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Parties and Steps Involved in a Credit Card or P-Card Transactions


When you use a credit card or procurement card, you only see the merchant and your credit card issuers. Ever wondered who are the other parties involved?

Parties Involved in Transaction



  • Card Holder – You (as a Purchaser) are the card holder

  • Merchant – Vendor or retailer you are buying from (e.g. Walmart)

  • Issuer – Your credit card or professional card issuing company (e.g. Citi Bank).

  • Acquirer – Merchant’s bank that allow merchant to accept card (e.g. Wells Fargo)

  • EPOS provider – Technology provider providing merchant’s capability of accepting card

  • Bankcard association – Association that connect Issuer and Acquirer (e.g. Visa)

Step by Step Flow of P-Card Transactions



  1. Buyer Receives invoices from supplier

  2. Buyer Initiates payment to merchant

  3. Merchant charges the card and receives confirmation of payment.

  4. Buyer receives confirmation of payment.

  5. Merchant sends payment request for all card transaction to Acquirer.

  6. Acquirer forwards the request to bankcard association.

  7. Bankcard association sends the request to Issuer to settle the bill.

  8. Issuer settles the fund to Acquirer.

  9. Acquirer deposits the fund to Merchant bank account.

  10. Merchant receives the fund.

  11. Issuer updates the bank statement.

  12. Buyer pays the Issuer.

Credit Card vs P-Card


P-Card is known by many names: Procurement Card, ProCard, and Purchasing Card. P-Card are similar to credit card, but there are few differences.

  • The primary difference is that P-Card is used by business users for corporate expenses whereas Credit Card is used by consumers for daily expenses.

  • P-Card allows organizations to take advantage of existing credit card infrastructure to make electronic payments.  Using P-Card, organizations can follow simplified procure to pay process for low value items.

  • The payment for the P-Card is handled by organization whereas payment for the Credit Card is handled by the customer.

  • P-Card bill is always paid in full whereas Credit Card bill can be paid over the period, payment of minimum due is enough.

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