Payment guides

A guide to MCC codes, TCC codes and MCG groups

In 1937, the United States government established Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. Now referred to as Merchant Category Codes (MCC) or Transaction Category Codes (TCC), which are a used to categorise businesses by industry based on the goods and services being sold. MCC codes are numbers which usually consist of four digits and relate to a given merchant’s industry. These codes are standardised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based in Geneva, Switzerland and hold the number ISO 18245. MCC codes used to categorise a merchant or business.

Example:

MCC Code

Description

4941

Sporting goods stores

Mastercard further classifies MCC codes with Merchant Category Group (MCG) codes, which is a system of grouping merchant category codes by letters and Transaction Category Codes (TCC) by numbers.

Merchant Category Group (MCG) groups:

  1. Travel
  2. Lodging
  3. Dining and Entertainment
  4. Vehicle Expenses
  5. Office Services and Merchandise
  6. Cash Advance
  7. Other

Transaction Category Codes (TCC) groups:

A         Vehicle Rentals

C         Cash Disbursements

F          Restaurants

H         Hotels and Motels

O         Hospitals, Education and School Expenses

P         Payment Service Providers

R         All Other Merchants

R         Cardholder Activated Payment Terminals

R         U.S. Post Exchange

T          Pre-Authorised Mail Orders

T          Pre-Authorised Telephone Orders

U         Unique Transaction Semi-Cash Disbursements

U         Cardholder Activated Terminals

X          Railroads

X          Airlines

X          Transportation

X          Travel Agencies

Z          Cash Disbursements

An MCC code is assigned to a merchant by an acquiring bank when the business applies for a merchant account in order to start accepting card payments from its customers. MCC codes are used for:

  • Card brands, card networks, acquiring banks, payment service providers (PSPs) and merchants know which rules to adhere to in relation to their associated MCC code. As an example, MCC 7801 (Betting and Gambling) has different restrictions compared to MCC 6211 (Security Brokers and Dealers).
  • By credit card companies offering cash back rewards or loyalty points for cardholders spending money on various goods and services (identified by MCC categories).
  • In some countries, such as the United States, an MCC code can be used to determine whether or not payments need to be reported to the appropriate government tax authority, such as the Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
  • So issuing banks can block transactions from MCC codes which are banned in relevant countries. For example, MCC 7801 (Betting and Gambling) in the United States.

There are some ambiguities which exist between acquirers when it comes to MCC codes. This is due to the fact that the general public, Independent Sales Organisations (ISOs) or Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and Internet Payment Service Provider (IPSPs) are not granted access to the merchant acquiring rules and guidelines which are provided by card brands (such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express) to its members. This leaves it up to each acquiring bank or member, to interpret the member guidelines as they see fit, resulting in merchants being categorised by one bank under one MCC code and another MCC code by other banks.

Furthermore, there is a constant flow of new businesses and industries being formed where an MCC code does not exist yet. In this case, it is again left up to an acquirer to decide what would suit best. An example of this would be Binary Options, where a customer can bet on the price of a commodity either rising or falling. Some acquirers would classify this as MCC 7995 (Betting and Gambling) whilst others would classify it as MCC 6211 (Security Brokers and Dealers).

To apply for a new standardised MCC code, a form needs to be filled out and sent to the TC 68/ISO, an internal technical committee within the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). Should a merchant or industry be large enough, then the application for a new standardised MCC code should not be a problem. Large companies such as British Airways (MCC 3005) and Hilton Hotels (MCC 3504) have their own MCC codes to better manage their payment transactions.

Some MCC codes are also classified as high risk, which require merchants who fall under these categories to register with the relevant Card Association (CA). There is an annual registration fee which, depending on the merchant, MCC code and acquiring bank, usually costs between £400 and £950.

High Risk MCC codes:

High Risk MCC Code

Category

Description

TCC

MCG

4722

Travel Agencies and Tour Operators

Travel booking and arrangements, tours and charters

X

1

4812

Telecommunication Equipment

Includes telephone sales

R

5

4814*

Telecom Services

Telephone and cable services

T

5

4816*

Computer Networking

Internet service providers

T

5

4829

Bank Transfers and Money Orders

Bank Transfers and Money Orders

U

5

5122**

Drugs, Drug Proprietaries and Druggist’s Sundries

Drugs, Drug Proprietaries and Druggist’s Sundries

T

7

5912**

Drug Stores and Pharmacies

Drug Stores and Pharmacies

R

7

5962*

Direct Marketing

Travel merchants

T

7

5964

Direct Marketing

Catalogue merchants

T

5

5966*

Direct Marketing

Outbound telemarketing

T

5

5967*

Direct Marketing

Inbound telemarketing

T

5

5968

Direct Marketing

Continuity, subscription and re-billing merchants including audiotext and videotext

T

5

5969

Direct Marketing

Radio, television and other direct Marketers not elsewhere classified

T

5

5993*

Tobacco and Cigar shops

Tobacco products

R

7

7021

Timeshare

Timeshare rental, leases and sales

R

2

7273*

Dating and Escort

Miscelaneous services

R

7

7841*

Video Tape Rentals

Card Not Present (CNP) adult content requires registration.**

R

3

7994*

Video Game Arcades and Skill Gaming

Skill games require registration*

R

3

7995**

Gambling, Betting and Casino

Lottery, Wagers, Casino and Off-Track Betting (OTB)

U

3

9399*

Government Services

Not classified elsewhere. Government lotteries require registration.*

R

7

9754*

Non Face-to-Face Gambling, Betting and Casino

Non Face-to-Face Gambling, Betting and Casino

U

3

*Requires registration with Card Associations.

**Requires registration with Card Associations for Card Not Present environments.

Click on a link below to download a list of MCC codes in the desired format:

Download MCC codes list in .CSV Format

Download MCC codes list in .XLS Format

Download MCC codes list in .PDF Format

If you would like to know more information about MCC codes, TCC codes, MCG groups or applying for a merchant account, please contact Centus.



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