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Soft descriptors for Aggregators and Staged digital wallet operators

Aggregators, also known as Payment Facilitators (PF) or Payment Service Providers (PSP), funnel and process multiple merchant transactions through a single account. The aggregator holds the merchant facilities and processes transactions on behalf of the sub-merchants.

An aggregator must have a separate merchant facility for each merchant category code. An aggregator can use a single merchant facility for many sub-merchants.

What is the role of a sub-merchant?

In scenarios when a payment facilitator is used, they take the role of service provider in the four party transaction model, along with the acquirer, issuer, and Visa/Mastercard. The provider of the goods or services that the cardholder purchased from is known as the sub-merchant instead of the merchant in these instances.

When the cardholder makes a purchase, the sub-merchant routes the transaction data to the payment facilitator. The payment facilitator incorporates all necessary transaction and merchant identification data and then routes to the acquirer. As per normal agreements between merchants and acquirers, the payment facilitator acting as a service provider must have a service level agreement with the acquirer to facilitate transactions on behalf of the sub-merchant and the sub-merchant must be in the acquirer's licensed area of use.

What is a staged digital wallet?

A Staged Digital Wallet has a 2-stage payment process that is conducted to complete a purchase initiated by the cardholder:

  1. Funding stage - The Staged Digital Wallet Operator (DWO) uses the stored account information to take a payment from the cardholder.
  2. Payment stage - The Staged DWO pays the retailer, e.g. by a funds transfer to an account held by the Staged DWO for the retailer.

Neither the retailer nor, if the retailer is a Merchant, its Acquirer or the Acquirer's Service Provider receives Mastercard or Maestro Account data and other information identifying the network brand and payment card issuer for the funding account.

What are soft-descriptors?

Soft-descriptors are informational fields that Aggregators and Staged DWOs must collect for each transaction. Other merchants cannot use these fields. These merchant descriptor fields allow some control over the cardholder narrative for each transaction. The QuickGateway API request includes new fields to provide these soft-descriptors.

Aggregator and Staged DWO merchants can provide soft-descriptors for:

Soft-descriptor field specification

These fields can be provided for the products listed above. Refer to the documentation above for how to provide these fields for each product specifically.

These fields are only relevant for card payments for Aggregators and Staged DWO merchants.

Parameter Name Length Required Description (for a Payment)
Merchant Name 22 Yes Must be in the format AggregatorName*SubMerchantName. For example AggregatorName is Jane's Transactions, abbreviated to JAT; SubMerchantName name is Jill's Bikes; the value of this field may be JAT*JillsBikes. AggregatorName can be either in full or abbreviated and must be 3 characters. Westpac may suggest a three character aggregator name during your implementation.
Merchant Street Address 48 Yes The street address of the sub-merchant's trading address. It is a scheme requirement to populate the street address as part of the payment. Westpac does not hold the street address information for sub-merchants and it will not appear on the cardholder's or merchant's statement. Must contain the street address lines only: Include the city or suburb in Merchant Location. Include the state in Merchant State. Include the country in Merchant Country. Include the post code in Merchant Post Code.
Merchant Location 13 Yes The city or suburb of the sub-merchant's trading address.
Merchant State 3 Yes The state of the sub-merchant's trading address. One of: NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD, NT, SA, WA, TAS.
Merchant Country 2 Yes AU only. The sub-merchant must be registered in Australia and have a presence and process payments within Australia.
Merchant Post Code 4 Yes The postal code of the sub-merchant's trading address.
Sub-merchant ID 15 Yes A unique identifier for your sub-merchant. The aggregator allocates the sub-merchant identifier. Westpac does not allocate this value.


Can a merchant that is not an aggregator use soft-descriptors?

No. A merchant facility must be set up in Westpac systems to use soft-descriptors. Providing soft-descriptors for transactions to merchant facilities which are not set up to use them will have no effect.

Can descriptive text be provided in the merchant name?

The Merchant Name field must contain data in the format described below. However, a payment facilitator may provide descriptive text in place of the sub-merchant name.


The information contained in this publication is provided for learning purposes only and is subject to change. Revisions may be issued from time to time that encompass changes or additions to this module.

This is a guide only and it is not comprehensive. It does not impinge on or overrule any formal arrangement you may enter into with the Bank. The Bank and its officers shall not have any liability for any losses of any kind incurred in connection with any action, inaction or decision taken in reliance on the information herein or for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. In this publication references to the "Bank" are to Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 and to any of its operating Divisions, including BankSA and St.George.