Credit Card Associations: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Referred at the BRANDS, set the rules, guidelines and fees for merchant services.
Credit Card Issuing Banks: These are the financial institutions that issue the credit cards; like Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.
Credit Card Processors: These companies are the “go-betweens” for merchants and credit card associations. They help provide the equipment for transactions, get the transactions approved by the associations, do settlements to the issuing banks who then pays the merchant’s bank.