Payment Processing

Credit & Debit Cards

Paperless Transaction Corporation’s core service is the authorization, clearing and settlement of financial transactions. This includes a robust credit and debit card processing service that provides a PCI-compliant, single-source solution compatible with a wide range of software and data management systems. Supported by a secure, tier 1 data hosting facility, PTC’s authorization network accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – as well as various national and regional debit cards – and delivers a versatile and efficient donation processing solution.

The History of

Credit Cards

Early “Charge” Cards

In the past, there were early versions of credit cards, often called "charge" cards. These cards were quite basic, made from materials like cardboard, paper, or celluloid. Their primary purpose was to encourage customer loyalty for the businesses that issued them. However, these early cards had certain limitations. They could only be used at specific locations, and the customers were required to have accounts at the banks affiliated with the merchants to access the credit. Moreover, they were only valid at the stores that issued the cards.

The First Credit Card

In 1949, just a few years later, a significant event marked the birth of the traditional credit card. It all started when Frank McNamara faced an understandable yet awkward situation during a business dinner at New York's Cabin Grill: he had left his wallet behind. Luckily, his wife stepped in and paid the bill. This incident sparked an idea in him to revolutionize how people made purchases. Together with his partner and friend Ralph Schneider, Frank McNamara developed the Diners Club card, which is now considered the first widely used "credit" card. This innovation laid the foundation for the credit card systems we use today.

Credit Evolving

Over time, the first credit card with broader usability emerged, known as the BankAmericard. Bank of America in California started issuing this card state-by-state. In the early 1960s, the credit card industry experienced a significant shift. Other banks began issuing their own credit cards and realized the importance of wider acceptance.

To make credit cards more universally accepted, multiple major cards needed support from merchants. Consequently, several banks formed a cooperative group called the InterBank Card Association (ICA), now recognized as MasterCard. In the following decade, BankAmericard eventually became independent from Bank of America and transformed into Visa.

The Turning Point

In the 70s and 80s, credit card transactions involved carbon paper sales drafts, but electronics changed everything. In the mid-1980s, modems and point-of-sale equipment enabled instant communication with a central computer, allowing swift credit card approvals. This process, known as Electronic Draft Capture, brought faster checkouts, enhanced security, and convenience for customers.

How Our Processing Works

The credit card processing industry consists of two main sides: the card-issuing side and the merchant-acquiring side. The card issuing side involves banks providing credit cards to individuals deemed creditworthy. On the other hand, the merchant acquiring side comprises various businesses that accept credit cards for transactions, including retail stores, restaurants, online shops, gas stations, non-profit organizations, and churches.

When merchants accept cards as a form of payment, the transaction goes through three basic steps: 1) authorization, 2) clearing, and 3) settlement. During these steps, information is exchanged between the parties involved to ensure that the transaction is paid for accurately. Our secure payment gateway and back office virtual terminal facilitate this process so that your non-profit or church can receive donations quickly and easily!