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The flow of information and money between these parties

Affinity partner: Some institutions lend their names to an issuer to attract customers that have a strong relationship with that institution, and get paid a fee or a percentage of the balance for each card issued using their name. Examples of typical affinity partners are sports teams, universities, charities, professional organizations, and major retailers.
Insurance providers: Insurers underwriting various insurance protections offered as credit card perks, for example, Car Rental Insurance, Purchase Security, Hotel Burglary Insurance, Travel Medical Protection etc.

The flow of information and money between these parties — always through the card associations — is known as the interchange, and it consists of a few steps.
Transaction steps

Authorization: The cardholder presents the card as payment to the merchant and the merchant submits the transaction to the acquirer (acquiring bank). The acquirer verifies the credit card number, the transaction type and the amount with the issuer (card-issuing bank) and reserves that amount of the cardholder’s credit limit for the merchant. An authorization will generate an approval code, which the merchant stores with the transaction.


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