Get Started by Finding an Acquirer

Deciding to accept Visa is a great move for your business. First, you’ll need to choose an acquirer. Not sure what that means? We’ve got you covered.

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Who’s who

Acquirer:To begin accepting Visa payments, you need to go through a merchant acquirer to handle your customers’ card authorizations, make sure your money ends up in the correct account, send you a statement every month, and serve as intermediary should a customer have a dispute with a charge.

Issuer:The issuer is a financial institution that provides Visa-branded cards or other Visa-branded payment products to consumers and businesses.

Processor:Processing a Visa card transaction involves two stages: authorization, where an electronic request is sent through various parties to either approve or decline the transaction; and clearing and settlement, where all parties settle their accounts and get paid.

Independent Sales Organizations:These third-party agents perform solicitation activities or ATM support activities. They must be registered with Visa in order to be included on the Visa’s Global Registry of Service Providers.

Learn more about how a transaction works

Gather your information

As you prepare to speak with and evaluate different acquirers, be ready to share the following information:

  • Basic business information– Name, type of business, address, phone number, and establishment date
  • Processing information– Estimate how much transaction activity you expect to process and how you’ll do it (face-to-face, online, etc.)
  • Identification numbers– Federal Tax ID (if you have one) and Social Security number
  • Bank information– Business bank account and routing number

Selecting an acquirer

Understanding the Visa acceptance process will help you identify the account that works best for you. Before you sign a processing contract with an acquirer, consider the following:

  • Choose a financial institution you trust
    Financial institutions either sell directly to merchants or hire agents to sell for them. These agents must be registered with Visa and clearly identify the Visa financial institution they represent on their business cards and stationery. The contract you sign should also have the name of the financial institution clearly identified.
  • Be sure your acquirer understands your business
    There are many ways to accept payment cards these days—online, in person, on the go, and over the phone. Once an acquirer understands how you’ll be operating, they’ll start you with the service that best fits your business.
  • Shop around for rates
    Merchants who choose to accept Visa negotiate the services and pricing with their chosen acquirer. Acquirers offer many types of pricing options, however, the typical acquirer charges a merchant discount rate. Visa encourages merchants to compare the rates and fees offered by competing acquirers to find their best fit. Visa does not charge fees to merchants.

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