10 minute read
June 30, 2022

Platform Overview

Companies use the Marqeta platform to launch and manage their payment card programs. Marqeta works on their behalf with card networks and issuing banks to issue cards, authorize transactions, and communicate with settlement entities.

This guide is an overview of how to use Marqeta’s RESTful API features to manage your company’s card program.

Get started

You can try out the platform right now, using the Core API Quick Start guide.

Development environments and interfaces

  • Core API: The Marqeta Core API is a RESTful interface for creating and managing your Marqeta card program. It supports webhooks to give you real-time updates about events in your program. Learn more: Core API.

  • DiVA API: The Data insights, Visualization, and Analytics API is a RESTful interface that gives you programmatic access to production data from your program. Learn more: DiVA API. Also see About Reporting for general information about reporting for your program.

  • API Explorer: The API Explorer is an interface for the Marqeta platform Core API where you can browse available endpoints and make requests to the sandbox environment associated with your account.

  • Public sandbox: A single-user environment where you can begin building your program. Public sandbox users are typically potential customers who are evaluating Marqeta as a partner in their application.

  • Private Sandbox: A multi-user environment where you can integrate your application with the Marqeta platform. Marqeta customers use the private sandbox and its connected microservices to validate their application’s integration, as well as ongoing API changes.

  • Production: The live environment for your program, directly integrated with the card networks.

Funding models

Marqeta supports multiple methods for loading funds into an account holder’s general purpose account (GPA), including:

  • Standard Funding: Card accounts carry a balance of funds for making payments. Funds are loaded into individual GPAs before cardholders can spend. To use standard funding, see Account Holder Funding Sources.

  • Just-in-Time (JIT) Funding: Card accounts carry no balance. Funds are held in your program funding account until a cardholder initiates a purchase. Learn more: About JIT Funding. There are two methods of JIT funding:

    • Managed JIT Funding: The Marqeta platform uses your program’s configured spend controls to make authorization decisions. This method requires a Program Funding Source, and is often used for non-reloadable cards or virtual cards. Learn more: Program Funding Sources.

    • Gateway JIT Funding: The Marqeta platform uses your program’s spend controls to make authorization decisions, and forwards funding requests to your system for approval. This method allows customized spend controls, and is suitable for reloadable cards, and for accessing funds available to cards not issued by Marqeta. Learn more: Gateway JIT Funding Scenarios.

Account holders

Marqeta account holders can be individuals or businesses. Both types of account holder have GPAs, but only individuals can be cardholders and make payments.

To spend funds from a business' GPA, you create a user with the business as its parent. Learn more: About Account Holders.

Account holder groups

Use account holder groups to configure multiple account holders with a common set of spend controls. You can associate new account holders with your program’s default account holder group, configured by Marqeta, or with custom groups. Learn more: Account Holder Groups.

Know Your Customer (KYC)

KYC is an identity verification process performed on new users and businesses. For regulatory purposes, some programs require account holders to pass identity verification before creating cards, loading funds, or making payments. Learn more: KYC Verification.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Marqeta provides IVR services that enable cardholders to activate a card, set or change a card’s PIN, check an account balance, and report lost or stolen cards.

Issuing cards

Create a card product that configures how your cards will behave, and then create cards that inherit the settings of the card product. Cards can be issued, activated, funded via standard or JIT funding, used to conduct transactions, subjected to spend controls, tokenized, suspended, terminated, expired, and reissued. Learn more: About Cards.

Physical and virtual cards

Cards can be physical plastic cards, which require activation and are used for making payments at physical points of sale, or virtual cards, which are often created for immediate one-time use without requiring activation. Learn more: Cards in the Payments Ecosystem.

Card ordering

After you configure your card products and cards, you can specify further attributes when you order cards from a card provider. Learn more: Bulk Card Orders.

Managing lost, stolen, or damaged card products

You might need to suspend, terminate, or reissue a card if it is lost, stolen, or damaged. You can perform these actions on physical and virtual cards, and on digital wallet tokens sourced from a card. Learn more: Managing Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Cards.

Controlling spending

You can apply spend controls to users and card products in the form of authorization controls and velocity controls. An authorization control limits the merchants and merchant categories with whom a user can transact. A velocity control limits maximum amounts, frequency of transactions, and vendor categories.

Learn more:

PCI compliance and widgets

Companies that store, transmit, or process sensitive card data must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS certification can be both time consuming and expensive. Marqeta eases this compliance burden by offering:

  • PCI-compliant widgets that enable cardholders to securely activate their cards and set their PINs in your customer web and mobile applications. See:

  • A JavaScript library that enables you to display sensitive card data in your application or webpage. Marqeta.js injects a set of configurable iframes into your HTML showing the card data, so your servers don’t need to handle it. Marqeta hosts the data on secure, compliant servers. You can present all or some of the information from a card, including the PAN, expiration date, and CVV2 elements. Using Marqeta.js describes Marqeta’s data security compliance and includes a tutorial for using the library.

