Building a national-scale direct acquiring center on Visa MDEX

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The Challenge

In 2012, our client was experiencing difficulties with acquiring transactions across the country. The in-store volume of card payments was growing and it was becoming more and more challenging to ensure a consistently fast card authorization experience across the country. In some regions, acquirers had underdeveloped infrastructures, with poor internet connections, that ultimately produced a lot of bad authorization requests and timeouts. To address this challenge, our client was looking into Visa Merchant Direct Exchange (MDEX) technology, which offered a single connection to VisaNet, instead of having to maintain multiple connections for authorizations with different credit and debit card acquirers. 

Our client needed a reliable partner with proven experience in the payment cards industry, who’d be willing to undertake such a project and build our client’s own acquiring center, directly connected to Visa through MDEX protocol. 

Solution We Offered

We offered a complex solution, consisting of 3 parts: 

  1. Card Authorization switch, connected to Visa through MDEX.
  2. Fraud monitoring of the Acquiring transaction flow. 
  3. Full remote administration and support of this acquiring infrastructure with high-level SLA. 

To address the first part, Card Authorization switch, we chose FIS Cortex payment cards management platform that was well-known for its acquiring processing speeds and scalability. We completed this part of the project within the set 5-month timeframe, by rolling out Cortex Core and Switching modules, and connecting them to Visa Merchant Direct Exchange, using SMS POS technology, and also using VisaNet-MC Gate for MC acquiring. Cortex was deployed in Active-Active cluster configuration, with full replication of data, automatic failover, and zero downtime. For better redundancy, the system was also configured with 4 parallel interfaces to VisaNet.  

Fraud monitoring & SLA

For the second part, our client chose our StrongHold Fraud Prevention Platform, configured for analyzing the flow of acquiring transactions in real time. This became one of the most demanding installations of StrongHold performance-wise, processing up to 1,500 TPS at peak times (national holidays, like Christmas, New Year, etc.). StrongHold was connected directly to the Cortex authorization switch, located in 2 DCs, and processed all flow of authorizations, coming from 750 stores across the country, in real-time mode. 

To ensure the highest operational redundancy and availability level of 99,98% for the whole acquiring infrastructure, as well as to reduce TCO, our client wanted to outsource to D8’s Managed Services team all aspects, related to IT administration. We offered real-time, 24/7/365 monitoring of all infrastructure components, with our highest SLA level (15 min. reaction time on critical issues 24/7), and full remote administration, maintenance, backup and DR functions, performed by our IT experts. 


The Results

Technologies that were used in this project

FIS Cortex
Oracle DB
Oracle RAC
IBM p710
Oracle Tuxedo
Oracle WebLogic Cluster
IBM Storewise V7000
NetXMS Monitoring
Grafana BI

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