Credit Card Authorization Process

Shannon Andrade |

January 31, 2012

Ever wonder how credit card authorization really works? Where does the credit card information go once you enter it into a credit card terminal or POS?

When a credit card is swiped and a credit card authorization process is initiated, the information is sent directly to a credit card processor. From there, the information is transmitted to the card-issuing bank through a bankcard association, where the transaction is either approved or declined. Finally, the bankcard association transmits the approval or decline back to the terminal or POS device.

During the credit card authorization process, a card may decline if it is expired or has insufficient funds. The transaction may also be declined if the card has been reported missing or if there has been suspicious activity on it. To further protect your business, banks now require credit card authorization for all paper-based transactions.

In order to process credit cards and initiate a credit card authorization, a business must sign apply for, and receive, a merchant account. Once a merchant account is set up, credit card authorization may take place through the use of an equipment terminal/POS.