Choosing an Acquirer

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Choosing an acquirer is an important step in accepting MasterCard. Your acquirer is the financial institution that will accept and process MasterCard transactions. But even more than that, your acquirer can be a strong business ally.

First, for the record, let's define two of the key parties involved in MasterCard transactions since they are sometimes confused.

Acquirer: A licensed member of MasterCard that screens and accepts merchants into its bankcard program, processes transactions, and completes financial settlement for them.

Issuer: Institutions such as banks, credit unions, savings & loan associations or even retailers that provide a credit line to a consumer through a payment card.

Please note that MasterCard is not an issuer.

For this section, we're primarily concerned with the acquirer's role and what you should look for when choosing one. There are some important factors to consider, such as the following:

Payment Card Industry Guidance: Your acquirer should be ready and eager to provide you guidance through the issues, challenges, and technical details of the payment card industry.

Industry/Vertical Market Experience: It's always helpful to select an acquirer that has experience in your industry/vertical market. These acquirers understand the needs and conditions of your business.

Tools & Technology: You should engage your acquirer about the tools, technology and services that it supports that are particularly relevant to your business. For example, does the acquirer support technology that makes transactions faster and more convenient at the point of sale? What factors impact your cost of acceptance? (Electronic vs. manual entry; vertical-specific incentive programs, etc.)

Security: Ask your acquirer what its policies and practices are with regard to fraud avoidance. It should have a clear and multi-faceted approach that involves technology—such as MasterCard SecureCode™ acceptance—and best practices.

Chargeback Management: Chargebacks usually happen when there is a customer dispute or an error and/or the dollar value of the transaction-and financial liability-is typically reversed back to the merchant. Ask acquirers what their policies and procedures are for chargeback management.

All of this information is important to choosing an acquirer. But don't worry, we've made it easy to select a licensed acquirer by clicking here. It's just another way we're providing value to our relationship.




For the rules governing the MasterCard family of brands, or when you need information about MasterCard acceptance, turn here.


Interchange Rates are established by MasterCard and paid by acquirers to issuers on card transactions.