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    Authorization is when a merchant sends a request to the payment processor and card issuer to validate a credit card payment for a consumer.

    What Is Authorization?

    When a consumer swipes, taps, or inserts their card to make a purchase, all they experience is a brief pause before the point-of-sale (POS) system either accepts or rejects their payment. On the backend, however, a complex authorization process is taking place.

    After the consumer initiates their purchase, the merchant’s POS will send a request to the acquiring institution, which is often a bank or credit card processor like Venmo or PayPal. Then, the processor sends a request to the bank that issued the credit card. 

    The issuer determines if the consumer has enough funds in their account to cover the purchase, and then authorizes or declines the purchase from there, sending a message back to the acquirer and merchant accordingly.

    Because this process facilitates the consumer’s purchase, fast and efficient authorization is critical for a positive user experience. Systems that streamline this process can win customer loyalty.

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