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Parties Involved in a Credit Card Transaction


The holder of the card used to build a purchase; the consumer.

Card-issuing bank

The financial institution or organization that issue the credit card to the cardholder. This bank bills the customer for refund and bears the risk that the card is used falsely.


A person or business accepting credit card payments for products or services sell to the cardholder

Acquiring bank

The financial institution accepting payment for the products or services on behalf of the trade

Independent sales organization

Resellers (to merchants) of the services of the acquiring bank.

Merchant account

This could refer to the acquire bank or the independent sales organization, but general is the organization that the merchant deals with.

Credit Card association

An association of card-issuing banks such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American express, etc

Transaction network

The system that implements the mechanics of the electronic transactions. May be operated by an independent company, and one company may operate multiple networks. Business processing networks include: Cardnet, Nabanco, Omaha, and Paymentec etc.

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