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A payment service provider (PSP) offers merchants online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of payment methods including credit card, bank-based payments such as direct debit, bank transfer, and real-time bank transfer based on online banking. Some PSPs provide unique services to process other next generation methods (Payment systems) including cash payments, wallets such as PayPal, prepaid cards or vouchers, and even paper or e-check processing.

Typically, a PSP can connect to multiple acquiring banks, card, and payment networks. In many cases, the PSP will fully manage these technical connections, relationships with the external network, and bank accounts. This makes the merchant less dependent on financial institutions and free from the task of establishing these connections directly - especially when operating internationally.

Furthermore, a full service PSP can offer risk management services for card and bank based payments, transaction payment matching, reporting, fund remittance and fraud protection in addition to multi-currency functionality and services.

PSP fees are typically levied in one of two ways: as a percentage of each transaction or a low fixed cost per transaction.

US-based on-line payment service providers are supervised by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (or FinCEN), a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes information about financial transactions in order to combat money laundering, terrorist financiers, and other financial crimes.

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