Prohibited Merchants
  • Activities known to be in violation of laws, regulations and rules
  • Activity that could cause measurable reputational damage to the Bank/MSP
  • Activity that could measurably affect the safety and soundness of the Bank/MSP
  • Activity pursued for the purpose of circumventing the intent of Card Brand or regulatory rules
  • Activity initiated by foreign-owned entities, or entities based outside the United States
  • Activity materially conducive to money laundering or criminal exploitation
  • Activity that could constitute load balancing
Restricted Merchants

Documents To Request

  • Four most recent months previous processing
  • Four most recent months business checking statements
  • Two years tax returns or audited financials
    (Accounts over $100K/monthly volume)
  • Contract with full terms and conditions (refund & deposit policies) if applicable
  • Verify parameters on application with previous processing statements or industry standard
    (e.g. Construction/ Home Improvements with $1K high ticket)
  • Merchant Applitcation Request must match previous processing statements.
Prohibited Merchants Or Product Types Clarifications Merchants Industry
Adult Material & Entertainment
(Retail, Card Present)
Includes adult or sexually oriented products, services, and media. No Adult Videos. (See Gentlemen’s Club BMO Exception) Restricted
Advertising Monthly or Quarterly Billing Max Restricted
Age Sensitive Products
(Card Not Present-CNP)
Tobacco/Alcohol/ (firearms/guns refer to Gun Sales) Restricted
(or Payment Facilitators- PayFac’s)
Properly registered Restricted
Air Craft Services Restricted
Airlines Includes charters, private jets, aircraft lease payments, regional, national and international airlines. Prohibited
Ammunition & Gun Sales (Retail, No Gun Shows, No Personal Sales, No Assault Weapons) Merchants primarily selling weapons, weapon parts, or ammo via card present (swiped) transactions. (ATF states Sale of ammunition alone does not require a license) Restricted (FFL required unless they provide a LOI stating they will only sell ammo)
Animals by Mail (Recommend-Shipping guidelines to confirm they follow federal and state shipping laws) Restricted
Art Galleries and Art Dealers Restricted
Auctions Card present (CNP under Online Auctions) Restricted
Automobile Rental Car Agencies Restricted
Automobile Sales (Used) Includes all merchants primarily engaged in the sale of used vehicles. Requires letter of
intent (deposits, repairs/service only) repairs and service only for TBB no deposits
Bail Bonds Includes businesses primarily acting as a surety for persons accused in court. Restricted (Collect license or certification needed to sell Bail Bonds prior to approval)
Bill Payment Services Businesses that primarily offer centralized portals for bill payment to third party vendors.(Also refer to Aggregators) Restricted
Bridal and Formal Wear Restricted
Business Opportunities (Work-at-Home) Opportunities with deceptive marketing, promises of wealth, products / services of questionable value. Investment opportunities/Multi level marketing (e.g. a website featuring ‘levels’ compensation plans) Restricted
Business physically located outside the US /Offshore Merchants (or Embassy, Foreign
Consulate or other Foreign Government
Business Selling Goods or Services Internationally Includes businesses primarily engaged in the exportation of goods outside the United
Cable Box Descramblers Includes all devices or software designed to circumvent copyright protection techniques. Prohibited
Carpet and Flooring (Recommended-Copy of contractor license & contract with full terms and conditions) Restricted
Catering (Recommended-Contract with full terms and conditions) Restricted
Cell Phone Stores and Plans Restricted
Charters & Tours Excluding Day trips Restricted
Check Cashing Includes businesses primarily engaged in check cashing services. Prohibited
Coin Dealers Includes businesses primarily engaged in the sale of coins or the exchange of foreign
currency. (Minimum 5 yrs. in business and 6 months satisfactory previous processing)
Collectibles/Memorabilia Restricted Addendum Needed
Collection Agencies Uncollectable Debt Restricted
Concierge Services Restricted
Construction/ Home Improvement Contractors (Recommended-Copy of contractor license & contract with full terms and conditions) for
Cabinets & Counter installation refer to Kitchen and Bathroom, for Window and door
sales refer to Window and Door Sales
Consumer Electronic and Computer Hardware, Products, Sales, Supplies, Service, and Repairs MOTO/ Internet require 1 yr. in operations plus minimum 6 months satisfactory previous
Counterfeit Goods (i.e. Gucci, Rolex, etc.) to include ‘tribute’ items, such as ‘Louis Vitton’ bag; replicas,
reproduction of original luxury goods
Coupon Books (Printed) Merchants that are primarily engaged in the sale of coupon books and coupon club
Credit Card Protection Services / Identity Theft Includes all services designed to pay credit card balances due to unemployment or
exigent circumstances.
