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3 MAC Conference Highlights for Payment Players

Post Categories: Merchant Fraud, Merchant Risk

Recently, payment industry experts gathered at the Merchant Acquirers’ Committee (MAC) Level Up conference to discuss hot topics, industry news, and exciting solutions. In its 11th year, the MAC conference — which has now extended to four days — showcased educational sessions led by 55 speakers representing all corners of the payments industry. Below are three highlights from the event.



1. Mastercard cracks down on deceptive “Free Trial” merchants

High-risk negative option billing merchants are manipulating cardholders into signing up for subscription-based services (See Figure 1), and unfortunately, if cardholders don’t proactively cancel their subscriptions, they  will continue getting billed (often unknowingly). Mastercard has received several complaints from regulators, issuers, and card holders about these deceptive merchant practices. Most common are nutraceutical merchants (skincare, diet pills, hair) who use the free-trial model.



New rules now effective as of April 12, 2019

Mastercard announced rule changes last October (AN 2202) that have gone into effect April 12, 2019. Acquirers with merchants that fit the high-risk negative option billing description set by Mastercard must abide by these new rules and register involved merchants as MCC 5968.

The new directive is divided into (1) website, (2) transaction, and (3) registration aspects. If you have any questions about these new regulations, please contact us at

Note: Visa’s Global Acquirer Risk Standards include, but won’t, require merchant registration.


2. $12 – $25 billion worth of credit card fraud takes place annually

Criminals on the dark web have developed a sophisticated and resilient ecosystem for data. As a result, the payments industry is witnessing cyber-enabled fraud at scale. An explosion of underground marketplaces for stolen data and illicit goods and services is easily accessible. Not only does this negatively impact the payment’s community, but national security as well.

To demonstrate the impact these underground economies have, check out the statistics below:

  • 10 – 20 million stolen credit cards are available to be purchased on the black market monthly
  • 65% of the time, credit card fraud results in a direct or indirect financial loss for the victim
  • 46% of Americans have been victim to credit card fraud in the past 5 years
  • 17.6 million incidents of identity theft were reported to law enforcement in 2014


3. Online gambling thrives in countries lacking regulations

Today, the temptation to gamble is only a click away. Any device with an internet connection can become a simulated casino, thus making it that much easier for online gamblers to play from pretty much anywhere. As online gambling grows in popularity, gambling websites are getting smarter. These websites will typically register in countries where online gambling is legal, and not well regulated. With that said, this has become one of the largest categories of assessments from the card networks and an area that payment professionals should keep a close watch.


Deception is prevalent among gambling merchants

  • Free trials inflate odds in gamblers’ favor
  • Opponents may be “bots” that increase human bets
  • Other poker players may collude and share information
  • “Near misses” extend gambling time

Follow these five steps to help manage high-risk gambling merchants. For more information on gambling laws read this article.


About the Merchant Acquirers’ Committee (MAC)

The Merchant Acquirers’ Committee (MAC) is an organization of payments professionals dedicated to protecting the integrity of the payment’s ecosystem. Their members include acquiring banks, independent sales organizations (ISOs), the card brands, National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), law enforcement agencies, payment processors, and payment facilitators. MAC’s mission is to strengthen the payment ecosystem through ongoing education, communication, and cooperation among its members.

For more information about MAC or any of the topics covered in this article, please email

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