Think about the last time you bought something in a shop. You picked up whatever you wanted to buy, walked over to the cashier and let them scan everything through their cash register.
When it was time to pay, you plugged your card into the card terminal (and if you didn’t, let’s just imagine you did) and punched in your PIN. The register whirred for a couple of seconds then printed out a receipt.
While paying for something using a credit or debit card might seem simple, it’s actually a very complicated process involving five — yes, five! — different players.
You’ve got the customer (you), the merchant (e.g. Tesco), the acquirer (e.g. Worldpay), the issuer (e.g. Santander) and the card network (e.g. Visa). All of these players work together to move funds from one account to another and support the financial systems we all rely on.
In this infographic, I’ll look at what people and organisations are involved in each card payment and explain how payments are actually handled on a technical level.