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Q: What is an acquirer?

An acquirer, or an acquiring bank, works directly with merchants to ensure timely processing and payments of credit card transactions. Acquirers also oversee compliance with Card Association requirements. These middlemen provide and manage the infrastructure that merchants interface with. This process helps provide a smooth, secure flow of data through the payment card network. Some acquirers route card acceptance and payment issuance from the issuing card banks back to the merchant. They may also be involved in communicating disputes between the card holder’s bank and the merchant.

Acquirers process all types of transactions, including payments, refunds, reversals, and chargebacks — and while an acquiring bank may be a payment processor, not all payment processors are acquiring banks. Acquirers may also specialize in working with certain merchants or niche industries.

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