Navigating the New MCC Rules for Collection Businesses

Navigating the New MCC Rules
for Collection Businesses

Avoiding Penalties & Pitfalls
in Payment Processing

The payment landscape for collection businesses is evolving with Visa’s recent implementation of a new Merchant Category Code (MCC) for debt collection. In recent months, Visa has introduced significant rule updates, including the new MCC for collection agencies and revisions to debt repayment rules. These changes aim to support new merchant segments, offer more transparency to cardholders, and protect issuers from excessive credit risk. Collection businesses should pay close attention to these updates to avoid potential penalties, remain compliant with Visa’s rules, and maintain a positive reputation within the payment ecosystem. In this article, we will explore the new MCC rules, potential consequences of using incorrect MCCs, and the steps collection businesses can take to ensure compliance.

Background on MCCs

MCC codes are essential for businesses that engage in payment processing. These standardized codes classify businesses based on the products and services they offer, providing financial institutions with valuable insights for risk assessment and compliance. American Express was the first to assign a specific MCC (7322) for debt collection, leading to some businesses dropping it as a payment option entirely. On the other hand, Visa previously employed a broader definition when classifying debt-related transactions. Collection businesses must be diligent in accurately representing their nature of business through the correct MCC code. Failure to do so can lead to severe consequences, including penalties, regulatory scrutiny, and reputational damage.

New MCC Rules for Collection Agencies

Visa introduced MCC 7322—Collection Agencies in October 2022 to categorize collection businesses accurately. Collection agencies are now required to use this new MCC for processing payments related to the collection of overdue receivables. The MCC 7322 became available in VisaNet with the October 2022 VisaNet Business Enhancements release, and its use was made mandatory for collection agencies effective from April 15, 2023. Visa defines collection agencies as merchants that collect payments of overdue receivables under contract or collect overdue receivables purchased from a third party.

Potential Consequences and Penalties of Using Incorrect MCCs

Misrepresenting a collections business’s nature by using a false or inaccurate MCC code can lead to serious consequences and penalties for collection businesses, such as:

  • Violation of Visa Rules: Misuse of the MCC code is considered a violation of Visa’s rules and regulations, potentially resulting in penalties and enforcement actions.
  • Account Termination: Payment processors and acquiring banks may terminate a collection agency’s account if they discover misuse of the MCC code, disrupting payment processing capabilities.
  • Fines and Penalties: Visa and other payment networks can impose substantial fines and penalties on businesses found to be using incorrect or misleading MCC codes.
  • Loss of Customer Trust: Misrepresenting the nature of the business can erode customer trust, leading to a loss of clients and revenue.
  • Regulatory Non-Compliance: Incorrect MCC code usage may lead to non-compliance with industry regulations, inviting further penalties and legal consequences.
  • Reputational Damage: Misusing the MCC code could tarnish the agency’s reputation, making it difficult to attract new clients and partners.
  • Legal Action: In some cases, using the wrong MCC code might lead to legal action, especially if it is found to be intentional or fraudulent.

Ensuring Compliance and Mitigating Risks

To avoid penalties and pitfalls associated with incorrect MCC codes, collection businesses should take the following steps:

  • Accurate MCC Classification: Collection agencies must diligently assess their business activities and use the appropriate MCC code to represent their nature of business accurately.
  • Transparent Communication: Maintaining clear and transparent communication with payment processors about the agency’s business activities can help ensure proper MCC classification.
  • Seek Expert Guidance: Seeking guidance from financial and legal experts can help collection agencies understand Visa’s rules and regulations, ensuring compliance with the new MCC requirements.
  • Stay Informed: Collection businesses should closely monitor updates and clarifications from Visa and their payment processors regarding the new MCC rules to adapt their operations accordingly.


Visa’s new MCC rules present significant changes for collection businesses, requiring accurate classification and adherence to specific disclosure requirements. Failure to comply with these new rules can lead to serious consequences, including penalties, reputational damage, and legal actions. By staying informed, seeking expert guidance, and maintaining transparency with payment processors, collection agencies can navigate these changes effectively, ensure compliance, and continue providing seamless payment services to their customers.

To learn more about MCC codes and have a free audit to ensure you are compliant, contact us today!

August 3, 2023

About Tracey Gibson

She is an accomplished compliance executive with extensive experience in overseeing and managing compliance functions and initiatives of an organization. She has expertise in ensuring organizations comply with regulatory requirements and brings a strong background in ethical business practice, risk management, privacy, employee management and customer service.

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FedNow: Revolutionizing Payment Processing

FedNow: Revolutionizing
Payment Processing

Nine key ways FedNow will
transform the payments industry

In recent years, the Federal Reserve’s payment landscape has been undergoing a transformation, with the advent of the FedNow Service. This real-time payment system is poised to revolutionize payment processing in the United States and has the potential to bring numerous benefits to the payments industry, including Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) and small dollar lenders. In this article, we explore what FedNow is, how it works, and how it can transform the payment processing landscape, particularly for small dollar lenders, leading to enhanced efficiency and growth opportunities.

