CIO has a good interview with Rob Reeg, president of Mastercard’s Global Technology and Operations. He discusses their infrastructure and processing architecture. Definitely worth looking at if you’re interested in how credit card transactions are processed.
Interviewer: How big of an infrastructure do you have to support and maintain? It must be huge.
Reeg: Actually from a pure server footprint standpoint… we probably have fewer actual footprint servers because of techniques like virtualization that help us leverage one box to do multiple things.
Where it gets interesting is philosophically: We try to put [transaction] processing as close to our customers, the banks, as possible. When we talk about the global network, we have small servers that sit with the bank customers that connect to our network. What it does is it gives us intelligence there at the end of the network. So as a transaction comes through, we can take a look at that transaction and decide how do we best process that transaction for the benefit of all those four parties in the model.
As to processing, the majority of transactions we’re looking at relate to how do we process them as fast as possible in the most accurate way. The way to do that is by peer to peer: If you’re using your card in Europe, in London, say, and you swipe your card as you check out of hotel, we can route that transaction to the hotel’s acquiring bank in London directly to your issuing bank and get that message back for approval without ever going through St. Louis or some big data center in the middle of all that.
You can read the full article HERE.