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The definition of account depends on its context. When we refer to an account, we typically mean an Open Payments-enabled payment account. A payment account is an arrangement by which an entity sends, receives, holds, and keeps records of a user’s credit or debit transactions. An Open Payments-enabled account is an account that supports the Open Payments APIs.

An account can also be an arrangement by which a user is given access to a service by entering a username and password.

Account servicing entity (ASE)

An entity that provides and maintains a payment account for a payer and/or payee. An ASE is a regulated entity within the country or countries it operates. Examples include digital wallets, banks, crypto wallets, and mobile money providers.


Digital wallet

The term digital wallet means different things to different people, services, and technologies. We try to avoid over-using the term for this reason. However, in cases where we do reference digital wallets, it’s within the context of Open Payments. As such, we assume the digital wallets have implemented the Open Payments standard.

Open Payments defines a digital wallet as any Internet-connected system that acts as an agent of a person or business that is capable of sending and receiving payments from or to that person or business.


Open Payments (OP)

Open Payments is a specification that aims to define standards for access to digital wallets. When a digital wallet provider implements the spec, third-party applications and other entities can integrate payments into their feature sets by connecting to their users’ existing financial accounts, rather than requiring users to create new accounts. The ability to then execute payments between accounts contained within Open Payments-enabled wallets relies on the availability of a common payment rail between the wallets.

Web Monetization relies on Open Payments though its use of wallet addresses.


Payment pointer

A payment pointer is a type of Open Payments-enabled wallet address. Payment pointers usually begin with a $. For example: $ Visit for additional information.

Payment session

A session between a Web Monetization provider and Web Monetization receiver, initialized by a user agent, whereby the provider initiates a payment to the receiver.

The provider can initiate multiple payment sessions during a Web Monetization session:

  • At the same time, when there’s multiple monetization <link> elements on a page
  • Sequentially, when an incoming payment completes/expires and a new incoming payment is created on the same wallet address


User agent

A user agent is any software that retrieves, renders and facilitates end user interaction with Web content, or whose user interface is implemented using Web technologies. (W3C)

A web browser is an example of a user agent.


Wallet address

Every Open Payments account within a digital wallet, or the Open Payments-enabled digital wallet itself (depending on implementation), is identified by a unique URL called a wallet address. The URL not only identifies the account or wallet, but also provides the entry point to the Open Payments APIs.

Conceptually, a wallet address is like an email address for an account or wallet. It’s a publicly shareable address used to request and/or grant authorization to interact with the underlying account or wallet. Example interactions include sending and receiving payments.

The <href> value within the monetization <link> element must be an Open Payments-enabled wallet address.

Web Monetization (WM)

A specification for allowing websites to automatically receive payments from users, facilitated by a user agent or Web Monetization agent, and the site visitor’s preferred Web Monetization provider.

Web Monetization agent

Code within a web browser that discovers web monetized pages, exposes the Web Monetization API and communicates with the Open Payments APIs.

When a vendor natively builds Web Monetization into their browser, the browser (user agent) acts as the Web Monetization agent. Until then, a separate Web Monetization agent, such as a browser extension, is required.

Visit the Sending Payments page for additional information.

Web Monetization payment

A payment that occurs due to a web monetized visitor accessing a web monetized page. Typically shortened to payment within the docs.

Visit the Web Monetization flow page for additional information.

Web Monetization provider

An entity or collection of entities that together enable Web Monetization payments to be sent on behalf of an individual when the individual visits a web monetized page. At minimum, a Web Monetization provider is an account servicing entity that supplies a funded Open Payments-enabled account from which to send payments.

Visit the Sending Payments page for additional information.

Web Monetization receiver

An entity or collection of entities that together enable Web Monetization payments to be received and held on behalf of an individual. At minimum, a Web Monetization receiver is an account servicing entity that supplies an Open Payments-enabled account capable of receiving payments.

Visit the Receiving Payments page for additional information.

Web Monetization session

A way to describe a web session on a Web Monetized page/site. Each page load or refresh is a unique Web Monetization session (sometimes shortened to monetization session). The web browser generates a unique session ID which the website can use to correlate incoming payments to a client-side context.

Web monetized page/site

Describes a page/site that has implemented Web Monetization.

The terms page and site are used interchangeably within the docs; however, there is a technical difference to be aware of.

Web Monetization is configured at the page level. A web monetized page is a page that contains a well-formed monetization <link> element. For an entire site to be web monetized, each page of the site must have a <link> element.

Web monetized user

A website visitor who has a relationship with a Web Monetization provider and on whose behalf the Web Monetization provider sends payments.