How To Find MCC Codes

Oct 30, 2019

All businesses that apply to take credit card payments are assigned a four-digit number by the major credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AmericanExpress). This number is called a Merchant Category Code or MCC. It serves as a designation to identify the type of business or service it is in. In 2004, merchant category codes became a requirement by the IRS.

These merchant category codes help credit card companies to categorize, track, or even restrict certain types of purchases. If a business happens to offer more than one category, they are required to use the MCC code for the product or service that makes up the majority of their business.

If you happen to own a rewards credit card, you might already be familiar with which types of purchases qualify for earning you points or even cash back.

How does your credit card know that you have made an eligible purchase? It is through MCC codes.

So How Do MCC’s Work?

All purchases are automatically categorized by the MCC of a store when it’s reported to your credit card company. It uses these specific codes to determine whether you get additional rewards.

For example, if you happen to be shopping at a candy store, and according to the IRS list, it has an MCC code of 5441, which stands for “candy, nuts, and confectionery stores”, and your credit card offers you rewards for purchasing in this particular category, then your credit card company will issue you those rewards based on that MCC.

If you happen to purchase the same item at a local grocery store with a different MCC code, then your purchase will not qualify for the same rewards as in the candy store.

How Can I Find A Store’s MCC Code?

The IRS typically publishes a complete list of codes, however, each credit card company also has its own list. Due to this, each credit card company may differ in their use of codes.

The Visa Supplier Locator is also a great resource to look up the MCC’s for the stores where you want to shop. You can also look up the multiple MCC’s used within the same store.

There’s also the Quick Reference Booklet – Merchant Edition for MasterCard and AmericanExpress.

It’s always good to review your credit card’s terms and conditions to ensure what counts towards those extra rewards.

Sometimes, you may run into the issue of not earning your rewards, despite the store being categorized correctly. At this point, this could mean that you have reached your cap of earning bonus rewards for the quarter or year.

Perhaps your purchase was made through a system that your credit card company deems unqualified. If you made your purchase through a third-party payment system, an online marketplace, or a wireless card reader, it may not process correctly in the eyes of your credit card company. When in doubt, reach out to them to clarify the discrepancy.

In Conclusion

If you make substantial purchases for your business, it is critical to get familiar with the MCC codes of your favorite businesses as this can add much-needed funds to your bottom line.

If you are able to identify how your rewards credit card is categorizing your purchases, you will make strategic purchasing decisions that will benefit you now and in the future.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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