Merchant Service Providers: What are They & What Do They Do?

A merchant services provider can be a crucial player in not only expanding your business, but also in helping it operate smoothly and effectively in order to achieve that growth. Merchant services providers offer a number of benefits that are incredibly useful to businesses and are especially important to understand and utilise correctly.

That said, we’ve put together some useful information that can help you understand not only what a merchant services provider is but also how they work. 

What is a Merchant Service Provider? 

Merchant service providers offer both businesses and individuals the tools to be able to deal with online payment transactions effectively and efficiently via methods such as credit card and debit card payments. This also includes all other forms of electronic payments. 

Merchant service providers also helps you and your business to securely manage and keep in line with PCI compliance when processing and storing payment information meaning that merchant service providers help you keep your customer data safe and secure. Not only this but merchant service providers also allow you and your business to track payments, collect outstanding funds and even help you understand your businesses data.

What are the different types of Merchant Service Providers? 

A merchant service provider is considered representatives for either a business or an individual selling goods or services. Because of the way in which goods and services are offered to customers/consumers, there needs to be a number of different types of merchant service providers to accommodate these. The different types of merchant service providers include:


  • E-Commerce Merchant Service Providers
  • Retail Merchant Service Providers
  • Wholesale Merchant Service Providers

So, how do Merchant Services work?

The term ‘merchant services’ typically refers to a merchant account, which is something most businesses should have. A merchant account is often set up by the Merchant Service Provider (MSP) and thereafter, the Merchant Service Provider acts as an intermediary between the business bank account, the payment gateway and payment processors, credit card networks and the customers issuing bank. That said, it is fair to say that Merchant Service Providers play a crucial role in the payment ecosystem of many, many businesses. Without merchant services and subsequent Merchant Service Providers, you aren’t able to accept card payments or any other form of digital transaction. 

What else do Merchant Service Providers offer? 

So, now we’ve established what a Merchant Service Provider is, what they do and how they work, and we have a good understanding of how important they are in the payment ecosystem for a lot of businesses. What else can Merchant Service Providers do though? What other benefits are there for engaging with a Merchant Service Provider?


  • Some MSPs offer the ability for contactless payments.
  • Some allow for mobile payments to be made.
  • Some MSPs allow the integration of payments into an e-commerce store.
  • Payment Gateways and payment processing via MSPs.
  • MSPs also offer additional security in regard to payments.

Imburse can help your business manage your bespoke payment needs for a secure and efficient payments that work for you. Get in touch with us today for more information.


Share to: