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.

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My Qualifications

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so decided to build this website to help you research which providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers here. Simply scroll to the top of the page to find the search bar. You can also message me if you need any guidance.

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1 Review Leave Your Review Below

  1. Thomas says:

    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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