Credit Repair Services Includes all services and counseling purportedly designed to repair consumer or
business credit.
Cross border Trade Blood Products or Pharmaceuticals. Prohibited
Crowd Funding (i.e. Kickstarter, GoFundMe) Prohibited
Cruise Lines Businesses offering matchmaking services, memberships and social networks dedicated
to dating.
Debt Consolidation Includes all entities offering to consolidate Debt / Debt Relief / Credit Insurance Prohibited
Debt Counseling Services Includes all entities offering counseling services to reduce debt (no debt consolidation) Restricted
Debt Representation Services (No Past Due Debt Collection, Includes Legal & Consulting Services, Bankruptcy Law) Services primarily focused on all forms of debt reduction, negotiation, settlement
(includes tax and mortgages). Includes bankruptcy lawyers.
Detective Services/ Private Investigators Includes unlicensed private investigators, unlicensed detective agencies and related
Dietary Supplements Restricted
Direct Marketing – Catalog & Retail Goods sold via a combination of catalog and retail store. Restricted
Direct Marketing – Catalog Businesses Mail order houses where customers select products from printed or electronic catalog
with no face-to-face sales.
Direct Marketing – Continuity, Subscriptions Services offered via continuity subscription basis until the cardholder cancels (movies,
music, newspapers)
Direct Marketing – Inbound Teleservices Merchants that offer information services (inbound calls) may include, polls,
sweepstakes, horoscopes, etc.
Direct Marketing – Insurance Services Insurance services offered via direct mail, billing insert, magazine or television ads. Prohibited
Direct Marketing – Not Elsewhere Classified Merchants that offer products / services with direct marketing methods; infomercials,
direct response ads, etc.
Direct Marketing – Outbound Telemarketing Merchants that solicit customers via outbound calls and mailings and typically include
vitamins, cosmetics, etc. (including MCC’s 5965, 5966, & 5967)
Direct Marketing – Travel Related Services Travel packages and subscriptions offered to customers via direct mail and outbound
Discount Buying Clubs Businesses primarily offering memberships or access to purchase merchandise at
discounted prices.
Document Preparation Services Restricted
Drug Paraphernalia Includes products generally used for the consumption or distribution or illegal substances. Restricted
Educational Materials/ Seminars/ Self Help/
Life Coaching
Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes) Card present-retail only (Card-not-present prohibited) Restricted
Embassy, Foreign Consulate or other foreign government Prohibited
Escort Services (Sexually Suggestive) Includes merchants with sexually oriented marketing offering dating, escort and
companionship services.
Essay Mills/Paper Mills Ghost writing services that sell term papers, essays etc. with intent that purchaser will
submit documents as own
Extended Warranties (Products or Services) Businesses offering extended warranty coverage for products or services. (including
protection services)
Financed Payments via Credit Card (All products and Services) Prohibited
(Registered Debit Card
Fireworks Retailers (Unlicensed) All businesses selling via card not present or card present without a valid license.
Licensed retailers acceptable.
Foreign Entity or Foreign Resident owned
Fortune Tellers, Psychics, Astrologers,
Spiritual Readers
Includes astrologers, numerologists, palm readers, psychics, and spiritual advisers. Restricted
Freight Forwarding, Shipping Businesses Businesses that primarily forward packages or freight on the behalf of other carriers. Restricted/td>
Furniture & Mattress Stores (Office / Commercial or Home Furnishings with Excessive Forward Delivery) All Internet / MOTO furniture sales, and card present sales with average delivery
timeframes greater than 7 days.
Restricted (Requires Bank Concurrence)
Future Service Liability Greater than one year All products types, services, memberships Prohibited
Gambling/ Sports Forecasting (MCC 5967 / 7995) Includes all gambling, wagering, lottery, fantasy sports, casino chips, and off-track
betting activity.
