How To Find Out Which Businesses Are Counted Towards Bonus Categories (Finding MCC Data)

Most credit cards now come with different rewards tiers based on where you use them. For example, Blue Cash Preferred® Card gives you 6% cash back on US supermarket purchases. But how do you know which stores are classified as a supermarket?

What you’re looking for is something called the merchant category code (MCC), this is four digit number used by the different card processors (Visa, AmEx, Discover, MasterCard) to classify a merchants primary business. Card processors charge different rates to businesses based on their MCC and card issuers will offer different bonuses based on your spend at these locations.

merchant category code

Card issuers use this data to determine what bonus rate card holders should earn on their purchases. You can find out how card processors have classified a business in the following way:

Unfortunately, Visa is the only card issuer that makes this MCC data public. AmEx, Mastercard & Discover don’t have a publicly available tool and classify merchants differently to Visa, this means that even if Visa is showing a Walmart as a grocery store if you use your AmEx they might not count it as such.



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Larry Benson
Larry Benson

Same problem with my Sam’s MC, that Tom Martin describe in Nov 8, 2015 Question.
While I do like the “No Foreign Transaction Fees”, I am not happy with getting 1% back on some of my Travel purchases when I should get 3%. Called Credit Card company and they blame the merchant. Seems the Credit Card Companies have no motivation to help fix this as they would have to pay out more Rewards.

Tom Martin
Tom Martin


Two questions.

How do I get the travel/tour company to change their MCC? Sam’s Club MC offers 3% reward on travel services. In July 2015, I paid for a guided tour of Rome IT for my wife and me with this MC. I got a 1% reward because the travel company MCC was listed as 5999 Miscellaneous and Specialty Retail Stores instead of 4722 Travel Agencies and Tour Operations.

How do I find out what a merchant’s MCC is? I’m considering using my credit card to pay for future travel. I want to know which card yields me the higher reward.

Thank you.