University of Illinois System
Policies & Procedures


Gift Cards
A gift card is a plastic card with a magnetic stripe on the back. The unit selling the card activates it when it is purchased. The recipient uses the gift card as cash at redeemable locations and the amount of the value is reduced with each purchase, until a zero balance is reached.

Bank-Issued Gift Card
These are issued by a bank or financial institution and can then be sold by units authorized to sell them. The cards usually display the logo of the card brand, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express, and can be used at any location that accepts that brand.

Gift Certificate
A gift certificate is a paper or printed form that contains information regarding the value and redemption criteria.

Cardholder Data
Cardholder data includes the full primary account number, cardholder name, expiration date and/or service code (security code).

If a unit fails to prove that a customer authorized a credit card transaction, the amount of the transaction will be deducted from the unit's account.

Discount Rate
A collection of fees charged by the credit/debit card processor to process the merchant's transaction.


At this point, the University does not allow for its merchant units to pass credit card processing fees on to their customers in the form of credit card surcharges. Instead, it is recommended that merchants factor the anticipated expense into the price of their goods or services.

Merchant Unit
A University unit that accepts credit and/or debit cards as a way to pay for goods, services, information, or gifts.

Primary Account Number (PAN)
The PAN is a unique credit or debit card number that identifies the issuing bank and the cardholder account.

Point of Sale (POS)
Hardware and/or software used to process credit/debit card transactions at merchant locations.

The process of removing sensitive or classified information from a document before it is stored.

Last Updated: April 13, 2012 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: November 2008