The Life Cycle of a Card Payment

When you make a sale, have you ever wondered about the process behind the payment? Your sale embarks on a multi-step journey all in the fraction of a second. See our Life Cycle of a Card Payment to see an example of a card payment process.

*All figures are for illustration purposes only.

1. Alex wants to buy a coffee from The Coffee Shop.

2. Alex wants a Flat White to take away, that costs £2.85.

3. Alex uses his contactless payment card to pay for the £2.85 coffee.

4. The Coffee Shop makes a sale on their card machine.

5. The Coffee Shop’s acquiring bank sends the authorisation request to VISA.

6. VISA communicates with Alex’s bank to ensure security checks, check for funds available and to authorise the payment.

7. Alex’s bank authorises the payment to purchase the £2.85 coffee.

8. Alex’s bank passes on £2.85, and take a 2p* fee from VISA.

9. VISA confirms the sale, passes on £2.85 and bills the acquiring bank the 2p* plus a 1p* fee.

10. The acquiring bank confirms the sale, passes on the £2.85 and charges The Coffee Shop 4p* (the 3p* plus a 1p* fee)

11. The Coffee Shop prints their receipt and hands over the coffee to Alex. The £2.85 coffee purchase appears on Alex’s bank statement.

12. The Coffee Shop receives £2.85 and is billed 4p* at the end of the month for this sale.

If you liked our ‘Life Cycle of a Card Payment’ and want to know about how online payments work, see our infographic ‘The Life Cycle of an Online Payment’.

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