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What is a Terminal Identification Number?

The way we pay today is different than in the past. Cash or check has turned into credit or debit. Most businesses have a small card sliding machine off to the side of the cash register or behind the counter to read your bank or credit card It actually seems an oddity when a business doesn’t.

A business that supplies the machine is charged by the use. Sometimes you will see a request or even refusal to allow debit or credit card use in store if the total cost of purchase is under a certain amount. That’s due to the cost to swipe.

Those special machines have a Terminal Identification Number (TIF). The terminal identification number is a series of numbers used by financial institutions to monitor how many times it’s used and enables the store to receive their money from the purchases of many customers or clients. A large hotel might have more than one terminal identification number while most businesses only need one number. In that case the purchases might be split into different accounts for the business such as taxes supplies or fees. Whatever the case may be or however the business has it set up with their financial institution.

The card you use can be monitored by not only you but also by the use. Don’t get scared. It’s a protective tool. In the past if you lost cash. You simply lost it and dealt with the consequences of not being able to find it. It was just gone. If you lose your credit or debit card then there are steps to help you recover the card without losing your money. It can also help to get some or all of your money returned with fraud protection in cases of a stolen card. If you make an unusual or out of character purchase then your financial institution can alert you. You can also check the locations your card was used by simply checking your bank or credit card statements. This is an added benefit to a terminal identification number.

Times have certainly changed. It’s nice to know that we have some safeguards in place.

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