Glossary: Helpful EFTPOS Terms

When trying to find the right EFTPOS solution, businesses are bombarded with industry phrases and jargon. Our glossary below covers some common terms that come up in the payments space.


Merchant – In the payments space, your business will often be referred to as a “merchant.”

Merchant Service Fee (MSF) – The Merchant Service Fee (MSF) represents the cost incurred by a bank when a merchant makes a transaction through an EFTPOS terminal. It is charged to the merchant per transaction by their bank. It consists of two separate figures;

  • Credit Card Service Fee – This is calculated as a percentage of the total sales price. (Example: 1% MSF incurred on a $200 sale = $2 in credit card service fees.)
  • Debit Card Service Fee – This is calculated as a dollar figure of the total sales price. (Example: $0.25 MSF incurred on a $200 = $0.25 in debit card service fees.)

Hardware/Terminal Rental Fee – This refers to the amount charged each month to rent an EFTPOS terminal. Some businesses might not offer rentals and instead the business may need to purchase a compatible terminal outright. Or, the terminal rental might not be charged if the business meets certain criteria (like with Smartpay Zero Cost™ EFTPOS!). 

Minimum MSF – This represents an agreement between the merchant and the bank that if a merchant doesn’t incur a specific amount every month in fees, then the bank is entitled to take that amount as a fee. This ensures the bank will always receive an agreed amount every month in fees.

Merchant Identification (MID) – Merchant Identification or MID is a unique number given to each merchant upon approval of their application. It uniquely Identifies a merchant to their bank and each merchant is given only one MID.

Terminal Identification (TID) – The Terminal Identification or TID is a unique number given to each individual terminal. A bank will use this number to identify specific terminals (especially if a merchant maintains multiple terminals in one site).

Merchant Facility – Refers to the EFTPOS terminal or “facility” provided to you by your bank to accept payments by cards.

Acquirer – Essentially refers to a bank. They acquire transactions for merchants, sort, separate and send them to the necessary bank to transfer the money and complete the transaction.

EMV (Europay / MasterCard / Visa) – Refers to the method of authenticating credit or debit card payments using a security microchip, containing personal data embedded in the card.

PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance – Is required by every EFTPOS terminal in Australia and ensures a terminal is built to a specific set of security codes designed to protect customer and security information at the point of a transaction.

Participation Fee – Some banks will charge merchants a Participation Fee, this is to cover the cost of administration functions over the last billing period.

Refund Transaction Fee – A cost charged to the merchant whenever they transact a refund through their EFTPOS terminal. This is usually a premium figure much higher than the standard Debit Service Fee for a regular sale.

Chargeback – This is when a bank removes/holds the funds of a disputed transaction. For example, a merchant makes a sale of $20, one month later the customer disputes the transaction and claims the credit card was stolen. The bank will remove the $20 from the merchant’s account and apply a chargeback fee.

Chargeback Fee – Refers to a fee incurred by the merchant when there is a disputed transaction. This is usually charged at a premium.

Floor Limit – Refers to the total value of sales which the merchant is authorised to process through the EFTPOS terminal without requiring further approval from the merchant’s bank.

Was this helpful?