Tokenization and digital wallets

The Marqeta platform supports inserting cards into Apple Pay and Google Pay digital wallets, and provides controls over the lifecycle of the inserted cards. When a user adds a card into a digital wallet, the card network generates a token for the card. When making a payment, the digital wallet uses this token and does not expose sensitive card information. The Marqeta platform supports network tokenization, which means that the card network (e.g., Visa or Mastercard) generates the tokens. Learn more: Digital Wallets and Tokenization.

Processing transactions

A transaction is an electronic message that originates when a cardholder uses a card to make a payment, get funds from an ATM, or process a refund. The merchant or ATM provider submits an electronic message to the card network containing the information required for an authorization decision, and the card network forwards it to Marqeta for authorization.

Authorizing and clearing transactions

Transactions use either a dual-message or a single-message model.

  • In a single-message transaction, a merchant submits an electronic message containing all the data needed to authorize, clear, and settle the transaction. Single-message transactions usually occur when a cardholder uses their PIN at a point of sale or at an ATM.

  • In a dual-message transaction, a merchant submits an electronic message containing the information required for an authorization decision, and may later submit additional messages to modify the authorized amount, and to clear and settle the transaction. Most transactions processed by merchants are dual-message transactions. Learn more: About Transactions.

Webhooks and transaction events

The platform can push notifications to your system in response to events such as card transactions at point-of-sale terminals, or card activations. A notification might alert you that a card was used and include details about the outcome of the transaction. Learn more: About Webhooks

If you are using Gateway JIT Funding, your JIT funding gateway will need to ingest actionable JIT funding requests and return responses with your system’s funding decisions. Learn more: Gateway JIT Funding Messages.

Retrieving transactions and balances

You should monitor the impact each transaction has on your cardholders' balances. If your program uses Gateway JIT Funding, your system participates in funding decisions and must maintain a ledger of record to respond accurately to incoming JIT Funding requests.

See Use cases of transaction endpoints for information about endpoints you can use to retrieve historical transaction data.

See Balances for information about monitoring balances.

Handling failures with stand-in processing

Multiple fallback measures ensure that cards continue to function if a system fails during a transaction.

  • STIP: If the card network cannot connect to the Marqeta platform, it can perform stand-in processing (STIP). The card network makes authorization decisions as necessary and notifies the Marqeta platform later with information about transactions that occurred while STIP was enabled. This form of processing requires approval, and is not generally used for prepaid programs.

  • Commando Mode: If your system cannot respond to a Gateway JIT Funding request, the Marqeta platform can use Commando Mode to make decisions on your behalf based on defined business rules. The Marqeta platform stores any unsent webhooks for later transmission, so that card states and account balances on your system correspond with activity that occurred while Commando Mode was in effect. Learn more: Commando Mode.

Dispute management

Use the /cases endpoint to manage transaction disputes. You can upload supporting documents and associate them with specific cases. Learn more: Cases.

Fraud management

Marqeta provides an Address Verification System (AVS) and 3D Secure support for fraud management.

Address Verification System

The AVS is useful for some card-not-present scenarios, such as e-commerce websites and unstaffed points of sale. AVS compares purchaser-provided address data against cardholder address data on file with Marqeta. You can configure AVS to decline transactions programmatically based on a mismatched street address or postal code. Learn more: About Address Verification.

3-Domain Secure

3D Secure provides an added layer of protection against fraudulent online credit and debit card transactions by requiring cardholders to complete an additional verification step before a transaction is authorized. Learn more: About 3D Secure.

Reporting and administration

Marqeta provides a dashboard for administration and reporting, and an API for for generating reports on your production data.

Marqeta Dashboard

The Marqeta Dashboard is a convenient web interface for managing your programs. Use the Marqeta Dashboard to create users and businesses, assign permissions, create virtual or physical cards, and authorize personnel to manage fraud by monitoring transactions and suspending or terminating cards.

To set up access to the Marqeta Dashboard for your programs, contact your Marqeta representative.

DiVA reporting

Marqeta provides the Data insights, Visualizations, and Analytics (DiVA) API for generating reports on your production data. Use Reports in the Marqeta Dashboard to view standard reports, or create customized reports that include advanced reporting tools such as visualizations.

Additional features

The features in this section might not be available for your use case, or require additional activation steps.

Direct deposits

You can enable third parties to credit or debit the GPA of a Marqeta account holder using direct deposit transactions. Learn more: Direct Deposits.

Push-to-Card payments

You can associate a non-Marqeta-issued card with the Marqeta platform, and push funds to it. Learn more: Push-to-Card Payments.

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