What is a payment service provider?

on Mar4
payment service provider
Written by
James Davis
Written by James Davis
Senior Technical Writer at United Thinkers
Author of the Paylosophy blog, a veteran writer, and a stock analyst with extensive knowledge and experience in the financial services industry that allows me to cover the latest payment industry news, developments, and insights. Read more
payment service provider
Reviewed by
Kathrine Pensatori
Product Specialist at United Thinkers
Product specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the Payment Processing Industry. I help payment facilitators and PSPs solve their various payment processing issues. Read more

What is a payment service provider or PSP?

A payment service provider (or PSP) is a company facilitating different types of payment processing for other companies, usually through its own payment system.

What is the difference between a payment service provider and a merchant services provider?

Some people use the two terms (PSP and MSP) interchangeably. All payment service providers are, in fact, merchant service providers as well. However, in case of payment service providers, payment aggregation model is often used. When merchant accounts are issued by merchant services providers, they are issued in the name of the underlying merchant that goes through the underwriting process with the acquirer the MSP works with (the acquirer can be a merchant services provider as well).
In contrast to merchant services provider, a payment service provider is often an aggregator in relation to merchants in its portfolio. Services of payment service providers are more popular in industries, where it is more difficult for merchants to get merchant accounts directly (high-risk).

How can an entity become a payment service provider?

There are two things that a company needs to become a PSP: its own infrastructure and banking\acquirer relationships. Basically, the company will need its own payment gateway solution, a PCI-compliant hosting and integrations with banks and acquirers. More detailed information on how to become a payment service provider can be found in respective article in our blog.

What is the role of payment service providers in merchant services industry?

Payment service providers allow merchants they are servicing to avoid the bureaucracy of large financial institutions (acquirers, banks and processors), gain access to better technology and customer service and save on integration-related efforts.

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