Everything you need to know about transaction processing

The number of electronic transactions increases considerably each year. Axepta BNP Paribas recorded an increase in its number of transactions of almost 35% in the first half of 2022 compared to last year. This can be explained by the numerous benefits that electronic payments offer: they are easy, fast, secure and cheaper than cash.

But how do card payments actually happen and which actors are involved? Because it is important to know to whom you should turn to for information, we discuss below in an insightful way what happens behind the scenes of a payment.

Who is who?

Let’s start by identifying the different parties. We make a distinction between 6 of them:

  • The merchant, that’s you.
  • The cardholder is your customer.
  • The payment solution provider is an entity such as Axepta BNP Paribas that enables the acceptance of electronic payments by providing payment solutions such as terminals.
  • The acquirer is a bank or financial institution such as Axepta BNP Paribas that allows merchants to accept payments with debit and credit cards.
  • The issuer is also a bank or financial institution that issues debit and credit cards to customers.
  • Payment card schemes such as Bancontact, Visa and Mastercard manage the underlying transaction network. They ensure compliance with the rules and standards governing card payments and grant licenses to acquirers so that they are entitled to process payments. For example, Axepta BNP Paribas holds licenses for all the above-mentioned payment card scheme providers.

Who does what?

Now that the parties are known, we can now turn to the process itself.

Your customer walks into your store and decides to buy something. At the moment he or she makes the electronic payment, a series of information is exchanged in the blink of an eye between your payment terminal and the various actors mentioned above. These parties are responsible for checking whether there is enough money on the cardholder’s account, if the card is valid and not blocked, if the PIN code is correct, if the “contactless” payment option has been configured, whether the connection is secure, etc. If everything is in order, then your customer’s issuer approves the transaction and your acquirer allows the transaction to proceed on your payment terminal.

The role of Axepta BNP Paribas

In most cases, customers rely on Axepta BNP Paribas for both the provision of a payment solution (usually a terminal) and their transaction processing (also called “acquiring”). Having just one single point of contact makes it sometimes easier to handle requests more quickly and efficiently. We know your business, objectives and sales activities well. This overall view contributes to enhanced responsiveness and tracking.

On the other hand, some customers already have a payment terminal with another provider and we therefore only take care of the transaction processing. This shared responsibility between Axepta BNP Paribas as the acquirer and the terminal supplier, makes it sometimes tricky to determine who you shall contact in case of need. In order to ensure the most structured and prompt assistance, we list below the most frequently asked questions.

Practical tips for optimal support

If you have any questions about the transactions themselves (overview and information, payout to your account, reimbursement to a customer, etc.) or about the set-up of your acquiring contract (applied commissions, changes to your bank details, addition of card schemes etc.), you can contact your acquirer.

If, on the other hand, there is a problem with your payment terminal (payment refusal, battery issues or other error codes), it is the payment solution provider that you must contact. In some cases, there may be a problem with your payment terminal related to transaction processing. In this case, your payment solution provider will ask you to contact your acquirer.

Questions about billing can be directed to both your acquirer and payment solution provider, depending on the issuer of the invoice in question. It is therefore preferable to always check who issued the (previous) invoice.

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