Getting Started

Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know about accepting MasterCard cards.
Question What is a merchant?
Answer A merchant is an entity that contracts with an Acquirer or Merchant Bank to accept card payments for goods or services provided.
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Question What is the Credit/Debit Business and how does it work?
Answer Merchants can accept a MasterCard Credit Card or a MasterCard Debit Card. A credit product allows the consumer to make purchases based on an established line of credit received by their card issuing bank. The credit limit is the spending amount established by the issuing bank based on a consumer credit profile. A debit product allows the consumer to make a purchase based on funds available in their bank account. Debit purchases are drawn directly from the consumer’s bank account and show up directly on the consumer’s monthly bank statement.
Learn More About How Transactions Work
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Question How do I begin accepting MasterCard cards?
Answer The first step in accepting MasterCard cards is to contact your bank to identify an Acquirer or a Member Services Provider to apply for a merchant account with a member bank or one of its agents known as a Member Service Provider (MSP). MSPs are third parties contracted by some MasterCard-licensed member banks to handle merchant services on their behalf and may function as a sales agent for an acquirer.
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Question What is an Acquirer? And why do I need one?
Answer Also known as a Merchant Bank, an Acquirer is a financial institution licensed by MasterCard that helps a merchant in fulfilling its processing obligation to accept MasterCard cards. The Acquirer is set up to connect and process transactions over the MasterCard network. Acquirers or MSPs either sell their processing services directly to merchants or hire agents to sell on their behalf. However, these agents must be registered with MasterCard and clearly identify the MasterCard member they represent on their business cards and stationery. The merchant agreement should also have the name of the bank clearly identified.
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Question How long does it take before I can start accepting MasterCard cards?
Answer This depends on your Acquirer and the type of business you manage. In general, you can get set up to accept MasterCard in under a month.
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Question Will I incur any costs?
Answer Yes. The costs you will incur will be quoted to you by the Acquirer.
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Question Do I have any responsibilities if I accept MasterCard cards?
Answer Yes, you must follow MasterCard Merchant Rules and any rules established by the Acquirer.
Read the MasterCard Merchant Rules
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Question What are the benefits of accepting MasterCard?
Answer Whether you’re a new business or an established enterprise, card acceptance is likely to have a big impact on your bottom line:

Increased Sales
Consumers spend more when they’re not constrained by cash on hand. You may see increased purchases of higher-margin products as well as speciality items. And customers may visit your store more often.

Customer Satisfaction
Your customers will appreciate the fact that you allow them the flexibility to pay the way they want to pay – including by credit or debit card. Happier customers are more loyal customers.

Speed of Checkout
You’ll speed your customers through checkout with rapid electronic payment. No more counting change or waiting while customers write cheques.

Improved Efficiency
Card transactions today are conducted electronically. Paperless payments can save you time and money by minimising cash handling and payment reconciliation, giving you more time to focus on more important things – like managing and growing your business.

With lower volumes of cash, you’re less vulnerable to theft and pilfering.

Currency Conversion
Electronic payments on MasterCard and Maestro®-branded cards are settled in the currency in which you sell your goods and services, regardless of where the cardholder is from.
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Question What type of card programmes does MasterCard offer?
Answer MasterCard Worldwide provides innovative payment solutions to consumers and companies around the world.
Read More About Our Brands
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Question Are there any programmes that will help to grow my business?
Answer Depending on the type of merchant business you run, MasterCard has many programmes designed to grow your business.
Find Programmes Tailored to Your Business
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Question Can I accept Diners Club® Cards?
Answer Yes, MasterCard and Diners Club have joined forces to establish an alliance that will provide enhanced global acceptance to Diners Club North America cardmembers, and enhanced U.S. and Canadian acceptance for Diners Club International cardmembers.
Learn More About the Diners Club Alliance
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Question Who do I call if I have a problem with my terminals?
Answer Contact the Acquirer that set you up to accept MasterCard.
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