Business Prepaid Card Glossary of Terms

Business prepaid cards are a powerful tool, but getting started can be like learning a new language.  They may look like credit cards but don’t be fooled, there is a lot to learn. We make it easy – Start here!
(and if you think you’re ready, start comparing cards!)


Someone the business owner authorizes to make configuration changes to your account, such as creating/deleting cards, adding/removing users, setting card controls, exporting transactions, etc.


Technology that informs you when something happens on your account, such as unauthorized spending, a decline, or a purchase exceeding some threshold.


The process through which your business prepaid card account application is approved or declined, and how long this process takes. Usually either instantly by the card issuer, or lagging a few days to weeks for banking partner approval.


The fee that is charged by the business prepaid card issuer for any ATM transactions.


The process by which funds are automatically loaded into your card master account, triggered either by a set time period (e.g. 1st of the month, every Wednesday), or low balance threshold.


This will list the availability of the cards in question. As the business prepaid card space is relatively new, and new companies are appearing all of the time, some offerings may be in “beta” or not yet available for general release. If a card program has launched, you will see the launch date.

Banking Partner Disclosure

The statement that defines who the underlying accredited banking institution who manages the financial plumbing upon which the prepaid card program operates.  In general, prepaid business card providers (AKA “Issuers” or “Acquirers”) are not banks and require a banking partner as well as a Network, and a Processor.

Cancellation Fee

The fee charged when you cancel your account.

Card Account

The structure of the card program wherein each business prepaid card has its own “Card Account” into which money can be transferred from the Master Account, which maximizes the control of fund distribution.

Contract Term

How long your billing period is.  As most products operate on a SaaS model, it’s generally 30 days.

Country of Origin

Where the issuing company is located geographically (e.g. USA, UK, etc.).  This is generally the first country where that company’s card can be used.

Decline Fee

The fee charged for a declined transaction.  Most Issuers don’t charge for declines.

Employee Card

A card issued to an employee that contains the employee’s name as well as the business name.

Foreign Transaction Fee

The fee that is charged for any foreign transaction. Commonly, up to 2.5%.

Gas Card

A “Utility Card” that is configured to allow only, or mostly, gas purchases.

Gift Card

A generic term for a prepaid card that is merchant specific (e.g. Amazon Gift Card) or drug store gift card (e.g. Wal-greens).


The fee that Merchants pay to the Networks to accept payment cards. Usually, 2.5-3.5%.  This fee is distributed and shared at differing rates amongst all the parties that touch the transaction, such as the card Issuer, Processor, Network, Bank, etc.


he institution (e.g. retailer, bank or government department) that issues the card and bears the economic and legal responsibility, liability and risk for their customer’s activities.

KYC (Know Your Customer)

A mandate stipulated by the U.S. government in support of the Patriot Act for which Issuers are required to know and verify their customer or cardholder’s true identity.


The maximum amount of money that a business can have in their account, or the maximum amount of money that can be spent in a single transaction. Limits are set by the Bank and must be enforced by the Issuer.


The act of adding or “loading” money into your business prepaid card Master Account from your bank account.

Load Fee

The fee you pay for each Load, if the Issuer charges a fee.


The business that accepts business prepaid cards and is engaged in the trade of retail goods & services, physical, on-line, or both. In other words a store or place of business.

MCC (Merchant Category Code)

The 4-digit code that every Merchant is assigned by their Network based upon their industry. Each transaction includes that Merchant’s MCC and this is used to control allowed purchases by the Processor’s technology.

Monthly Statement

The monthly ledger document that details the starting balance, debits, credits, refunds, and ending balance.


Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover each operate their own card network, to which Merchant’s belong in order to accept cards from that network. Networks are responsible for activation and redemption, debit, credit and prepaid card products.

New Card Fee

The fee that is charged when each new card is issued if the Issuer charges a fee.

Overdraft Fee

See “Decline Fee”

Payment Processing Network (AKA “Network”)

Visa, MasterCard, AMEX and Discover each operate their own payment processing network. A merchant must be signed up for each network separately to accept that type of card.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)

4-digit security code that is required for PIN card swipe transactions. PIN transactions do not draw Interchange fees, but signature swipes do.

PIN Transaction

A card swipe transaction that requires the card to be present and the user to enter their PIN. No Interchange fees are incurred on PIN Transactions.


Usually for gas purchases a Merchant’s Network or Processor will allocate or put a preauthorization “hold” on a certain amount of funds, generally $75 to $100, before the final purchase amount is settled, as you swipe at the beginning of the transaction. Once the final amount is settled, the preauth amount will be released, however it may take several days.


The technology partner who processes all of the transactions, controls logic, and maintains the log of all card activity.  Another required partner in the business prepaid card ecosystem.

Prepaid Card

A card that is pre-loaded with funds that swipes like a credit card and can also be used along with a PIN for non-signature transactions on any supporting Network.

Receipt Upload/Capture

The ability to upload a receipt or capture a photo and associate it with a purchase.


A card that can have funds loaded onto it repeatedly. Used synonymously with Prepaid products.

Replenishing Card Limit

A card account structure where cards do not have their own accounts, but access the funds in the Master Account through replenishing limits, as defined by the card controls (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly).


An incentive or loyalty program that offers points, miles or rebates based upon spend, not typically a feature of prepaid cards.

Signature Transaction

A typical card swipe transaction that requires a signature, like a credit card transaction. Signature Transactions incur Interchange fees.

Sign-up Fee

A fee paid to the Issuer when you sign-up for an account.


“Short Message Service” AKA text message through which you can receive alerts, or control card controls.

SMS Text Control

The ability to set card controls via text message.


How the card accounts are configured by the issuer.  Generally, there are two possible structures. See “Card Accounts” and “Replenishing Limit” Accounts.


The ability to segment cards, controls and users by division, or to connect an additional bank account.  This is generally required by companies or organizations with multiple accounts, franchises, or divisions that need separate accounting.


The ability to associate one or more custom labels to code each transaction to simplify accounting.

Transaction Fee

A fee charged for each transaction.

Trial (Free)

Generally a 30, 60 or 90-day trial use of a prepaid card account without a monthly SaaS fee.

Utility Card

A general use card that includes the company name, and any other custom label, but does not contain an employee’s name, and can be shared among employees. Examples include “Petty Cash” cards or “Gas” cards. Controls can be set just like on an Employee card.

Virtual Card

A card number, without a physical card, that can be created in real-time online.  Usually a single-use card number used for a single type of purchase, say a SaaS subscription fee that can be cancelled at any time.

Works In

Lists all of the countries where you can use that specific business prepaid card.  If you have salespeople that travel, this will be very important. Not all cards can be used in all countries, so make sure to check the card comparison tool and select which country you and your employees need your card to work in.

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