Credit and Debit Card Processing: A Behind-the-Scenes Perspective By NPC

From a consumer’s perspective, card processing may look relatively simple—a purchase is made, a card is swiped, and, eventually, a bill is paid. However, what actually happens when a credit or debit card can often be a bit more complex, with multiple steps occurring in an environment known to insiders as the “Black Box.”

The Black Box is the electronic realm in which card processing companies, the Merchant Accounting System (MAS), Visa/MasterCard, issuing banks, partner banks, and the Automated Clearing House (ACH) perform a number of functions. These include authorizing transactions, clearing transactions via data transfer, billing cardholders electronically, transferring funds to the merchant’s deposit account through the MAS and ACH systems, and settling fraud disputes. All of these largely invisible steps are highly regulated and executed by an industry that employs more than 50,000 individuals.

Each year, this cadre of service providers and organizations is responsible for providing processing for over 35 billion credit and debit transactions worth more than $2.3 trillion dollars nationally. With an ever-increasing variety of technologies that initiate card processing via cellular and tablet devices, including scanners, card readers, and mobile apps, merchants need to consider the technology options and service delivery quality of the many available merchant acquirers and processors like NPC.

National Processing Company (NPC) is a substantial credit and debit card processer also offering Merchant Acquirer services including Retriever Powered by NPC.