Automated teller machine (ATM): A self-service unit that lets a user with appropriate identification and account relations carry out financial transactions such as cash withdrawal.

Biometrics: Methods of personal authentication that rely on electronic sensing of a unique personal characteristic such as a fingerprint.

Dedicated network: A communications facility established for a specific purpose. Each remote terminal on the network is assigned to a specific termination point.

Electronic funds transfer: Any funds transfer that is sent electronically, either by telecommunication or written on magnetic media such as tape, cassette, or disk.

Encryption: Using ciphers to alter information before it is transmitted over a network. Encryption ensures, to the greatest extent possible, that messages cannot be read or altered during transmission.

Float: The value of funds tied up in the payments process. Also, funds that become available to an account holder before a related payment has cleared; this may occur with a funds deposit or withdrawal.

Hand geometry: A method of personal authentication based on the characteristics of an individual's hand (e.g., its shape, dimensions, etc.).

Issuer: A financial institution or other organization responsible for supplying credit cards, debit accounts, checks, electronic tokens, etc. An issuer sets the card or account holder's credit limit, pays for his/her purchases, and funds the free credit period and any extended credit.

Handwritten signature recognition: A personal authentication technique based on pen acceleration and pressure during signature writing.

Key: A secret value used in an encrypting algorithm known by one or both of the communicating parties; it is similar to a combination number for a vault. A symmetric key is used to control both the encryption and decryption processes. Public key encryption uses a pair of different values to control a related encryption and decryption process: the sender encrypts with the receiver's public key, and the receiver decrypts with his/her private key. A session key uses a unique key for a simple data exchange or set of data exchanges.

Key management: The process by which keys are distributed to usage points while kept in a protected form by encryption.

Off-line: A mode of operation that does not require a network and/or third-party authentication.

On-line: A mode of operation that does require a network and/or third-party authentication.

Paper cash: Bank notes and coins.

Personal authentication: Techniques used to authenticate an individual (i.e., validate an individual's unique identity) by testing for knowledge of secret codes or unique physical traits.

Personal identification number (PIN): A unique number used to identify a customer when using credit and debit cards in ATMs, etc. PINs are normally four- to six-digits long and are to be kept secret by the user.

Protocol: A specified procedure or process used to achieve a specific and common result, such as a network communications message format.

Remote: A transfer mode that, among other things, allows payment transactions to be conducted over public networks between two or more parties that are physically separated.

Retinal scan: A personal authentication technique based on infrared scan of the eye


Smart card: A card form device containing a microprocessor.

Validate: Substantiate that the elements of a financial transaction are correct, appropriate, and acceptable.