Glossary

Acquirer

An acquiring bank or acquirer is a bank or financial institution that handles payments by credit or debit card on behalf of a merchant, allowing the merchant to accept card payments.

An acquiring bank or acquirer is a bank or financial institution that handles payments by credit or debit card on behalf of a merchant, allowing the merchant to accept card payments. Cards used to complete payment are issued by issuing banks or issuers on behalf of credit card schemes such as Visa and Mastercard.

In order to work with an acquirer, the merchant needs to enter into a contract with the bank and set up a merchant account. As part of the agreement, the merchant's acquirer exchanges funds with issuing banks on behalf of the merchant. Transactions can go in both directions. As well as incoming payments, the acquirer also handles refunds and chargebacks. 

The acquirer charges fees for their services and these vary from acquirer to acquirer and between credit card schemes. Fees typically depend on the type of transaction, transaction volume and card used, although flat fees may also be charged.

When a customer decides to complete payment using a credit or debit card, the acquiring bank requests a transfer of funds from the bank account associated with the customer’s card. The customer’s bank is referred to as the issuing bank, as it issues credit cards on behalf of the credit card schemes (Visa, Mastercard etc.).

The issuer will evaluate the transaction and either authorize or refuse it. Reasons for refusing a transaction include a lack of funds or suspected fraud. If the payment is authorized successfully, the payment is transferred from the customer’s account at the issuing bank to the merchant’s account at the acquiring bank.

IXOPAY offers a number of adapters for integrating acquirers directly. A full list of the payment service providers and acquirers supported by the IXOPAY platform can be found here.