(Also includes Lottery Sales/Horse and Dog Racing/ Skill Games/)
General Contractors (Recommended-Copy of contractor license & contract with full terms and conditions) Restricted
Gentlemen’s Clubs Prohibited
Get Rich Quick Services Includes services marketed as minimal effort and high return or promises of wealth. Prohibited
Gold, Coins, Precious Metals Prohibited
Golf Clubs-Custom Made Minimum 1 yr. in business and 3 months previous processing Restricted
Government Grant Services All services to aid individuals with applying, qualifying or obtaining government grants. Prohibited
Hair restoration Services Non-Medical nutraceutical type hair restoration products are prohibited for unreasonable
guarantees. medical procedures for hair restoration ARE allowable on BMO Harris
Home Based Charities Charities that are home based excluding well established and tax-exempt organizations
and residential hospice care.
Hookah Establishments Retail only- No Drug Paraphernalia Restricted
Illegal Products Including Illegal Synthetic Stimulants (Bath Salts), Salvia Divinorum or HGH Prohibited
Immigration & Naturalization Services Must be provided by licensed Attorney Restricted
Internet Service Providers & Computer
MCC 4816 ( Also refer to Telecom merchants) Restricted
Investment Opportunities & Ponzi Schemes Includes all forms of securities, stocks, bonds, futures, and cash gifting activity. Prohibited
Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets & Counters Installation (Large average tickets > $2.5K )
(Recommended-Copy of contractor license & contract with full terms and conditions)
Lead Lists (All Types) Restricted
Lifetime Memberships or Guarantees Includes businesses offering services and guarantees in perpetuity. Prohibited
Limousine and Taxi Services Restricted
Liquidation companies Prohibited
Loan Modification/Mortgage Relief Services Prohibited
Magazine Subscriptions (Internet, Direct Mail, Telephone) Businesses primarily selling magazine subscriptions to one or more publications in any
media format.
Restricted (12 months Future Service or less)
Marijuana or Drug Sales Includes all drugs that are illegal under any law (including Medical Marijuana regardless
of any State laws). All types
Massage Parlors, Massage Therapy (Unlicensed, Sexually Oriented) Includes all unlicensed massage parlors and therapists, and all sexually oriented
Massage Therapists Therapist certification or LMT Credentials required Restricted
Medical & Dental Loan Payments/Financed payments via CC (All products and Services) Prohibited (Registered Debit Card Acceptors Restricted
Membership clubs Must be < 12 months future service Restricted (< 12 months Future Service)
Merchants requiring Card Brand Registration Restricted
Modeling Agencies / Beauty Pageant Organizations Includes model scouting, social networks dedicated to modeling portfolios, marketing,
and beauty pageants.
Modification Chips Prohibited
Money Services Businesses- Money Orders, Money Transfer Networks, Quasi-Cash (Redeemable Tokens, Bitcoins, Virtual
Includes merchants primarily offering money orders, travelers checks, wire transfer
services or stored value cards. Includes All Bitcoin, Virtual Currencies and gambling
Moving Companies (long or local distance providers) Restricted
Multilevel Marketing Businesses Opportunities focused on recruitment, wealth generation, questionable value of products
or services. (Product sales Only) (called MLM)
Restricted (Bank Concurrence Required)
Mutilation of Body Parts (Non-Cosmetic) Includes all acts or simulated acts of mutilation via all forms of media. Prohibited
Negative response marketing techniques by any type of merchant/ Deceptive marketing practices. i.e. customer is automatically charged If they don’t return merchandise or cancel service
at the end of a free or low cost trial period. Includes hidden disclosures, bogus claims
and endorsements, refund/cancellation avoidance, poorly disclosed negative option, prechecked
opt-in boxes for payment without cardholders active consent
Non Profit or Charitable entities Start ups (any business with less than 12 months of verifiable business history) Restricted
Nutraceutical Businesses (Teeth Whitening, Colon Cleansers, Sexual Enhancements, etc.) Merchants that are engaged in the sale of teeth whitening, colon cleansers, sexual
enhancement supplements, etc. Also includes Acai, Hoodia, Noni Juice, HGH, Coral
Online Auctions (CNP auctions) Includes penny auctions Restricted
Online Electronic Sales Includes businesses primarily engaged in the sale of electronics via MOTO or the Internet. Restricted
Online Jewelry Sales Includes businesses primarily engaged in the sale of jewelry via MOTO or the Internet. Restricted
Online Malls Restricted
Online/ Mail order Event Ticket Sales Minimum 1 yr. in business and 6 months satisfactory previous processing Restricted
Past Due Collection Services Includes all entities attempting to collect on past due debt on the behalf of third parties. Restricted
Patently Offensive Material (Racist, Bigoted Materials) Includes merchants selling goods or services designed to incite hate, violence, or abuse
of individuals or groups.
