A credit card processing service is a benefit offered to the consumer from a merchant that accepts credit cards. To be eligible for the benefits of a credit card processing service, the consumer must have access to a credit card with available funds on a credit card accepted by the merchant.
It is an advantage to both merchant and consumer for the merchant to provide a credit card processing service. As a consumer, credit cards permit the purchase of goods or services without using the cash available on hand or in a checking account. A credit card allows the buyer to purchase goods or services by accessing the line of credit available on their credit card account and repay the money over time.
Merchants that provide a credit card processing service will typically sell more of their particular product or service by offering the consumer a credit card processing service in lieu of payment by cash or check. The merchant does pay a fee to the credit card company per transaction, in addition to any equipment necessary to provide the credit card processing service. However, these fees are usually offset by the increased sales and by the credit card processing service guaranteeing payment to the merchant with none of the common risks associated with accepting personal checks, such as an insufficient funds situation. If funds are not available on the consumer's credit card account, the merchant is alerted and the transaction is declined.
Most merchants world-wide accept MasterCard and Visa, though many accept other cards when providing their credit card processing service.