Electronic payments: who, what and how?

To process an electronic payment several players are involved, including Bancontact.

Firstly, there’s of course your bank. But other players are important too: the terminal distributor, the payment service provider, the acquirer and the payment scheme, such as Bancontact.

Together they make electronic payments simple and safe, so you can easily pay in a store, webshop or with your smartphone  ΜΆ  with peace of mind.

Want to find out more about the players and how electronic payments work? Watch the video below.

What does Bancontact stand for?

Ever since 1989, Bancontact has provided smooth and secure payment processing and today it is the Belgian market leader in electronic payment services. Our activities focus on two main areas:


Bancontact determines how money is transferred from the payer's account to the recipient's account. For a cardholder, all transfers are realised by the bank that issued the bank card (the issuer). For the merchant this is done through their payment terminal distributor or online payment solution provider (the acquirer).

This is a 3-step process:

  • Verification: When a customer enters their PIN code, a verification step takes place to establish whether the card holder's account balance is sufficient to cover the payment.
  • Calculation: This step includes the exchange of financial information between issuer and acquirer.
  • Processing the actual payment.


Bancontact also sets the rules for correct payment transactions. This basically means we ensure all aspects of payment process are secure, fast and transparent. Our rules are divided into 3 categories:

1. Licensing

This describes the terms and conditions issuers and acquirers are required to meet and adhere to, allowing them to use Bancontact. All details are stipulated in a formal contract.

2. General rules

These include all business (risk management, fraud,etc.) and technical (quality, security, etc.) agreements our partners are required to respect.

3. Technical specifications

These outline all processes to be followed by partners when providing card and payment terminal solutions, or 'processing and settlement' services.

Mission and vision

Bancontact image library

What does Bancontact stand for?

Read about our values


Bancontact logo center

An important link in our payment procedure.

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Sepa Compliant

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The European standard for payment traffic.


Service fees

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Our fall-back interchange and service fees.

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