Visa Expanding Categories of High-Brand Risk Merchants in October

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021 by Corepay

Starting on October 17, 2020, Visa is expanding the categories of merchants they’re identifying as High-Brand Risk (HBR). Merchants in these new High-Brand Risk categories are required to register with Visa before they can process any transactions.

One notable change is MCC 7273 – Dating Services (Any card-absent transactions, also called Card Not Present (CNP) transactions).

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The feet of a tightrope walker. Visa is expanding its categories of high-brand risk merchants.According to Visa’s directive on the issue, Dating Services includes “Dating & escort-related services; examples include online classified ads including escort services or monthly subscriptions to dating websites.”

So this includes not only dating sites like Tinder or, but real-world escort services and traditional dating services as well. And since any online or over-the-phone transaction is considered card-absent/card not present, any credit card transaction is going to put you into that high-brand risk category.

That means that all merchants — dating sites or otherwise — with CNP transactions must meet these requirements:

    1. Implement Age Restrictions – electronic verification online.
    2. Merchant Category Code (MCC) must be 7273 – some merchants may require MCC updates.
    3. Subscription Merchant Transaction Policy Updates.
    4. Visa HBR registration by 17 April 2021.

And if you have a subscription model with introductory trials and promotions, like free 7-day trials, you have to follow these additional requirements:

      • Express Consent
      • Explicit Transaction Receipts
      • Easier Cancellation
      • Enhanced Notification
      • Statement Descriptors
      • Expanded Dispute Rights

Finally, there’s the matter of the fee schedule:

      1. Registration fees are $500 per merchant annually;
      2. Annual renewal billing will occur each September;
      3. To avoid the renewal fee, merchant must submit all termination requests by September of each year.

What are Other High-Brand Risk Categories?

Other categories that are also included in Visa’s High-Brand Risk services include:

      • MCC 5962: Direct Marketing, Travel-Related Arrangement Services Sale of travel-related services such as timeshares and discount vacation travel clubs via outbound telemarketing calls or mass emailing.
      • MCC 5966: Direct Marketing, Outbound Telemarketing Merchant Sale of products or services using outbound telemarketing; examples include services such as unsolicited tech support desks or credit card protection.
      • MCC 5967: Direct Marketing, Inbound Teleservices Merchant Adult content and merchant services such as website subscriptions and video streaming.
      • MCC 7995: Betting, including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track Betting, and Wagers at Race Tracks Funding for games of chance such as placement of wagers on an outcome or purchase of chips at a gambling establishment.

If you would like to learn more about finding new ways to accept payments from customers, Corepay can help. To learn more, please visit our website or call us at (866) 987-1969.

Photo credit: Wiros (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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