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Who are the Players in the Credit Card Processing Game?

If your business accepts credit cards (as most modern businesses do), then you’ve likely been bombarded with the overwhelming task of understanding credit card processing fees.

Although Swyping doesn’t charge business owners for using these services, it’s important to know what other credit card processors do in order to truly appreciate what it means to be free from all these numbers.

In this series, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how the system works and familiarize yourself with the terms you need to know.

To understand how credit card processing fees work, you know about all of the entities involved in these transactions. Like a team sport, the following parties are the ones on the field and in the stands who facilitate, organize, bankroll, and play in the credit card processing game.

Here’s a handy cheat-sheet to provide you with a brief overview:

The Referees: Credit Card Associations

You will recognize these names — Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX. More than likely, you frequently use one of them to make personal or business purchases. Ultimately, these companies set the rules of the game and call the shots. Credit card associations dictate the prices and percentages everyone else has to pay.

Team Owners: Credit Card Issuing Banks

While the credit card companies may call the shots, it is the banks, such as Chase, Capital One, and CitiBank who issue the cards. A bank may more than one credit card associations. For example, you have the option of using a Bank of America card that is either MasterCard or Visa. Alternatively, some entities like AMEX, act as both a bank and a credit card association.

Agents: Acquiring Banks/Credit Card Processors

These institutions are the middle people between merchants (business owners) and the credit card associations. They serve to collect data such as authorization requests so that merchants can complete transactions.

The Players:

Merchant Account Services Providers

These companies usually work with an acquirer to handle matters such as customer services and the technical aspects of providing the service of credit card payment acceptance. Many times, credit card processors and merchant account services providers fulfill the same role, charging merchants a fee for processing their credit or debit card transactions.

Payment Gateway/Portal: Usually referred to as an online shopping cart, this is a convenient way to get payment information and authorization to an acquirer via the Internet.

Business owners:

Merchants AKA: YOU. You, the business owner, pay for the privilege of processing credit and debit card transactions. Merchant services providers often charge business owners a transaction fee, which may be a percentage per transaction, a flat fee per transaction, or both for their processing services. Swyping is the first company to offer merchants the cost-effective solution of paying a flat monthly fee for processing these transactions. The fee remains the same regardless of the value of the transactions or the number of them, allowing merchants to keep the profits in their pockets.

Now that you’ve met the players and the movers and shakers behind the scenes of credit card processing, you’re in a better position to win the game of business.

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