Mastercard Adult Content Revisions – What Merchants Need To Know

Mastercard recently sent out a bulletin in which credit card processors were made aware of some significant revisions for merchants operating in the adult industry.

At Corepay, we have over two decades of experience serving the adult industry and other high-risk industries. We specialize in adult merchant accounts and consider this news from Mastercard crucial for adult industry merchants.

We believe all merchants operating in the adult industry should be aware of the following revisions from Mastercard as they could change the way your business is operating.

Below is an infographic that sums up this information in an easy-to-read picture.

Why The Revisions?

These Revisions by Mastercard are primarily meant to mitigate the risk of any illegal activities that can be brand-damaging to processors, card companies, the business itself, and prevent victimization/harm of individuals.

We strive to ensure that all of the merchants we provide services for are always up to date with every industry standard so that their business never has to face any unexpected penalties.

Below you will find the revisions affecting the adult entertainment industry by Mastercard. The effective date is currently planned to go live on October 16 of 2021.

You will notice that many of these revisions might be already in place with your business, with others being changes that will undoubtedly affect streamers and performers negatively.

Should you be worried about these revisions and looking for a merchant account provider that deals with the adult industry, we highly recommend filling out an application below to see what Corepay can do for your business.

All merchants that operate in the adult content industry will be required to do the following:

  • Sign written agreements that provide provisions related to persons’ written consent depicted and identity/age verification of persons depicted with all third-party users that upload or generate content for the merchant’s website.
  • Permit only content uploads derived from verified content providers
  • Establish and maintain a process for verifying the age and identity of third-party users that upload or generate content
  • Allow a person depicted to appeal for removal of their content
  • Review all uploaded content before publication to ensure it is not illegal or otherwise in violation of the Mastercard standards
  • Be able to fully control its platform used for live streaming, including real-time monitoring and content removal
  • Ensure merchant marketing and search terms do not give the impression that its content contains child exploitation materials or depiction of non-consensual activities
  • Concerning content that is potentially illegal or otherwise in violation of the Mastercard standards
  • Have a complaint process for the reporting, review, and if warranted, removal of such content
  • Provide monthly reports to the acquirer of such flagged content, along with any complaints received and relevant actions taken in response
  • Have effective policies in place that prohibit the merchant’s website from being used to promote or facilitate human trafficking, sex trafficking, or physical abuse
  • Upon request, the acquirer must be able to provide Mastercard with temporary account credentials allowing access to the merchant’s website for viewing of content behind a paywall or where access is otherwise restricted to website members
  • Not use such content to draw users to the website

While many of these regulations are aimed at targeting illegal activity, there is another side of the story in which independent performers who have websites or operate on websites like Twitch or Onlyfans could likely take a financial hit.

Many independent workers in the adult industry are worried that these regulations could slow down their process of putting out content and quickly earning extra income.

In fact, the ability to stream freely and create content quickly is what independent performers are likely worried about losing.

One of the significant reasons that Mastercard is taking further action is because of the recent Pornhub unravellings.

The problem here is that some websites rely on user-generated content. Once the content is uploaded, it is tough to track and ensure everything is legal and up to proper regulation. 

How Does This Affect Your Adult Business?

mastercard revisions

Adaptation is critical in any business. Should any of these changes slow down your content creation, you may want to start planning content/services even more to combat this.

While this is a significant change to the industry that all major credit card companies will likely follow, you will want to get up to speed with these changes before these revisions are live to prevent any losses in revenue.

Who Will Be Hit The Hardest By These Revisions?

While independent streamers on platforms such as Twitch and Onlyfans could take a hit, the saving grace here is that these revisions aim to take out the bad actors in the industry. Those involved in any illegal uploading/fraud will be punished by these revisions.

One of the questions that credit card processors might be wondering is whether or not services such as Onlyfans will figure out a way to have content reviewed during live streams, as for some, this is a significant source of income.

Should these streaming services figure out a way to review and verify and ensure everything is legal in a live setting, this would make the revisions not as big of a deal. That being said, this is no easy feat. As these revisions are focused on eliminating illegal activity, those operating legally will just need to make sure they are implementing these revisions.

The revisions themselves are not meant to punish businesses operating legally. While they could change how businesses are operating, it is important to remember that the main goal is to take out the corrupt/illegal uploaders in the industry.

Will Other Credit Card Brands Follow Suit With These Mastercard Revisions?

Almost certainly, most other major credit card brands such as Visa and Discover will follow suit, at least in some way. In the end, card brands are protecting their reputation and mitigating risk.

Potential Problems From These Revisions

The biggest fear for adult merchants is the fact that these revisions state that streamer’s accounts can be terminated should there be suspicion of any breach of terms of services.

If we take a look at Twitch, one of the most popular categories as of late has been “hot-tub/pool.” In this category, it is usually persons who are using Twitch to point customers at their adult-appropriate content.

Companies will need to decide their policies with Mastercard moving forward. If Mastercard or Twitch determines that you are using the platform to push your adult content without following the regulations, your account will be terminated.

This can get muddy when Twitch streamers aren’t doing anything against the terms of services of Twitch; however, they are still terminated. Should known adult-streamers use Twitch yet follow their terms of service, Twitch can still say that they are suspicious of their activity and ultimately terminate their account.

To mitigate risk, reaching out to Twitch and whichever websites you are streaming on in advance is recommended.

Overview

Many of these revisions are being put in place for good causes that aim to ensure safety and legal activity. However, one of the biggest fears is that social media companies will stop dealing with adult content entirely.

Aside from streamers taking a significant loss, social media companies will likely also take a hit, depending on their stance and whether or not they choose to still display adult-related advertisements.

As always, Corepay recommends adhering to the guidelines of all major credit card brands to ensure the processing of payments.

Should you have any questions about your adult merchant account or any of these revisions, you can reach out to us at info@corepay.net.