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A financial institution - often a subsidiary of a bank - that ‘buys’ credit card transactions, with recourse, from a retailer.

The acquirer will present the transactions to the card issuer for payment and will then pay the retailer the amount of the card transactions less a discount - which covers their own and the card issuer’s fee for handling the transaction.

This is how retailers get paid, and are facilitated to accept card transactions.

See also