Credit cards

Most contain a credit card strip reader to read magnetically enclosed card information.

Many have a built-in telephone or have the capability of being connected to a telephone, thereby gaining access to a voice line.

Newer models contain microprocessors and sufficient data storage for handling data capture and polled data transmission and settlement.

The terminals contain various levels of intelligence to create the multiple protocol and message formats to properly transmit and receive information over multiple vendor data/interchange networks.

Access to voice authorization networks is provided for over “floor limit” and other exception authorization transactions.

Data entry and function keys and minimum visual display are provided to create electronic data transmission and receive automated authorization.

• Retail authorization terminals can be connected to multiple credit card authorization data networks. The network entered is that of the primary service provider (financial institution, credit card association, commercial processing vendor, and more recently VAN vendor(s)). Accounts not held by the primary vendor are routed through credit card interchange networks to other card authorization centers or to financial institutions.

• Large, and increasingly, medium size retailers are installing electronic cash registers with comprehensive voice and electronic interfaces to credit card authorization networks. Newer units have full voice and data communications capabilities integrated with ECR resulting in a comprehensive POS system.

ECRs enter credit card authorization networks via a local (in store/area) switch. The authorization can be routed either directly to credit card authorization networks or via the retail host network (national/regional retailers) to credit card authorization data networks or credit card interchange networks.

Authorization transactions

Alternate numbers are usually provided to reduce, but far from eliminate, busy signals.

The retailer is connected to the data entry operator at a credit card authorization center at a financial institution, a bank card association, or most frequently a commercial vendor. The data entry operator enters the authorization request into the local host processor. The authorization process first checks against a negative data base (lost, stolen, hot, closed, etc.) accounts.

The process next checks to see if the account is held locally. If not held locally, the transaction is transmitted through credit card data interchange networks to the appropriate authorization center.

Financial institutions establish individual criteria (i.e., maximum transaction amount, number of transactions per account per day, etc.) for credit card authorization center approval.

Authorization transactions not meeting pre-established criteria are routed to the client financial institution of credit card authorization transactions and are transmitted to the retailer either via the data terminal-data entry operator or increasingly more frequently by audio response units.

Once connection is made, voice initiated credit card authorizations are accomplished in from 10-40 seconds. Use of audio response units reduce average transaction time by approximately 25%.

A wide variety of retail authorization terminals are used to access multiple credit card voice and data authorization networks.

The terminals contain modems and automatic dialing capability to speed up the connection process.