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Electronic payments: who, what and how?

To process an electronic payment several parties are involved, one of which is Bancontact.

First, of course, there’s your bank. But other parties and providers 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 secure, so you can easily pay in a store, at a webshop or with your smartphone ̶ with total peace of mind. Want to find out more about the various parties involved and how electronic payments work? Watch the video below.

What is Bancontact?

Bancontact is a payment method from Bancontact Payconiq Company. Bancontact defines the infrastructure of electronic payments as well as the rules that apply between the different parties.


Bancontact determines how money is transferred from the payer's account to the recipient's account. For a cardholder, all transfers are carried out 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:

  1. Verification: When a customer enters their PIN code, a verification step takes place to establish whether the cardholder's account balance has sufficient funds to cover the payment.
  2. Calculation: This step includes the exchange of financial information between issuer and acquirer.
  3. Processing the actual payment.


Bancontact also sets the rules for correct payment transactions. Basically, this 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 that 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.