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:

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.