How Mastercard® Works

The diagram below will help you better understand the role of Mastercard and the merchant in this transaction process.

Card Issuing Bank

Card Issuing Bank – The cardholder’s financial institution, also a licensed member of Mastercard


Cardholder – A consumer who is solicited, screened, and approved by the issuer who establishes a line of credit for the customer and issues the bankcard.


Merchant – Virtually any company that wants to accept cards for payment and that meets the qualification standards of Mastercard and an "acquirer".


Acquirer – A licensed member of Mastercard that screens and accepts merchants into its bankcard programme, processes transactions, and completes financial settlement to them.


Mastercard Worldwide – We license our brand to member financial institutions that in turn provide services to consumers and merchants.