MSP Definition

Merchant Account MSP Explained:

What is an MSP? “MSP” stands for “MasterCard Service Provider” and is a formal designation that companies must have in order to resell MasterCard Credit Card Processing under their own company names. MasterCard displays its registered and approved MSPs on the MasterCard Service Provider List and merchants are advised to only work with registered MSPs. Visa has a similar certification called an “ISO.”

MSPs represent an Acquiring Bank, or Processor, or both. MSPs are also allowed to set terms of their own merchant account contracts and mark up processing rates and fees. Although a Processor can also be an MSP, most MSPs are solely sales organizations that act as “middle men” that pair point-of-sale solutions (terminals, payment gateways, mobile accessories, etc.) with merchant account providers and processors.

Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.

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  1. Philip,

    I have been researching entry into the payment processing industry. My company would like to be positioned as close as possible to the card industry networks. Although it is difficult to find clearly detailed information on the subject, it appears impossible to contract directly with MasterCard or Visa. It looks like you have to be sponsored by a financial institution. This confuses me. Outside of the card networks and the sponsor bank, what role does the ISO perform in payment processing besides providing the merchant with payment card equipment?

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