Here’s what TST means on a credit card statement:
If the letters “TST” appear on a credit card statement and are immediately followed by the name of a store or merchant, this is referencing the company called Toast.
Toast is the company that processed the payment, and its role in the transaction has to be recorded. That’s why you see those letters.
So if you want to learn all about what TST means on your credit card statement, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Point of Sale System?
The point of sale (POS) describes the time and place where a sale occurred.
A POS system is the combination of hardware and software that were used to process the transactions.
POS systems come in vast varieties. In their simplest form, POS systems can just be a cash drawer that you use to hold money for the day.
More complicated POS systems will utilize electronic devices. They can even be fully automated checkout machines like you see at major retailers and grocery stores.
For many small businesses, POS systems are provided by third parties and run through online smart registers, tablets, or smartphones.
If you have ever seen a card reader attached to a tablet, that is a POS system that is operated through a smart device.
Most businesses today have some way to read a credit card and accept payment from that card.
So, even a simple credit card reader constitutes a portion of a POS system.
In fact, if your business has an old credit card imprinter just in case power or internet goes down, that is part of the POS system too.
The concept encompasses everything tied to the direct transaction between a business and its customers.
What Is a Payment Processor?
A point of sale system can include a payment processing service, but it doesn’t have to. Before getting into that, we should probably go over the idea of payment processing in general.
A payment processor is a third party that handles getting money from the customer to the business. The best example of this is a credit card company.
Visa is one of the most prolific credit card companies in the business, and they are a well-known payment processor.
Visa provides the service that directly handles moving money from the customer’s control to the company that is receiving payment.
There’s an important distinction here. Visa does not actually issue any credit cards. Banks and other financial institutions can issue cards and lines of credit. Visa is merely the company that handles the mechanisms that make it all work.
With this idea in mind, there are plenty of other companies that work in this capacity. Mastercard and Amex are other major credit card companies, but that’s not the limit of payment processing.
Online payment processors like PayPal and Google Pay offer additional ways of paying, even at a POS in a storefront.
Things get even more interesting when you look at companies that offer point of sale systems and payment processing. Some of the most well-known are Square, Stripe, and Toast. In the case where a card reader is attached to a tablet or phone, that business is likely using one of these combined service providers.
What Is Toast?
Toast is among the leading POS system developers for small and medium businesses. Toast is known for offering cloud-based software solutions for point of sale resources and payment processing.
The company is based out of Boston, and they built their entire system to run natively on Android operating systems.
This means that any phone or tablet that runs on Android can use Toast and become an effective POS device.
Why Does Toast Put TST on Credit Card Statements?
As a payment processor, Toast handles digital transactions between customers and businesses. When you see TST on a credit card statement right before the name of a store or merchant, that is Toast signing their work.
They processed the payment, and that is why they have to stamp the statement with their abbreviated name. This is entirely for record-keeping. If anyone needs to look up the record of the transaction, the TST label allows that investigator to follow the mechanisms in use all the way back to Toast.
This can be important for billing disputes and legal investigations.
Here’s the bottom line. Any company that processes a payment has to put its name somewhere on the transaction. TST is there for Toast.
If a different service is used, then the abbreviated name will reflect that service (Stripe typically uses ‘Stripe’ and Square uses ‘SQ’).
Why Don’t I Recognize the Charge?
You now know that Toast is a reputable company, so you should not be receiving random charges from them on your credit card statement. If you still don’t recognize the charge, there are a few possibilities.
The first is that this is just a hold that was used before authorizing the purchase. This is a common tactic used by payment processors to try to prevent fraud.
Common holds will be anywhere from $0.01 to $1.00. These holds allow the processor to establish that the line of payment is current and active.
As long as the holding charge goes through, the processor will then authorize full payment for the purchase. So, it’s common to see a charge like this right before a charge you recognize.
These hold charges are fully refunded every time. If one appears on your statement that isn’t refunded, you should report it to your creditor (whoever issued your card) and to Toast (or any other payment processor that does this). They can rectify the situation.
It’s also important to note that not all processing holds are small. It’s common for gas stations to use holds anywhere from $50 to $200. This, by the way, is why gas stations often decline debit cards even when they have enough balance for the amount of gas you want to buy.
The automated pump doesn’t know how much gas you’re going to need, so it is programmed to verify that you have enough to cover common charge ranges.
If you are unsure whether or not a charge on the statement is a hold, it’s always better to ask.
Never assume that an unknown charge is innocuous. Always contact your card issuer, and you can always contact the payment processor too.
If there is a problem, they can pause additional payments to prevent you from being defrauded, and they can take steps to ensure that your money stays protected.