We pride ourselves on cutting out the jargon and communicating in simple, easy-to-understand language. But fintech is a jargon-heavy sector - even the word fintech (that’s shorthand for financial technology) is jargon.
Get to grips with what everyone else is really saying with our insider’s glossary - updated regularly.
Application Programming Interface (API). A set of protocols that facilitates communication between two applications. APIs allow the creation of applications that access data from and the features of third parties.
API economy. The ecosystem of APIs. In an API economy, businesses leverage and monetize APIs to create new services, integrate with partners, and enhance their offerings.
Banking as a Service (BaaS). A model that allows a licensed provider to integrate financial products and services into a non-financial service brand’s own environment. This is done using APIs and a white-labeled front end.
Bank Identification Number (BIN). Also referred to as an Issuer Identification Number (IIN). This is the initial four to six numbers on a payment card that identifies the institution that issues the card. BINs are vital to the process of matching transactions to the issuer of the charge card.
Blockchain. A shared database or ledger that collects information into digital blocks. This decentralized approach means the sharing of these blocks of information is easier and cheaper.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). A short-term financing product that allows consumers to make purchases and pay for them later. BNPL is one of the fastest-growing digital financial products. This is in part due to the speed of approval, term flexibility, low-to-no-interest, and no credit impact if paid on time.
Cross-border payments. Transactions involving individuals, banks, companies, and other entities in which the payee and the recipient operate from different countries. These could be wholesale, retail, or recurring transactions.
CX. Shorthand for customer experience. CX refers to a customer’s entire experience of a brand. It includes the journey from marketing to post-sales service and everything in between.
Cybersecurity. The practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, attacks, or damage.
Digital identity. The electronic representation of an individual's personal information. This is used for authentication, verification, and access to online services.
Digital wallet. An electronic device or software that allows individuals to store, manage, and make electronic transactions. Examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.
Electronic Funds Transfer (eFt). Any transfer of funds initiated electronically. This includes card payments, cash machine/ATM withdrawals, point-of-sale (Pos), and debit transfers without requiring the intervention of bank staff.
Financial inclusion. The effort to provide access to affordable and quality financial services to all. Some individuals and businesses who are traditionally underserved or excluded from the mainstream financial system benefit most from financial inclusion.
Fintech as a Service (FaaS). When any company uses fintech APIs to embed financial capabilities into their existing applications, products and services. Sound familiar? FaaS is pretty much interchangeable with BaaS, but is fast becoming the preferable term in this fast-growing industry.
Know Your Customer (KYC). Standards used within the financial services industry to protect all parties from risk. This is done through the mandatory verification and authentication of a customer’s identity. All legal and financial institutions must validate their customers’ Proof of Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA) to prevent illegal or fraudulent activities.
Metaverse. The next iteration of the Internet. The metaverse is a digital, immersive 3D world that mimics aspects of the physical world using technologies like virtual reality (VR). Research suggests that 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in a metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment by 2026.
Open banking. The practice of sharing customer financial information securely. This information is shared with third-party financial service providers through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).
Payment gateway. An interface between a merchant and the acquirer that allows the acceptance of credit/debit transactions. The technology behind a payment gateway validates card details, ensures sufficient funds, and then enables merchants to get paid.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). A set of standards that protect consumers’ sensitive data. It is applicable to organizations that store/process/transmit cardholder data either as clear or in an encrypted manner.
Point-to-Point Encryption (P2P). Payment encryption. Specifically, customer account data is encrypted at the swipe and decrypted at either a retailer’s switch, a payment gateway, or by the processor depending on the scheme.
OS financing. Also referred to as point-of-sale financing. This is an increasingly popular style of financial product that offers customers flexible, pay-over-time installment options when completing a sale via e-commerce. BNPL is an example of POS financing.
PSD2. A European regulation for electronic payment services that aims to make payments more secure, boost innovation, and help banking services adapt to new technologies.
Regulated sandbox/Regulatory sandbox. A controlled environment provided by regulatory authorities. This environment allows fintech startups to test and experiment with innovative products and services under relaxed regulatory conditions.
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). The use of two authentication factors for bank operations that were not previously required. This includes payments and access to accounts online or via apps. It also includes a stricter definition of what counts as an authentication factor.
Tokenization. The process of replacing cardholder data with a random string of characters called Tokens to move sensitive data. This minimizes the threat of fraud or identity theft.
Virtual card. A payment card that exists digitally, rather than as a plastic, physical card. Virtual versions still offers users the same capabilities, though. This includes contactless payments via a smartphone.
White-Label platform. Also referred to as a cleanskin platform. A software platform that can be rebranded by a third party, allowing a bank or lender to put their stamp on a platform. These platforms are generally developed by a third party (often a fintech).
Remember, this glossary provides a brief overview of common terms. There may be more detailed definitions and variations within each term.