When the merchant swipes your card, it will most likely be on a First Data point-of-sale terminal (or a Square terminal, particularly if you’re in a hipster coffee shop). Swiping or inserting a card (or tapping a smartphone or smartwatch) at this terminal kicks off the transaction process. Many online systems use payment gateways, such as Stripe or Braintree, which provide a set of tools for interacting with the network, conducting analytics and detecting fraud. The gateway then hits the processor used by the acquiring bank (i.e., the bank of the grocery store). The processor is the main party responsible for conducting the transaction with the acquiring bank.