An ABA routing transit number (ABA RTN) is a nine-digit code printed on the bottom of checks in the United States to identify the financial institution on which it was drawn. It is named after the American Bankers Association (ABA), who developed the system in 1910. It's purpose is to facilitate the sorting, bundling, and delivering of paper checks to the drawer's (check writer's) bank for debiting.
In Canada, banks use an eight-digit routing number. This number consists of the five-digit transit ID for the branch and three-digit institution ID of the bank. The number appears on the bottom of the check in the order of Transit ID followed by the Institution ID.
A gateway (online gateway, payment gateway, gateway account) is a software that connects your Merchant Account with the "online world".
Just like you need a physical machine (like those from Clover, Verifone, Ingenico, etc) to take payments in the physical world, you need a software machine (the gateway) to take payments in the software world. Just like the hardware device has technology to securely read and transmit payment information, the same is true for gateways.
Two gateway products Discount Payments works with and offers as options to our merchants are those by Bambora and Authorize.net.
If you're looking to take payments online then you've probably heard of Stripe, a popular competitor of ours. Stripe is an example of a gateway, but not just a gateway. Stripe is what's known as a Payment Facilitator (or PayFac, Payment Aggregator, Payment Service Provider). They are a Payment Facilitator who's offering is a gateway. Square (another popular competitor of ours) is also a Payment Facilitator but their offering instead focuses more on in-person sales and hardware devices.
A Payment Facilitator means that you don't have a Merchant Account directly with any bank, you have an account with the facilitator and they have a Merchant Account with the bank. They aggregate all payments from their users and submit them through their Merchant Account. This is why they were once call aggregators and now facilitators, those terms are very fitting.
The upside to a facilitator is that things look a little more streamlined. The downside is that they are more expensive because they add a significant markup on the cost in their flat rate pricing.
This is how Discount Payments is able to provide such amazing cost-plus rates. We set you up a Merchant Account directly with an acquiring bank through our financial services partner First Data (now Fiserv). The only downside is that you see all these individual pieces and it might seem confusing. Not to worry though because we simplify everything by being the only one you need to talk to. We administer everything, control all the fees and help you get set up from end to end.
Who is a merchant? The word "merchant" sounds so old-timey, as if you should be selling fish down at the market in the 16th century or be performing a barter trade before you head over to get some ale from the Inn Keeper. The Oxford Dictionary defines merchant as "a person or company involved in wholesale trade, especially one dealing with foreign countries or supplying merchandise to a particular trade".
In the context of payment processoring though, "merchant" simply refers to any business taking card payments. Payment processors call their customers "merchants". So if you are a business that works with a payment processor to accept card payments, you are a merchant.
A Merchant Account is a special type of bank account for businesses that accept card payments. It's not like a normal bank account that stores money and you can perform transactions with, though. It doesn't hold money and it is strictly one directional.
Whereas a business chequing account is held at a commercial bank, a merchant account is held at an acquiring bank. They're called "acquiring" banks because they acquire the payments from you and through their connections with the various networks (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Interac, etc) they retrieve the money from the consumer account to give to you.
Merchant Accounts are a little harder to get than a simple consumer bank account where you just walk in and open one up. They require an application process and banks are more discerning in giving them out because of the risks involved. First, deposits are made the next business day but it takes longer than a day for the money to actually be transferred from the issuing (consumer) bank. This means that every deposit is essentially advanced to the merchant by the acquiring bank (acquirer). Next, if there are ever any chargebacks and the merchant is unable to fulfill them then the acquiring bank pays it. This could be because of a fraudulent merchant who took payments, got paid and then disappeared, but also an honest merchant who may not be able to pay a chargeback for various reasons.
This is why during the application process basic measures are taken to ensure that the business and owners are legitimate, as well as check credit among other things.
Discount Payments offers Merchant Accounts directly with an acquiring bank through our financial services partner First Data (now Fiserv). This is how we are able to provide such amazing cost-plus processing rates. We administer the accounts and control all the fees.