Pawn Shops Restricted
Pay Per Click and parked websites All types of products/services Prohibited
Payday Lending Includes all entities primarily offering short-term loans, title loans, and cash advance
Penny Auctions Includes all pay per bid and bidding fee auction services. Normal auction houses and
consignment shops are acceptable.
Pharmaceuticals (Card Not Present) Includes all entities engaged in the card not present (keyed) sale of prescription drugs. Prohibited (Retail only)
Pharmacies (Card Present) 100% swiped only
Plastic Surgeons Restricted
Political Fund Raising/ Political Action Committees / Political Campaigns (all Types) Cannot promote anything illegal or brand damaging Restricted
Pools and Hot Tubs Restricted
Prepaid /Discount health plans Minimum 5 yrs. in business plus minimum 12 months satisfactory previous processing Restricted
Prepaid Gift cards Minimum 6 months previous processing Restricted
Prepaid Phone Card Sales Includes business primarily selling prepaid one-time use card, reloadable cards and
virtual card accounts.
Products or services with Unreasonable
Guarantees or claims
Pyramid Sales & Schemes Includes opportunities focused on member recruitment with products or services of
questionable value.
Recurring Billing Agreement term < 12 months. NO 3rd party Payments (refer to Bill Payment Services) Restricted
Salvia Divinorum Prohibited
Scooters/Hooverboards Minimum 1 yr. in business and 6 months previous processing Restricted
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Restricted
Security and/or Surveillance equipment and service providers Minimum 1 yr. in business and 6 months satisfactory previous processing Restricted
Shell Banks Prohibited
Social Networking Sites Restricted
Sports Forecasting (MCC 5967/ 7995) (Also found in Gambling) Restricted
Storage & Warehouse Companies Establishments primarily engaged in the renting or leasing of storage (or warehousing
and storage of a general line of goods).
Surveillance Equipment (Excluding Home & Office Security Systems) Includes all eavesdropping equipment, spy equipment, cellular signal boosters and
jammers. (Minimum 1 yr. in business and 6 months satisfactory previous processing)
Technical Support Call Centers Restricted
Telecom Merchants and Transactions Pre-paid phone cards, re-chargeable phone cards, recurring phone services (MCC 4814
and 4816)
Telemarketing companies offering Free gift/prize or sweepstakes with purchase of product; chain letters; sale of any
product/service that is prohibited; Hodge podge product mix; solicitation with outbound
telephone calls via fax blasting, email spamming etc. (MCC 5965, 5966, 5967)
Timeshares & Services Includes timeshare sales, rentals, fees, loan modifications, marketing, and all related
Tobacco (Card Not Present) Includes all entities engaged in the sale of tobacco products via card not present
methods (keyed). No CNP-E-Cig
Restricted (Annual registration/ Legal Opinion)
Tobacco Merchants (Card Present) Includes merchants primarily engaged in the sale of tobacco products. Restricted
Trade with Cuba Prohibited
Trade/ Vocational Schools Minimum 1 yr. in business and 6 months satisfactory previous processing Restricted
Travel Agencies & Tour Packages Includes all travel and tour packages, discounted travel voucher and coupon programs. Restricted
Travel Clubs Includes all destination packages, travel membership programs, point redemption and
conversion offers.
Unlicensed Intellectual Property Prohibited
Used Car Sales (Excludes New Car Dealers) Includes all merchants primarily engaged in the sale of used vehicles. Requires letter of
intent (deposits, repairs/service only) repairs and service only for TBB
Restricted Requires Letter of Intent stating the account will only be use for repairs, deposits,
Video Streaming & Audiotext Merchants Includes phone and internet chat services, electronic bulletin boards, forums, sports
scores and odds.
Vitamins, Nutritional Supplement Businesses Businesses primarily engaged in the sale of vitamins and nutritional supplements. Restricted
Web Design MOTO/ Internet require 1 yr. in operations plus minimum 6 months satisfactory previous
Weight loss Center and Programs (Card not Present-CNP) Restricted (Physician owned and operated with physician onsite)
Weight loss Center and Programs (Card present only) Must be physician owned and operated with Physician onsite (registered nurse also
Window and Door Sales and Installation (Recommended-Copy of contractor license & contract with full terms and conditions) Restricted

Prohibited & Restricted Merchant Guide

Download our Prohibited & Restricted Merchant Guide.