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How to Find a Merchant Category Code

How to Find a Merchant Category Code
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If you use a credit card that offers cashback or other rewards based on your spending, there is an invisible four-digit code that you should probably know.

We’re talking about the Merchant Class Code (MCC), which identifies the rewards you can get on your rewards or cashback card.

Each company that accepts credit cards from major networks (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover), is given an MCC to help issuers organize and track purchases. For example, if you swipe your credit card at a grocery store, each issuer will assign a 4-digit code to that store that assigns “grocery store” purchases.

Although the MCC does not matter to the primary function of your credit card, it is an important part of the number of credit cards that categorize rewards and cashbacks based on spending in different categories.

If a card rewards something like 3% cashback on grocery store purchases, it’s because a particular MCC tells it to. You’ll only get 3% of purchases at stores with a specific 4-digit “grocery store” code.

This can be difficult if you buy groceries at a store like Target or Walmart, since they may not be labeled with a grocery code, but rather a pharmacy or home goods code. A store’s MCC can vary between store locations, and even the counter that you check out on the inside.

It’s also not as easy as looking up a store in my MCC before shopping. The best way to see your purchases is encrypted as it is, unfortunately, trial and error. You can find MCC for different purchases/stores on your credit card statement, so your best bet is to go back to your statement and see exactly how the merchant description is coded so you know for future reference.

It might look like this (category icon at the top: Goods & Supplies – Grocery):

For Visa and Mastercard purchases, there are several ways you can find out the purchase type code in advance:

If your credit card is not in one of these networks, call your wizard and ask how to find their engine control centers.

business cards

Business credit cards with reward structures also use MCC to define spending categories. Business owners can also use MCC to block transactions from certain MCCs from being accepted.

If you give an employee a card to take customers out for meals, for example, it may block transactions from my classified MCCs for purposes other than dining. Contact your card issuer if you have a business card and want to place MCC restrictions on your employee cards.

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