5 Places Your Data Goes with Each Debit-Card Swipe

Have you ever wondered what happens between the time you swipe your debit card and when you get notified that the transaction has been approved?

Your account information actually makes quite a few stops:

  1. First, the reader at the POS decodes the debit card data.
  2. Next, your purchase information gets sent to the merchant’s bank, which connects the store to the payment network your card runs on.
  3. Then the payment network sends the purchase information to your bank for authorization, where the bank verifies that you have enough money to make the purchase.
  4. If you’ve got enough, the bank approves it and deducts the purchase amount from your account, adding the charge to your statement.
  5. The merchant’s bank is now allowed to move ahead, and your transaction is completed.

Just think – all that in only a matter of seconds! So the next time you’re tapping your foot, waiting for a transaction to go through, realize all that’s going on behind the scenes.


About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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