The payment system is an operational network - governed by laws, rules and standards - that links bank accounts and provides the functionality for monetary exchange using bank deposits. The payment system is the infrastructure (consisting of institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards,and technical means) established in effect the transfer of monetary value between parties discharging mutual obligations. Its technical efficiency determines the efficiency with which transaction money is used in the economy, and risk associated with its use.
What makes it a "system" is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts (e.g., checks) and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic communications a large number of alternative electronic payment systems have emerged. These include debit cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, direct credits, direct debits, internet banking and e-commerce payment systems. Some payment systems include credit mechanisms, but that is essentially a different aspect of payment. Payment systems are used in lieu of tendering cash in domestic and international transactions and consist of a major service provided by banks and other financial institutions.
A debit card (also known as a bank card or check card) is a plastic payment card that provides the cardholder electronic access to his or her bank account(s) at a financial institution. Some cards have a stored value with which a payment is made, while most relay a message to the cardholder's bank to withdraw funds from a payer's designated bank account. The card, where accepted, can be used instead of cash when making purchases. In some cases, the primary account number is assigned exclusively for use on the Internet and there is no physical card.
In many countries, the use of debit cards has become so widespread that their volume has overtaken or entirely replaced cheques and, in some instances, cash transactions. The development of debit cards, unlike credit cards and charge cards, has generally been country specific resulting in a number of different systems around the world, which were often incompatible. Since the mid-2000s, a number of initiatives have allowed debit cards issued in one country to be used in other countries and allowed their use for internet and phone purchases.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card, used in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Common benefits provided (in the United States) via EBT are typically of two general categories: food and cash benefits. Food benefits are federally authorized benefits that can be used only to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages. Food benefits are distributed through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. Cash benefits include state general assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and refugee benefits.
In the United States, federal assistance, also known as federal aid, federal benefits, or federal funds, is defined as any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the federal government that directly assists domestic governments, organizations, or individuals in the areas of education, health, public safety, public welfare, and public works, among others.
The assistance, which can reach to over $400 billion annually, is provided and administered by federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through special programs to recipients.
A credit card is a payment card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows the cardholder to pay for goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for them. The issuer of the card creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the consumer (or the user) from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user.
A credit card is different from a charge card: a charge card requires the balance to be paid in full each month. In contrast, credit cards allow the consumers a continuing balance of debt, subject to interest being charged. A credit card also differs from a cash card, which can be used like currency by the owner of the card. A credit card differs from a charge card also in that a credit card typically involves a third-party entity that pays the seller and is reimbursed by the buyer, whereas a charge card simply defers payment by the buyer until a later date.
Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction's life-cycle, although it may encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail, mobile devices, social media, and telephones as well.
Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions. This is an effective and efficient way of communicating within an organization and one of the most effective and useful ways of conducting business.
In double entry bookkeeping, debits and credits (abbreviated Dr and Cr, respectively) are entries made in account ledgers to record changes in value resulting from business transactions. Generally speaking, the source account for the transaction is credited (an entry is made on the right side of the account's ledger) and the destination account is debited (an entry is made on the left side). Individual transactions may require multiple debit and credit entries to record, and total debits must equal total credits for each transaction.
The difference between the total debits and total credits in a single account is the account's balance. If debits exceed credits, the account has a debit balance; if credits exceed debits, the account has a credit balance. For the company as a whole, the totals of debit balances and credit balances must be equal as shown in the trial balance report, otherwise an error has occurred.
The Inventory Information Approval System, or IIAS, is a point-of-sale technology used by retailers that accept FSA debit cards, which are issued for use with medical flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), and some health savings accounts (HSAs) in the United States.
By the end of 2007, all grocery stores, discount stores, and online pharmacies that accept FSA debit cards must have an IIAS; by the end of 2008, most chain pharmacies must have an IIAS as well.
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.