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Acquiring system

The buyer brings the card to the payment terminal, dials the pin-code, the device issues the inscription “Successful” and prints the receipt – this is how the acquiring procedure looks like from the outside. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Read in the article how acquiring works, how to connect it and what to ask a bank manager about before concluding an agreement.

What is payment acquiring

  • What equipment is needed for acquiring

  • Who participates in the acquiring procedure

  • How is the acquiring procedure

Benefits and risks of merchant acquiring

  • Advantages

  • Risks

How to connect merchant acquiring

What is payment acquiring

Acquiring is a banking service. The bank helps shops, gas stations or pizza delivery companies accept non-cash payments from customers bank cards: it transfers the buyer s money to the seller s bank account and keeps a percentage of the purchase amount for the service. The term “acquiring” itself comes from the English “acquire” – to receive, and in simple words, this is the receipt of non-cash from customers.

Money can not only be received, but also sent to the buyer s card, say, if he returns the goods. There is a reverse acquiring service for non-cash payments with the population: you accept recyclable materials, agricultural products or even used cars from individuals and transfer money to their bank cards.

What equipment is needed for acquiring

In trade and services, money is debited from “plastic” through trade equipment – POS-terminals. These are electronic devices for accepting non-cash payments, you have seen them in stores and at couriers. Depending on the model, the terminal is connected to the cash register or works independently, it has a card reader, a keyboard for entering the amount and pin-code, and a receipt printer. The seller can buy one or more terminals or rent them.

When traveling or low turnover, entrepreneurs use mobile POS terminals, which are controlled from a smartphone via Pay Me, SimplePay, iPay applications. Banks charge higher fees for mobile acquiring and often set a limit on payment amounts. But these terminals have their advantages for small businesses: they are inexpensive.

When paying for goods and services in online stores, equipment is not needed – it is replaced by the program. The web interface allows you to pay with a bank card or electronic money and keep payment and personal data secret. The software is installed by the bank and also takes a commission for Internet acquiring.

Who participates in the acquiring procedure

The buyer is the holder of a bank card. For him, the acquiring procedure is free, all the costs of transferring funds are covered by the seller.

Seller is an organization or individual entrepreneur that sells goods or services to a buyer. The seller connects acquiring and pays a commission for this service.

Acquiring bank – provides an acquiring service. Most often, the seller opens a current account in it and leases or buys equipment for accepting non-cash payments. The acquiring bank must be registered in payment systems: international MasterCard, Visa, national “Mir”. He is responsible for the technical side of non-cash purchases and receives a commission from the seller.

Issuing bank – issued and serves the buyer s bank card. He is responsible for conducting the transaction so that the client can pay in a non-cash way for purchases and services.

How is the acquiring procedure

  • The merchant enters the payment amount and prepares the POS terminal to accept the payment.

  • The customer inserts the card into the POS terminal, passes it through the slot of the magnetic stripe reader, or brings it to the terminal for contactless payment. Enter a pin code if necessary.

  • The terminal sends the application for payment to the processing center of the acquiring bank, which checks if the card is in the stop list.

  • After a successful check, the application goes to the issuing bank, which checks the account balance. If there is enough money, the required amount is debited.

  • The terminal or cash register prints receipts for the buyer and seller, or sends the buyer an electronic receipt by e-mail. This completes the operation.

The buyer can pay using a smartphone or smart watch, bracelet, if his device has the Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay application and an NFC module for cashless payments. The terminal must also be able to accept contactless payments. Then the smartphone is brought to the terminal, and then everything happens by analogy with plastic.

The real transfer of the buyer s money to the seller s account will take place within 1-3 days, this period is prescribed in the contract. Before the transfer, the amount is frozen on the buyer s account, after which the acquiring bank sends supporting documents about the financial transaction to the issuing bank, and only after his “signal” is the buyer s money transferred to the seller.

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Benefits and risks of merchant acquiring

Acquiring provides businesses with many benefits, although sometimes they are inconvenient. Also, this service is not always suitable for companies with low turnover.


  • Customer loyalty is growing: they can pay in any convenient way. At a minimum, this helps not to lose customers who do not have paper money with them, and has a positive effect on the company s image.

  • The risk of receiving counterfeit banknotes is eliminated.

  • Customer service is accelerated, because the cashier does not need to count money, look for change.

  • Reduced collection costs.

  • Revenue is growing, as buyers with “plastic” tend to spend 10-30% more than with cash.


  • At low turnovers, the store incurs relatively high accompanying acquiring costs. The service may not pay off.

  • The system sometimes has technical failures: “the bank does not answer” or cards are not accepted for payment. This delays buyers and damages the seller s reputation.

  • In case of fraud, the merchant compensates the loss to the cardholder. The seller himself will receive compensation only if the police catch the fraudster.

How to connect merchant acquiring

Decide on the retail equipment that you need to work: the number of POS terminals or POS systems, peripheral equipment, for example, portable mini-keyboards for entering pin codes. Compare models and their prices from private firms. Decide how you will connect the terminals to the Internet: using a cable, via wi-fi or a mobile operator.

Select an acquiring bank and send an application for the service. During a conversation with a manager, find out about the working conditions: can you connect equipment purchased from a third-party company, what models of devices are connected, how much will it cost to rent and purchase devices from a bank. A couple more nuances that may be important: will you receive the service if your accountant is in another bank, is it possible to work without a cashier, transferring money from buyers cards to an individual s account, and how much will it cost.

For data security, banks install special programs in processing centers, use encryption protocols when transferring information from a terminal or website. The most reliable, by definition, is trade acquiring: the POS terminal connects directly to the processing center, data interception is almost impossible. Mobile acquiring is less secure due to the use of a smartphone.

After that, choose the optimal scheme of cooperation with the acquiring bank: rent / buy equipment from it or connect devices purchased from a third-party company, with which account to work.

The bank will agree with you a set of equipment, issue a questionnaire for filling out and request a package of documents for drawing up an agreement:

  • passport of an individual entrepreneur or director of an organization;

  • TIN;

  • certificate of state registration of an individual entrepreneur or company;

  • constituent documents of the organization with additions and changes;

  • certificate of absence of debt from the tax office, balance sheet for the last year or tax return;

  • activity license (if any), information on beneficial owners and other documents.

After signing the contract, technicians will install the equipment at your point of sale and teach you how to use it. In case of failures, difficulties and questions, you will contact the technical support of the bank.

Post Author: Rachel Reinbauer

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