A processor is any entity that is physically processing a credit card transaction from swipe to settlement. It is a front-end network that enables a dial terminal, POS or gateway to connect to the Visa and MasterCard systems for authorization from an issuing bank. Any back-end or settlement network that is receiving those authorizations and settling them to a sponsor bank is also a processor. This network would have either a front-end or back-end, or both, that is involved in the physical authorization or settlement of a transaction.