Credit Card Processors Vs. Merchant Service Providers

You likely refer to the entity that processes credit cards for your business as your credit card processor. However, all credit card processors are not the same and the level of service, support and products available are vastly different between Payment Processors, Aggregators and Merchant Services Providers. 


What’s the Difference? 

Aggregators are companies like Square and PayPal who provide the most basic credit card processing through their service. Unlike a payment processor or merchant service provider, there are very little resources for help with things like chargebacks, duplicate charges, or other transaction issues. Payment processors and merchant service providers both require Merchant accounts to deposit funds into and both can serve as a link between an acquiring bank that funds transactions on behalf of the card brands. Merchant Service Providers supply products and services for credit card processing and provide technical support.  


About Aggregators 

Aggregators such as Square or PayPal allow the simplest form of credit card processing for those merchants who have sporadic transactions over the month with mostly low dollar transactions. It is easy to set up and you can begin taking credit cards the same day in most cases. Beware, the cost for this convenience can be pricey at 2.6% to 3.5% of the transaction plus a per transaction fee. Customer service is very limited. 


Merchant Service Providers 

Merchant Service Providers offer additional services beneficial to collecting money from a variety of payment sources such as credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and similar methods. A Merchant Services Provider can provide creative solutions from accepting credit cards in the field using mobile payment terminals or mobile devices such as cell phones or create recurring payments so that your customers can make automatic payments to you every month. MSPs typically charge between 1.7% and 3.5% of the transactions based on Interchange rates and other fees. 


Full-Service Providers 

There are Merchant Service Providers and Full-Service Providers like Aurora Payments. FSPs are like an MSP on steroids. As an FSP, Aurora offers numerous products and services that are important to merchants with respect to collecting their money from customers while providing an easy and convenient payment experience for the customer. This can include automated invoices with payment links or recurring payments set up by your customer. A full-service provider can assist a merchant with a chargeback defense or setting up ACH Payments so you can pay your vendors faster and without the hassle of paper checks. Your customers can also pay you using an ACH Payment which can be helpful in clearing up delinquent accounts during a phone call. Unlike our competitors who are forced to use an acquiring bank to fund transactions, we can fund your transactions without the need of a third-party bank. That means we have our own in-house underwriters to speed up the boarding process of new merchants. 


Other Solutions 

Other solutions provided by Aurora Payments include setting up online payment portals and providing equipment and technology that passes the cost of accepting cards to your customers. Add additional payment methods beyond credit cards, such as Apple Pay. Provide your customers with contactless Tap & Go payments with a contactless terminal.  


Other Support 

We provide a suite of education through bi-weekly podcasts, a monthly newsletter, and Merchant Alerts. When we become aware of fraud schemes hitting a particular industry, we send Fraud Alerts out through industry trade associations. We also offer cash advances through our Aurora Capital program that lets you borrow money against future transactions. When you need help, we are ready to provide it with 24/7/365 tech support. 



Our best solution for operating your business is our own proprietary RiseOS gateway. You are likely familiar with gateways like or Payflow Pro. We own our own! Think of our system as a web-based credit card terminal that you can take with you with a customizable merchant dashboard that includes a quick graph showing income by the hour and a host of other management tools that packs a punch of functionality for you and your customers. Use our easy-to-use payment links in emailed invoices and RiseOS will improve your cash flow. Add a PCI Compliant vault so your repeat customers can safely store their credit card for future transactions. 


Software Solutions 

We are experts at integrating with software packages from many different industries including funeral, automotive, health and beauty, jewelry, pet care, fast-food or dine-in restaurants and luxury transportation. Our in-house software developers and engineers can integrate with virtually any platfom. If you need a solution, we either have it or have the capability of building it. 


Who is Aurora? 

Aurora Payments is a network of professionals providing Merchants with reliable payment solutions for any industry and any environment. We help businesses increase efficiency and growth. Our proprietary technology provides One Ecosystem – One Contract – One Partner – One Aurora. As a Full-Service Provider (FSP), we have the all the products, services, solutions, and support Merchants need – all-in-one place. We’re an organization driven by a passion for helping our Merchants succeed. Interested in learning how you can eliminate credit card processing fees? Send us an email at or call us at 833-287-6722. You’ll be saving money in no time!