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Terms you need to understand if you process transactions for business clients using an electronic payment system.

Last updated 1 May 2018


An acquirer processes credit and debit card payments on behalf of a merchant and accepts or acquires card payments from schemes such as Visa, MasterCard or China Union Pay.


An administrator is any entity that is involved in the management and/or control of the processing of payments in a payment system or part of a payment system. This includes any entity involved in the management and/or control of any instruments and procedures related to the payment system.

Administrators of an electronic payment system can be:

  • acquirers
  • authorised deposit-taking institutions
  • specialised payment providers
  • third party processors.


An aggregator has a merchant account with an acquirer which is used to process debit and credit card payments for their business clients. They allow their clients to accept payment by debit and credit card instead of opening a merchant account directly with an acquirer or card scheme. An aggregator operates in the merchant acquiring system.

Two aggregation models are:

  1. The aggregator holds a single Merchant identification (referred to as MID) and facilitates payments for multiple business clients under this MID. The aggregator issues their client with unique reference numbers to identify which business is receiving the payments.
  2. The aggregator issues each of their clients with a unique MID.

An aggregator may also process payments through other payment systems such as BPAY or Direct entry. ‘Aggregator’ is not used to describe a participant in these other payment systems.

Authorised deposit-taking institution

Authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) describes a corporation that is authorised under the Banking Act 1959 to take deposits from customers. ADIs include banks, building societies and credit unions.

BPAY biller

BPAY is a payment system that facilitates electronic payments. A BPAY Biller is an entity that has been issued with a unique BPAY biller ID to facilitate electronic payments for themselves or their clients.

Direct debit

Direct debit transactions are processed through the Direct entry system. Organisations that process direct debits are known as debit users. They hold an Australian Payments Network number (also referred to as a Direct entry user ID, BECS ID or BUDS ID) which is a unique identifier that recognises they are approved to use the Direct entry system. A debit user can only process direct debits where a direct debit request (DDR) authority has been provided by their client.


An intermediary is an entity who lodges a report with the ATO and could lodge on behalf of a reporting entity. If you are lodging on your own behalf, you need to complete the Intermediary data record as well as the Reporting party data record.

Internet merchant account

An internet merchant account allows businesses to accept card payments in an e-commerce or online environment. They are distinct from traditional merchant facilities and consider additional risk factors inherent to online shopping and card not present transactions. You should report on these accounts in the same way as you would a traditional merchant account.


A merchant is used to describe an entity that is in the business of buying and selling goods and services for a profit.

Merchant account

A merchant account allows a business to accept debit and credit card payments from their customers. A merchant account is established under a merchant agreement between an acquirer and the merchant. When an aggregator processes the payments on behalf of their clients through their merchant account they will also be a party to the agreement. The agreement contractually binds the merchant to abide by the regulations set by the card schemes.

Payment system

The Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 defines a payment system as a funds transfer system that facilitates the circulation of money, and includes any instruments and procedures that relate to the system.


A reporter is an administrator of a payment system that has a legal obligation to lodge reports with us.

Third party processor

A third party processor facilitates payments on behalf of their clients through an electronic payment system/s including the merchant acquiring system (as an aggregator), BPAY (as a Participant Institutional Member) and direct debit (as a Debit User). A third party processor typically holds a MID, APN number or BPAY biller ID and processes all transactions using unique reference numbers to identify their clients.

The term ‘third-party processor’ includes payment facilitators.

Specialised payment provider

A specialised payment provider administers an alternative payment system to the merchant acquiring, BPAY and direct debit systems where the transactions are not already captured and reported to us.

For example, a Purchased payment facility, as recognised by the Payment Systems (Regulations) Act 1998, is a specialised payment provider and has an obligation to report data to us.