Terminal ID Number (TID) | B2B Finance Glossary

Sep 7, 2023 by Zazil Martinez

What Is a Terminal ID Number (TID)?

A terminal ID number, also known as a terminal identification number or TID is an eight-digit sequence of characters that financial institutions use to monitor which terminal has been used to process each transaction. TIDs make it easy for merchants to find specific transactions to initiate a refund or counter a dispute. They make it possible to see which terminal processed which payment.


How Can You Find Your TID?

Every TID can be found on its corresponding transaction statement or receipt. Still, its precise location will vary according to each payment gateway or payment processor used in the transaction. But the words "merchant terminal number" will be located on the transaction. Some processing companies will keep this information near the account or settings tab, while others might place it closer to the transaction information. However, no matter where it's located, your TID will be marked so you can find it effortlessly on your receipts or transaction statements.


Why Is It Important to Find Your TID?

Merchants don't need to access their TIDs regularly; they only need to do this to track down a particular payment more easily or dispute a chargeback claim. You might also need your TID if your bank or payment network initiates a chargeback investigation.


How Do TIDs Help Banks and Processors?

TIDs help banks and payment processors identify terminals related to each merchant's business. For example, if your company has three different payment terminals, the first terminal (let's call it terminal 1) might be your main point-of-sale (POS) machine. Terminals 2 and 3 are part of the same operating system and network but still upload transactions to the main terminal. This allows banks and payment processors to know precisely which POS processed transactions.


How Do You Get a TID?

Once a merchant is approved for a merchant account, that merchant will be issued a payment terminal. That terminal comes with its own unique TID.

However, it can be challenging to get a merchant account, especially for high-risk businesses. A high-risk business has unusually high transaction volumes, poor credit history, issues with tax-related situations or licensing, large amounts of card-not-present transactions, and high chargeback rates. High-risk companies also operate in particular industries with a high level of fraud, such as adult entertainment websites, nightclubs, or gambling websites.

On top of that, the process of getting a merchant account is an arduous one, and businesses need to undergo this process to obtain one: get a business license, open a business bank account, understand your business needs, compare providers, complete the application to get a merchant account, submit to underwriting, and finally, get the merchant account approved. Once the account is approved, the business will be issued its merchant ID number (MID). After receiving a terminal, the business will then get its TID.


What Is the Difference Between a TID and a Merchant ID Number (MID)?

All merchants are given two distinct identification numbers: their terminal and merchant ID numbers (MID). A MID is supplied to a business after the business is approved for a merchant account (a business bank account that allows merchants to accept electronic debit and credit card payments from customers directly); MIDs can also be distributed through a business's corresponding payment processor service. MIDs are unique 15-digit codes that ensure that funds are adequately channeled from the customer to the merchant they belong to after the customer makes a purchase.

MIDs differ from TIDs: MIDs are used to track funds and ensure they end up in the hands of the intended merchant, while TIDs allow merchants to track individual payments in case of an issue. They enable banks to track the number of transactions occurring at any particular time.

While MIDs are tied to your payment processor, your TID is linked to your payment terminal. That means if you change your payment processor, you'll get a new MID; if you change your payment terminal, you'll get a new TID.

However, TIDs and MIDs share some similarities: they are personal identification codes that relate to business. These codes should only be shared with each business's corresponding bank or payment processing vendor. This is because if TIDs or MIDs are not adequately protected, it's possible that they can be stolen and used for fraudulent transactions.