables efficient commerce on a global scale. 

MasterCard Acquirer

A member that signs a MasterCard merchant agreement or disburses currency to a MasterCard cardholder in a cash disbursement, and directly or indirectly enters the resulting transaction receipt into interchange.

MasterCard Issuer

A member that issues MasterCard cards.


A person or company selling products or services to consumers, contracted with a merchant bank or ISO to originate credit card, debit card, stored value, and/or EBT transactions.

Merchant Bank

Bank that has a merchant agreement with a merchant to accept (acquire) deposits generated by bankcard transactions.

Merchant Identification Number (MID)

This number is generated by a processor/acquirer and is specific to each individual merchant location. This number helps to identify the merchant during processing of daily transactions, rejects, adjustments, charge-backs, end-of-month processing fees, and more.