Mobile Payments: Who is a Payment Network?

Who is a Payment Network?

If credit card payments was a software project, then payment network is the project manager. The logo that you see on your credit card that says Visa or MasterCard is nothing but the name of a Payment Network. They are also otherwise called as card network or payment brand or just network. It is important to remember that card networks do not issue cards to the layman. Issuers issue cards.

When we discussed about Acquirers, I mentioned that the Acquirers don’t directly maintain a link to every other Issuer under the sun; instead they maintain a link to every major card network. Card networks in-turn maintain a link with every Issuer that issues their network branded cards. In essence, they are the intermediary between Acquirers and Issuers for authorizing credit card transactions.

There are various other functions that a card network performs. They manage the brand reputation and marketing. They facilitate clearing and settlement. They set rules that govern payment transactions within their network and enforce them. They set standards for security, compliance and certification. And much much more…

Out of the major card networks, Visa has the largest market share, followed by Master Card, American Express and Discover in that order.

Mobile Payments Blog Series

Welcome to the Mobile payments FAQ and?not so FAQ?series?and you are on FAQ?#4.?The idea behind this series is to?share and learn as much as possible about the field of mobile payments.?If you like, you can read all of the FAQs on the Mobile Payments?category or by visiting the Table of contents page.

Mobile Payments: Who is a Merchant?

Who is a Merchant?

?The retailer store that you walk-in to shop is called a Merchant in payment speak. You can broadly categorize them into two types based on channel.

Brick & Mortar merchants, also called as physical merchants, have a physical store. You would walk in to the store and purchase items by swiping a card at the physical point of sale (POS) device. In the context of mobile payments, they may also allow you to Tap & Pay using your mobile NFC device. In a restaurant kind of setup, you would typically hand over your card to the waiter instead of walking up to the counter. In such establishments, you may also scan a QR code to pay using your mobile. We will discuss Tap & Pay and QR code based mobile payments in upcoming posts.

Online merchants – both eCommerce and mCommerce, do not have a physical store. To make a purchase, you would visit their website and use a virtual shopping cart. Depending on how much you frequent that merchant, you may choose to type in your credit card details every time you purchase, or choose to store your card on their file, so that you can just select a stored card to pay. In addition to the above, you may also use a digital wallet (or mobile wallet) to make a purchase without entering your card details everytime and without storing your card with the merchant themselves.

These days, almost all physical merchants also have an online presence and mobile presence thereby transforming themselves into omni-channel merchants.

Mobile Payments Blog Series

Welcome to the Mobile payments FAQ and?not so FAQ?series?and you are on FAQ?#3.?The idea behind this series is to?share and learn as much as possible about the field of mobile payments.?If you like, you can read all of the FAQs on the Mobile Payments?category or by visiting the Table of contents page.