How a Visa Transaction Works

Visa makes it easier to pay and be paid. Behind each Visa transaction is a remarkable infrastructure ensuring that no matter how you accept Visa payments, the process will be safe, reliable and convenient.

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Who’s involved

The typical Visa transaction involves four parties:

  • The merchantis any entity — a store, restaurant, physician, utility company, online retailer, hotel, or airline — that accepts Visa as payment.
  • The acquireris a financial institution that initiates and maintains contractual agreements with merchants for the purpose of accepting and processing Visa card transactions and enables Visa card payments from customers.
  • The issueris a financial institution that provides Visa-branded cards or other Visa-branded payment products to consumers and businesses. When a Visa-branded credit card is used, the issuer “lends” the consumer the funds to complete the transaction. If it is a debit or prepaid card transaction, the funds are automatically withdrawn from the account and transferred to the acquirer.
  • The cardholderis any consumer or business using a Visa card or other Visa-branded product to make payments.

The transaction journey

The transaction journey

A Visa transaction is a carefully orchestrated process. When a Visa account holder uses a Visa card to buy a pair of shoes, it’s actually the acquirer — the merchant’s bank — that reimburses the merchant for the shoes. Then, the issuer — the account holder’s bank — reimburses the acquirer, usually within 24 to 48 hours. Lastly, the issuer collects from the account holder by withdrawing funds from the account holder’s bank account if a debit account is used, or through billing if a credit account is used.

What this means for you

You can rest assured that your customers’ transactions will be smooth and seamless – every time. You can trust that transmitted information will be kept safe and secure. And you can feel confident that the power and leadership of the Visa name stands behind you, always pursuing ways to improve the transaction process.