Who is involved with taking card payments​

fiserv building photo

Acquiring banks

  • Debit and credit cards are provided (usually by banks) to consumers and business customers, they are known as issuers.
  • An acquiring bank (also known simply as an acquirer) is a bank or financial institution that processes credit or debit card payments on behalf of a merchant.​

Independent Sales Organisation (ISO)

  • Card payments are processed when the consumer who wishes to make the purchase has their payment routed through to the acquiring bank via a payment service provider.
  • Often following the sign-up by an ISO (Independent Sales Organisation) which is an organisation accredited by the card schemes to provide services from acquiring banks to merchants.​
mastercard credit card graphic
phone payment used on a contactless terminal

Payment services in the UK

  • There are roughly 15 notable ISOs in the UK market that resell services through 5 main acquiring banks.
  • The acquiring part of the process is the banking aspect of the payments service.​
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Payment processing

  • When the payment has processed the transaction it is passed through to an acquiring bank for the credit or debit card transaction to be processed.
  • This is essentially the same whether it is an online transaction or a face to face transaction, but the flow of a transaction will vary slightly if the customer is paying online or using a physical payment terminal (face to face payment).​
debit card being used online via laptop

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