Glossary

Definitions for all things in government and financial technology;
a reference point in the terminology related to our services.

Account Lookups:

In financial technology, an account search/account look-up functionality allows you to find information.

ACH:

Automated Clearing House, also “e-check”, how funds are transferred electronically to the bank.

Agency:

A permanent or semi-permanent organization in government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions. Examples of common local government agencies are Parks and Recreation, Finance, Public Health and Safety, Business Affairs, Building, and Planning, etc.

Agile:

A methodology for incremental software development. Emphasis is placed on empowering people to collaborate and make team decisions in addition to continuous planning, and iterative releases.

Amazon Web Services (AWS):

A Platform as a Service (PaaS) subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments, on a paid subscription basis. The technology allows subscribers to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the internet.

Anomalous Transactions:

Any transaction that does not permanently settle as expected. These include customer card charge-backs, bounced checks, and fraud reversals.

Application:

A software program. Web browsers, email programs, word processors, and games are all applications. In the context of govtech, constituent-facing examples include things like a payment application on a kiosk or an online permitting application. Back-office reporting tools and permit approval software are examples of administrator-facing applications.

Audit:

To examine the content, services, or systems in place (for instance, for a local government website) in order to identify what’s available, what’s missing, or what’s outdated. An audit is an important first step before planning how to improve service delivery.

Authentication:

The process or action of verifying the identity of a user or process. Essentially, proving you are who you say you are.

Authorization:

Upon authentication, authorization allows the user access to certain objects and actions.

Blockchain Tech:

A Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) that was invented to support the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Blockchain monitors and verifies Bitcoin transactions by calling upon a decentralized network of volunteer-run nodes to, in effect, vote on the order in which transactions occur.

City Services:

A city is an incorporated municipality, usually governed by a mayor and a board of aldermen or councilmen. City governments oversee services like public water, garbage and recycling pickup, law enforcement, and business permits. Cities maintain parks, streetlights, public transportation, and fire protection, among many other local services.

County Services:

Counties are the largest administrative division of a U.S. state. County governments oversee services like voter registration, property taxes, and marriage licenses, among many others.

Cradle Points:

Cellular modems located in our kiosks that transmit payment information.

Data Centers:

A large group of networked computer servers typically used by organizations for the remote storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data.

Digital City Hall:

The availability of all government services online, and digitized end-to-end. For instance, a person should be able to easily find a permit application, fill it in, validate their information, submit, and pay — all online. And in an effective digital city hall, a government staff member would receive that application digitally and have the workflow for processing that application also fully digitized.

Digital Services:

A service (i.e. not goods), historically provided in person, delivered via the internet or an electronic network. Supply is essentially automated or involves only minimal human intervention. In govtech, a digital service allows a person to complete a task entirely online, such as submitting a permit application, rather than printing a PDF form and mailing or bringing it to a local government agency.

Electronic Bill Payment & Presentment (EBPP):

A process that companies use to collect payments via the internet, direct dial access, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), or other electronic methods. Electronic Bill Payment & Presentment is a core component of many financial institutions’ online banking offerings.

Elixir:

A dynamic, functional programming language designed for building highly concurrent, scalable, and maintainable applications.

Implementation Engineering:

Encompasses the work required to deliver a tailored solution for a customer.  This includes planning, requirements gathering, configuration, testing and delivery of a solution.

Intelligent City:

Communities that are empowered through easy-to-use technology. In an Intelligent City, a person can more easily access the services they need, both online and in person. Technology solutions aid the daily functions of civic staff, rather than hinder their ability to effectively help the populations they serve. And benefits are applied proactively; for instance, if a veteran qualifies for a property tax deduction, they receive it automatically.

Internet of Things (IoT):

The interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

Kiosk:

Self-service machines that a person can submit or receive information and complete tasks like making a payment. Advanced payment kiosks today are usually run on cloud-based software that can transmit information for general recordkeeping and reconciliation purposes.

Merchant ID:

Identifier created by the Merchant Acquiring Bank, specific to the client, that (1) specifies the client’s banking and routing instructions, (2) details the text description to appear on a customer’s monthly card statement, and (3) defines the industry in which they operate.

Payment:

The action or process of transferring funds either via cash or from one banking institution to another, usually from a person or business to another person or business.

Payment Facilitator (PayFac):

A payment facilitator is a merchant service provider that simplifies the merchant account enrollment process. Payment Facilitators (PayFacs) operate on a sub-merchant platform where merchants no longer require their own Merchant ID (MID) but are boarded directly under the PayFac’s master MID account.

Payment Processor:

A company (often a third party) appointed by a merchant to handle transactions from various channels such as credit cards and debit cards for merchant acquiring banks.

Platform:

A group of technologies that are used as a base upon which other applications, processes, or technologies are developed. A cloud-based platform is a basic operating system on which software applications can be run.

Point of Sale (POS):

Processing a payment at the time and place of sale. Point of sale (POS) systems can use regular computers or specialized terminals or devices that are combined with cash registers, barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, and chip readers for processing the transaction.

Reconciliation:

Verification of amount and timing of funds at each step in the payment process; from customer transaction to settlement in a client’s bank account.

Site Reliability Engineering:

A discipline that incorporates aspects of software engineering and applies them to IT operations problems. The main goals are to create ultra-scalable and highly reliable software systems.

Smart Cities:

A connected community that combines broadband communications infrastructure; a flexible, service-oriented computing infrastructure based on open industry standards; and innovative services to meet the needs of governments and their employees, citizens, and businesses.

Sprint Cycle:  

Sprint cycles are a common practice in Agile methodology; a sprint is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review or deployment. Each sprint has a goal of what is to be built, a design and flexible plan that will guide building it, and the resultant product increment. Sprints enable predictability by ensuring inspection and adaptation of progress toward a sprint goal at least every calendar month.

Taxonomy:

The science of categorization, or classification, of things based on a predetermined system. In reference to websites and portals, a site’s taxonomy is the way it organizes its information into categories and subcategories.

Still have questions?

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