What is FedNow?

FedNow is an initiative launched by the Federal Reserve to offer a real-time payment system that enables instant and secure transactions. Unlike traditional payment methods that can take hours or even days for funds to transfer, FedNow allows for immediate availability of funds, 24/7/365. This service is designed to improve the overall speed, efficiency, and accessibility of payment processing for businesses and individuals.

How FedNow Works

At its core, FedNow operates through the Federal Reserve’s payment infrastructure. Financial institutions participating in the FedNow network can connect to the Federal Reserve and facilitate real-time payments for their customers. When a payment request is initiated, the funds are instantly transferred from the sender’s account to the recipient’s account, making it a seamless and swift process. This near-instantaneous transaction capability is expected to be a game-changer for businesses that rely on fast and efficient payment processing.

Benefits for SMBs and Small Dollar Lenders

1. Real-Time Transactions: The hallmark of FedNow is its real-time transaction capability. The system allows instantaneous fund transfers 24/7/365, eliminating the need for batch processing or delayed settlements. This real-time functionality streamlines the payment process for small dollar lenders, enabling them to disburse loans and collect repayments swiftly, contributing to improved cash flow and operational efficiency.

2. Enhanced Cash Flow Management: For SMBs, especially small dollar lenders, timely cash flow is crucial for smooth operations. FedNow’s real-time payments provide immediate availability of funds, reducing the waiting time for cleared funds and minimizing the reliance on credit lines. Small dollar lenders can use these funds promptly, further enhancing their lending capabilities and responsiveness.

3. Improved Customer Experience: In the competitive world of lending, offering a seamless customer experience is vital. Real-time payments through FedNow enable borrowers to receive funds immediately, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can set small dollar lenders apart from traditional lenders who may take longer to process payments.

4. Enhanced Fraud Prevention: FedNow incorporates robust security measures to protect against fraud and unauthorized transactions. The system’s instant verification and authentication mechanisms significantly reduce the window of opportunity for fraudulent activities, safeguarding both lenders and borrowers. This added layer of security instills confidence in borrowers and strengthens trust in the lending process.

5. Expanded Business Hours: Traditional banking hours can often limit the accessibility of payment services, particularly for small dollar lenders operating across different time zones. With FedNow, businesses can process payments around the clock, regardless of holidays or weekends, ensuring continuous service and operational efficiency.

6. Streamlined Settlements: FedNow’s instantaneous settlement system minimizes the time between payment initiation and completion. For small dollar lenders, this translates to quicker loan disbursement, faster repayment collection, and reduced administrative burdens.

7. Facilitating Financial Inclusion: Small dollar lenders often serve communities and individuals with limited access to traditional banking services. FedNow’s real-time payment capabilities can enable these lenders to reach underserved populations more effectively. By providing immediate loan disbursements and facilitating faster repayment options, FedNow promotes financial inclusion and empowers those in need of urgent financial assistance.

8. Simplified Payment Tracking: With FedNow, SMBs, including small dollar lenders, can gain better visibility into their payment transactions. The system’s real-time tracking and reporting features provide valuable insights into payment statuses and customer behavior. This data-driven approach enables lenders to make informed decisions, optimize their lending practices, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

9. Cost Savings and Efficiency: Traditional payment processing methods may incur substantial costs due to extended settlement times and intermediary fees. FedNow’s real-time payments offer a cost-effective alternative, reducing transaction expenses for small dollar lenders and other businesses. Moreover, the streamlined processes help eliminate administrative bottlenecks, improving overall operational efficiency.


The introduction of FedNow represents a pivotal moment in the realm of payment processing for SMBs, especially for small dollar lenders. This real-time payment system holds the promise of streamlining operations, enhancing customer experience, and fostering growth opportunities. Small dollar lenders can leverage FedNow’s benefits to improve their cash flow management, reduce risks, and provide more accessible financial services to those in need.

As small dollar lenders embrace FedNow’s capabilities, they can create a lasting impact on their businesses and the communities they serve. By leveraging the power of real-time payments, these lenders can foster growth, build customer loyalty, and navigate the ever-changing financial landscape with confidence. The future of payment processing is here, and it holds tremendous promise for a more inclusive and efficient payments ecosystem.

Contact us today to learn more and get started!

August 1, 2023

About John O’Shea

He is a former founder and owner of Triad Financial Services and has served in similar roles at GMAC/Residential Funding, AllianceOne and ICT Group (now Sykes). He has performed for 28 years as a senior executive in the ARM, Customer Contact and BPO markets. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College.

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