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Platforms structure

Understand account structures to design a platform that suits your business needs.

To design a platform that suits your use cases, start with learning about:

  • Your Adyen account.
  • The resources within a platform.
  • How your Adyen account and your platform are connected.

Your Adyen account

When you sign up for an Adyen account, you receive a company account and one or more merchant accounts. The merchant account is where you configure payment methods and processing currencies. Most of our Adyen for Platforms customers typically have one merchant account for each country.

We refer to all your merchant accounts as your Adyen merchant accounts.

For more information about your Adyen account, refer to Adyen account structure.

Your platform

A platform is where you create and onboard third parties, hold balances, and trigger payouts. We refer to third parties in your platform—sellers, service providers, contractors, and so on—as your users.

To onboard your users, you'll use the Legal Entity Management API and Configuration API. For each user, you need to create the following resources:

  • legalEntity: Represents your user's entity, and holds and links information required for verification checks. This resource also contains IDs of transferInstrument, document, and other legalEntity resources. For organizations, the individuals connected to them must be represented as legal entities themselves and must be linked to the organization legal entity.
  • transferInstrument: Represents the legal entity's bank account to which you send payouts. A legal entity can have one or more transfer instruments.
  • document: Contains the document type and its contents. The owner of this resource must be a legalEntity or a transferInstrument.
  • accountHolder: Represents the user as an account holder in your platform. An account holder must be linked to one legalEntity resource.
  • balanceAccount: Holds the funds of an account holder. All financial activities in your platform, such as initiating payouts, happen through balance accounts. An account holder can have multiple balance accounts but in most use cases, one balance account is sufficient.

Your entity is represented by the same resources. In your platform, you will have:

  • A liable accountHolder: Represents your business as an account holder in your platform.
  • A liable balanceAccount: Your account where your funds are held. This account is liable if other accounts in your platform incur negative balances due to refunds and chargebacks. You can also use this account when splitting customer payments: The platform fee can be booked to your liable account, and the sale amount can go to your user's balance account. You can have more liable accounts for accounting purposes to keep sets of transactions and funds separate. Adyen draws the fees from your liable balance account.

Example resources

The example below shows a user that:

  • Is a private company with two shareholders.
  • Has two payout bank accounts.
  • Has two business lines and prefers to keep separate accounts for accounting purposes.
  • Has been required by Adyen to provide supporting documents for the organization, one of the shareholders, and one of the bank accounts.

The resources needed for this user are:

  • Three legalEntity resources, one for the organization and two for the shareholders. The organization and one of the shareholder resources have a document resource.
  • Two transferInstrument resources, one for each payout bank account. One bank account has a document resource.
  • One accountHolder with two balanceAccount resources, representing the two business lines.

Example account structures

How funds flow

Your Adyen merchant account is connected to your platform through the flow of funds.

When customers of your platform make a payment, the payment is processed through your Adyen merchant accounts. Then the payment is captured and settled to the balance accounts in your platform.

For example, here's the process from receiving a payment to paying out to your user:

  1. A customer buys goods or services on your platform. The payment is processed through your Adyen merchant account.
  2. The payment is captured and settled to the balance accounts in your platform. You specify which balance accounts when you split the funds at the time of payment or capture. The funds are held in the balance accounts in your platform until they are paid out.
  3. When you pay out to an account holder, the funds are taken from their balance account and sent to any of their verified bank accounts.

In case of a refund:

  1. You process refund requests through your Adyen merchant account.
  2. Funds are debited from the balance accounts in your platform, and credited to the customer.