Understanding adult content merchants

Learn how to mitigate the risks associated with adult content merchants and how to comply with the new Mastercard rules.

41 lessons in 4 chapters
96 minutes
Yes, after passing an exam

Sex sells. This alone should alert acquirers to the possibility of higher risk exposure. The simple ‘follow the money’ or ‘follow the eyeballs’ principle holds true. Where there are high sales, user numbers and traffic, so there are higher risks of rogue operators and deceptive marketing practices.

If sex sells, then sex-related scams pay. Adult affiliates scam merchants. Cardholders scam merchants and vice versa. Meanwhile, acquirers are left covering the costs of all these scams, especially if they culminate in chargebacks or reputational damage. Mastercard has also recently introduced new requirements for those acquiring adult content merchants. These seek to effectively mitigate the risk of illegal or brand-damaging activities, plus prevent the victimisation of individuals.

This course is designed to provide a good grounding to the adult sector. We cover why adult merchants are high-risk and high-brand risk, the new Mastercard rules and how to comply with them, as well as how to mitigate the risks from adult merchants. Packed full of real-life case studies and practical, worked examples, this stand-alone course is ideal for those working in risk management or compliance in acquirers and payment service providers.

Learning objectives

  • Understand why the adult is high risk and high brand-risk
  • Be familiar with Mastercard rules for those acquiring adult content merchants
  • Understand how to manage the risks of adult merchants for business success


Introduction to adult merchants

Does pornography still drive the internet? We review the history of porn and erotica online as well as its impact on the internet, technology and the payment industry. We consider what is included and excluded from adult MCCs and briefly cover dating and webcam business.

Why is the adult sector high-risk and high-brand risk?

A deep-dive into why the adult industry poses such high risks for acquirers. We cover everything from copyright and IP infringement to use of affiliate marketing networks, streaming and Tube sites and cyberlockers to illegal content and that prohibited by the card schemes.

Card scheme rules

Everything you need to know about registration on the card schemes’ high brand-risk programmes, plus the lowdown on Mastercard’s new rules for those acquiring adult content merchants and how to comply with them.

How to manage adult merchant risk exposure

Everything from how to conduct KYC on adult merchants to reviewing business operations, marketing materials, affiliate marketing relationships, member-only content and web traffic to manage your risk exposure. Monitoring recommendations are also covered.

On-demand training for the whole team

Set an underwriting training program for your team, see their progress, and manage their course load.