A Merchant Acquirer —also known as an acquiring bank or simply an acquirer — is a bank or financial institution that processes credit and debit card transactions on behalf of a merchant. They provide the services and technology necessary for businesses to accept card payments and transfer funds from card-issuing banks to the merchant’s bank account.
The merchant acquirer plays a vital role in the payment processing cycle by facilitating the authorization, clearing, and settlement of transactions. They are responsible for ensuring that transactions are processed securely and in compliance with the rules and regulations of the card networks (e.g., Visa, MasterCard).
The acquirer also typically provides the merchant with a point-of-sale (POS) system or online payment gateway, and may offer additional services such as fraud prevention, chargeback management, and reporting tools.