If you own a business that accepts credit cards, you have a Merchant Category Classification (MCC) code. An MCC is a four digit code that categorizes your business into industries for card brands and payment providers.
For example, 0742 is the industry code for Veterinary Services. The document is over 15 pages long, but you can check for your MCC here.
Why do Merchant Category Codes matter?
Credit card companies sometimes offer higher rewards or points for spending in specific categories. For example, if grocery stores earn consumers points but not department stores, it will make a difference to savvy shoppers which one you are classified as.
Companies that offer their employees corporate cards often have a corporate expense policy which blocks the purchase on certain MCC codes. This is also when being categorized as ‘hotel’ vs. ‘hospitality’ can matter.
There are also certain rules and restrictions on certain industries. For instance, we only now beginning to offer convenience pricing (passing the processing fee to the customer) to universities!
Risk & MCC
Payment providers like Beanstream use your MMC when you first sign up for an account, in order to identify risk. Industries like Airlines and Ticket Sales are usually considered a higher risk account.
In the case of Airlines and Ticket Sales, the high risk actually comes from the long period of time between purchase and delivery. Airline tickets are often booked months in advance, and a lot can happen between booking the flight and stepping on the plane.
As Beanstream takes on the risk of each account, it is important for us to identify high-risk accounts so we can help mitigate any risk for both the merchant and us. We take on the risk by being liable for returns if a company goes bankrupt.
MCC codes are just one factor that allows us to determine risk on accounts. Other factors, such as how long the business has been operating and the typically time of delivery, also play important parts as well.
A small four digit code has a big impact on your merchant account. If you have any questions around yours, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are Your Partner In Payments, ensuring you are in the know!