Payment Providers, also known as Payment Service Providers (PSPs) or Payment Gateways, help online businesses to accept payments online.
The payment provider provides one single interface to one or more online payment methods, like credit cards, alternative payment methods and digital wallets.

There are many payment providers to choose from. Which one fits your business depends on your specific situation and requirements.
What type of payment methods do you want to accept in your webshop? What markets are you active in? Do you need fraud detection tools? Mobile optimised payment pages? etc.

To guide you in the right direction, we have distinguished 4 types of payment providers: Distributors, Collectors, Aggregators and Acquirers.
The first 3 types actually sit between your webshop and technically establish the connection to the banks for processing of payments (these banks are the so-called Acquirers, see separate section below). The provider types differ when it comes to settling payments, negotiating transaction fees and contracting.



A Distributor is a Payment Provider that purely acts as the technical and reporting interface between Merchants and Payment Methods. Merchants have a direct contractual relationship with each of the Payment Methods and collect the funds themselves. The Merchant is in full control over its online payment process.



A Collector operates in the same way as a Distributor with the exception of handling the merchant funds. A Collector 'collects' the funds from the Payment Methods on behalf of the merchant. The contractual relationship remains between merchant and Payment Method. Merchants will receive the funds of all Payment Methods in one payout from the Collector.



An Aggregator is a Payment Provider that acts as a one-stop-shop towards Merchants. The Aggregator manages the contractual relationship with the Payment Methods and receives the Merchant funds and settles these on towards the Merchants. The Merchant only needs one agreement with the Aggregator to facilitate online payments in their webshop.




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Typically Payment Providers use a Software as a service model (SaaS) and form a single technical gateway for their merchants to multiple payment methods.


Distributing Payment Service Providers take over the technical burden for ecommerce merchants to accept payments. Distributors build and maintain the connection to many payment methods (cards and alternatives).

Your shop would only need to connect to one Distributor to be able to accept several payment methods. We consider Payment Gateways also to be Distributors, generally supporting only one or two payment types.

Distributors do not collect the funds related to different payment methods. Merchants are paid directly by the financial institution that process their card and alternative payments (=acquirer).

Especially for merchants offering only a few payment options or capable of handling their own reconciliation, Distributors can help.

Find Your Distributor read more


Collecting Payment Service Providers make life easier for merchants by streamlining settlement for all accepted payment methods.

They combine all payments performed by card or alternative method into one settlement. You receive all payments in one batch to your bank account and get great reporting that simplifies payment reconciliation.

Without using a collector, merchants would receive separate settlements for every payment method they accept in their shop. Settlements for payment methods differ in frequency and delay. Managing the reconciliation (matching orders with received settlements) could be a time-consuming and costly process.

When it comes to negotiating transaction fees and contracting, the merchants remains in the driver seat. Collectors do not play a role in fee negotiation or contracting with merchant acquirers.

Especially for merchants offering lots of payment options to serve their (cross-border) audience, Collectors can help.

Find Your Collector read more

Collecting Providers based in Europe require a license as Payment Institute which ensures user-friendliness, safety, and efficiency of payments throughout the European Union.


Aggregating Payment Service Providers take over the technical burden for ecommerce merchants to accept payments, collect the funds for several payment methods and contract with the individual 'payment methods'.

The difference with Collectors is that Aggregators contract with the payment method company on behalf of multiple merchants. There is no need for merchants to negotiate transaction prices or contract with the financial institution that processes the payment method (the Acquirers).

The difference with Distributors is that Aggregators also collect funds, settle the merchant's bank account and negotiate the terms with the payment method company.

Especially for merchants offering only few payment options and prefer not to contract with payment method companies (financial institutions, banks), Aggregators can help.

Find Your Aggregator read more


Acquirers are the 'Payment Method Companies'.
They are banks or financial institutions that represent one or more Payment Methods (e.g MasterCard, Visa, Interac, iDeal).

They actually process transactions and settle funds to merchants. Whereas Distributors, Collectors and Aggregators main function is to connect webshops to these Acquirers for transaction processing.

Merchants using an Aggregating Payment Service Provider do not have to contract with an Acquirer. The Aggregator does that for them.

Acquirers differ in transaction fees, merchant discount rates, terms and conditions and value-added service. Find the one(s) for your business.


A Card Acquirer also known as a Merchant Acquirer or Acquiring Bank provides online Merchants with a merchant account to accept the major credit & debit card brands such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express and UnionPay. These card brands have licensed the processing (authorization and settlement) of card payments out to Card Acquirers around the world. Each of these Card Acquirers operate in a specific region which can be domestically or cross-border. About-Payments provides a database of these Card Acquirers around the world.

Find your Card Acquirer


Alternative Acquirers are Acquirers for other Payment Methods than cards. There are various Payment Methods around the world where the processing of the actual payments is handled by Acquiring parties. For example iDEAL in The Netherlands where the participating banks act as the Acquirer and Merchants need to have an agreement with one of these Acquirers to be able to offer iDEAL as a Payment Method in their checkout. Merchants can of course use a Collecting or Aggregating Payment Provider to avoid a direct relationship with an Acquirer.

Find your Alternative Acquirer - coming soon

More and more Payment Providers become a Principal Member of the Card Schemes enabling them to offer Acquiring Services directly to Merchants. Recent examples are Adyen, Allied Wallet and eMerchantPay.

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