When ringing up at the grocery store, you swipe your card to pay, get your receipt and you're on your way. But what just happened to your card info?
In a matter of seconds after swiping your credit card, quite a few computer systems are scanning and forwarding your card info. The first stop your card information makes is the front-end-processor. These guys determine which bank your card is affiliated with and send the transaction information along to the payment network, companies like Visa or MasterCard. The credit card company then reaches out to your bank for authorization for the transaction. Everything flies back through to the point of sale and if you have the credit, you're on your way.
At the end of the day, the merchant sends along all of the day's transactions to a separate back-end-processor. These are the guys who are responsible to reach out to your bank and credit card company to transfer the money. To learn more on this and other personal finance topics, just visit Bankrate.com.