A Merchant Category Code (MCC) is a four-digit number used to classify and categorize merchants based on the merchant’s business activities and products or services being sold. Subject to credit card association guidelines, MCCs are assigned by the bank to each merchant account when the merchant account is established thereby providing a high-level description of the goods or services sold by the merchant.
The credit card associations have also established rules and regulations defining the use of particular MCCs including requirements to preregister merchants operating in specific high-risk MCC categories, for risk monitoring purposes. High-risk merchant category codes are the industries that predominantly generate the highest levels of cardholder disputes, represent higher levels of financial risk to the banks and/or create additional brand risk for regulatory reasons.
Additionally, card association registration can also be required for certain MCCs when the merchant is operating in a card-not-present (CNP) environment within that MCC, for example, with online tobacco sales as compared to retail tobacco sales.
High-Risk MCC List
The following High-Risk Merchant Category Code list describes many of the high-risk MCCs that require credit card association high-risk registration and also includes several other business categories, for which merchant accounts are also commonly difficult to establish.
|Specific airlines, air carriers
|Taxis and limousines
|Airlines not elsewhere classified
|Travel agencies & tour operators, charters, tours & travel packages
|Telecom equipment & sales, telephone & cable services
|Computer network services, internet access, cyberlocker, file sharing and cloud storage
|Money transfer, wire transfers
|Precious stones and metals, watches and jewelry
|Drugs, proprietaries & sundries
|Motor home dealers
|Drug stores and pharmacies
|Direct marketing, insurance
|Direct marketing, travel, including discount travel clubs
|Direct marketing, catalog merchant, mail order, telephone orders
|Direct marketing, combination catalog & retail merchant
|Direct marketing, outbound telemarketing
|Direct marketing, inbound teleservices, audiotext & videotext
|Direct marketing, subscription, continuity / subscription merchants
|Direct marketing, other, not elsewhere classified
|Stamp & coin stores
|Tobacco, cigarettes, cigar stores, vape e-cigs, e-cigarettes
|Miscellaneous specialty retail, includes ammunition and firearms
|Quasi-cash, currency, money orders, travelers cheques, debt repayment, loan payment, lease payment, mortgage companies (not money transfer, non-financial institution)
|Account funding, stored value card purchase, prepaid load (non-financial institution)
|Timeshares, timeshare rentals, leases and sales
|Dating services, misc. personal services
|Debt, marriage, personal counseling services
|Motor home rentals
|Video tape rental stores
|Ticket agencies, theatrical producers
|Video amusement game supplies
|Video games and arcades
|Membership clubs, health clubs, country clubs, sports clubs, private golf courses, boating clubs, swimming clubs
|Bail and bond payments
High-Risk Merchant Accounts
Traditional banks are often not prepared to manage high-risk merchant accounts, which makes them difficult to obtain. Banks commonly do not have the staffing, expertise or tools in place to monitor the risks associated with supporting these challenging merchant categories. As a result, many banks simply have policies in place prohibiting service to these industries.
From low-risk point-of-sale merchants to registered high-risk merchant accounts (which exclude some categories), PayPrin offers a comprehensive range of domestic and offshore merchant account solutions. PayPrin has the partnerships, experience and reputation to help most high-risk merchants obtain a merchant account.
For more information about these MCC categories or assistance with obtaining a merchant account, call +1-800-550-1303 or contact PayPrin online today.
As a sales agent, PayPrin operates as a broker and provides consultative referral services to help merchants obtain competitively priced merchant accounts. Merchants accounts are approved under direct contract with a licensed financial institution.