Jargon Buster:

The world of merchant services can be incredibly confusing, so we at Service Central wanted to explain some of the terms and what they mean.


Acquiring Banks – An acquiring bank (or acquirer) is a bank that accepts and processes card payments across networks including MasterCard and Visa on a merchant’s behalf.

E-Commerce – E-commerce is short for ‘electronic commerce’, a term used to describe any commercial transactions conducted across the Internet.

Payment Gateway – A payment gateway is the software that transmits financial information between the acquiring bank and the issuing bank in order to authorise payments

Interchange – Interchange fees describe the fees that the merchant’s bank account pays each time a customer makes a card-based transactions. The fees are paid to the acquiring bank to cover the potential cost associated with approving payments.

Merchant Account – A merchant account is a type of bank account that enables businesses to accept payments in multiple ways, usually credit and debit card transactions.

Point Of Sale –  Point of sale is the physical location a payment for goods or services are carried out  – and cover everything from cash payments to card transactions

Electronic Point of Sale – Also known as EPOS, specifically refers to digital or electronic till systems that encompass transactions made outside of the point of sale (POS) location. EPOS systems have wide-ranging functionality and companies often use them to draw accurate stock-level statistics or sales data to help run operations more efficiently.

Contactless – Contactless refers to technologies that allow certain types of debit or credit cards to contact wirelessly to an electronic card reader in order to make a card payment

Payment Terminal – A payment terminal is a device that interfaces with debit or credit cards to make electronic funds transfers

Shopping Cart – A shopping cart is an electronic commerce software that acts as the user-interface for customers shopping online.

Merchant Accounts:

CHP – Cardholder Present – A payment details are captured in person, at the time of the sale.

CNP – Cardholder not Present – A card, not present (CNP) transaction occurs when neither the cardholder nor the credit card is physically present at the time of the transaction. EG, over the phone payments.

MID – Merchant Identification – A unique number assigned to a merchant account to identify it throughout the course of processing activities

MMSC – Minimum Monthly Service Charge – Most merchant account providers charge a Minimum Transaction Fee if the total transaction processing fees for the month do not add up to a minimum amount. Please note, that Service Central does not charge this fee.

PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards formed in 2004 by Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, JCB International and American Express. Governed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), the compliance scheme aims to secure credit and debit card transactions against data theft and fraud.


If you would like, a FREE review of your current costings, or would like some more information about what Service Central can support you with then please get in touch with our dedicated UK based team on;

0333 9969 334



What is it?

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SME’s) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a resule of the COVID-19 outbreak. The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. Read more at the Government’s Business Support website.

As of 17th December, the UK Government has announced that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will be extended until 31st March 2021.

How does it work?

CBILS is done via accredited lenders who are currently working to provide finance. They include many types including:

  • High street banks
  • Challenger banks
  • Asset-based lenders
  • Smaller specialist local lenders

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The loan scheme can be available for up to 6 years, depending on the type of finance applied for.


You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • Is based in the UK
  • Has an annual turnover of up to £45 million

You will need to show that your business:

  • Would be viable if it were not for the pandemic
  • Has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

You cannot apply if you are:

  • A bank, insurer or reinsurer
  • Public sector body
  • State funded primary or secondary school

How do I apply?

If you would like more information, or the options then please get in touch.


The ISDN Switch Off – Don’t be left in the dark!

What is ISDN?

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. This network is the current infrastructure that the UK uses for voice and data communication. The current network is built up of two elements, traditional ISDN (in the form of copper cables) and new superfast fibre (in the form of fibre optic cables). The copper cable is what is called the ‘ISDN network’. This infrastructure is currently maintained and operated by Openreach.

A lot of businesses and homes in the UK currently use the ISDN network, even those with fibre to the cabinet user a part of the network. However, many cities are now converting over to the alternative: fibre to the premises. This means your connection uses no copper wiring at all, it’s fibre direct from the cabinet to your door.

When will it switch off?

Openreach has a duty of care to it’s customers, and doesn’t want the switch off to leave people in the dark. If everything is on schedule, then Openreach will stop accepting new ISDN orders in 2020 with the whole switch off will be in 2025.

Why are they switching it off?

ISDN is really a very outdated technology now, with the advancement of new technology the fibre to the premises and IP telephony is far more superior. It’s a bit like when mobile networks phased out 2G for the far superior 3G, 4G and now 5G. Many businesses have already opted for IP telephony for it’s higher call quality and cost saving benefits.

What should I do?

First of all, don’t panic – ISDN is still going to be around for a few more years so there is plenty of time to upgrade your business to IP technology. Secondly, if you would like to have a look at what your options are, give us a call 0333 9969 334 or by emailing us on Thirdly, find out when your system is up for a renewal. Renewing your telephone system is a great way to upgrade to our VoIP systems. Finally, discover your options. The alternatives to ISDN are better for your business, offering higher quality calls and reduced running costs.

What is the alternatives to ISDN?

At Service Central, we can provide a full hosted telephony VoIP system. VoIP is a ‘internet phone call’ and can be made from mobiles, desk phones and soft phones (applications on computers and laptops). A good example of VoIP is FaceTime Audio or WhatsApp calling. With VoIP, there is no need for additional dedicated lines, this can reduce your businesses running costs.

What are the advantages of VoIP?

Cost Saving – Your business can upgrade to VoIP from as little as £10 per month, making it very cost effective

Superior Quality – With a good internet connection, a VoIP voice call will have a higher quality than a traditional telephone line

Scalability – VoIP is a very scalable solution. You can quickly and easily add more users and lines when required to suit your business

Mobile Ready – Our VoIP telephone systems integrate seamlessly with your mobile, meaning employees can take VoIP on the road

Fast Provisioning – VoIP can be provisioned at a much quicker time than waiting for a Openreach appointment.  

Number porting is available to retain your existing recognised telephone numbers. Or you can get a new one.


Let’s break this down – Voice over IP (VoIP)

You may have heard the term ‘VoIP’ or ‘Voice over IP’ banded around. VoIP is a type of phone call that uses a digital internet connection rather than an analogue line. It’s so simple, in fact, that VoIP is already a very common feature and you probably already use it. Good examples of a VoIP call would be FaceTime Audio, a WhatsApp call, or a Skype call from a computer.

Voice over IP (VoIP) diagram


Find out more about our telephony systems by clicking HERE or by contacting us HERE

What is a Virtual Terminal?

To put it simply, a virtual terminal is a secure webpage in your internet browser where you can process card payments online. It’s called virtual because it works like a credit card terminal but is software and not hardware. 

Within this web page you can process a payment by manually entering the customers card details, which you could be given over the phone or through some other way of chatting to your customer. Once this has been processed, the money will transfer from the customer’s card through a secure network to your preferred payment account. 

Basically, you ensure you’re connected to the internet and you go to the virtual terminal webpage. Login, and enter the customers details, and the amount for the transaction. Press submit or go and it will magically work. 


  • You can take payments quickly and easily without the customer being present or the need for a physical card machine. As long as you have an internet connection, you’re all set.
  • There is a lot of flexibility, and these transactions can be completed wherever you want.


  • You will need extra security measures, as there is more risk to a ‘card not present’ transaction. 
  • These transactions take more work, as there is more typing required
  • Fees can be higher with card not present transactions, as there is more risk involved

With Service Central, we can provide an easy to use solution with responsible rates, and not expensive rental. We can even connect it to your website if required, get in touch today on 0333 9969 334.

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