How the payment process works

Here’s an overview of what happens behind the scenes and the different players involved



Step 1: The customer pays with Mastercard

The customer purchases goods/services from a merchant.

Step 2: The payment is authenticated

The merchant point-of-sale system captures the customer’s account information and securely sends it to the acquirer.

Step 3: The transaction is submitted

The merchant acquirer asks Mastercard to get an authorization from the customer’s issuing bank.

Step 4: Authorization is requested

Mastercard submits the transaction to the issuer for authorization.

Step 5: Authorization response

The issuing bank authorizes the transaction and routes the response back to the merchant.

Step 6: Merchant payment

The issuing bank routes the payment to the merchant’s acquirer who deposits the payment into the merchant’s account.

Understanding interchange

Find out what interchange is and the role it plays in the payments ecosystem.

Learn More