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What is a Merchant Category?

Visa® and MasterCard® have established Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) that they assign to the many different kinds of establishments that accept their cards, e.g.:

  • #7210, Laundry, Cleaning and Garment Services
  • #7211, Laundries Services - Family and Commercial
  • #7216, Dry Cleaners
  • #7217, Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

To help Administrators capture and track spending, PEX has bundled hundreds of individual Visa and MasterCard Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) into 13 “PEX Merchant Categories” that are comprised of similar or related kinds of businesses. 

  • “Travel & Transportation,” includes more than 600 Travel- and Transportation-related individual MCCs, e.g.:
    • Airlines: #3000, United; #3001 American, et al.
    • Rental Cars: #3387, Alamo; #3389 Avis, et al.
    • Hotels: #3504, Hilton; #3509, Marriott, et al.
    • General Travel & Transportation: #4121, Taxicabs and Limousines; #4784, Tolls and Bridge Fees, et al.

The 13 PEX Merchant Categories, with representative examples of the types of merchants included in each Category, are:

  1. Associations & Organizations: Religious organizations, local and Federal government services, Post Office
  2. Automotive Dealers: Car dealers, recreational vehicle dealers, farm equipment dealers
  3. Educational Services: Colleges, as well as business, trade, and grammar schools
  4. Entertainment: Movies, golf, bowling, sports clubs, amusement parks
  5. Fuel pumps Only: “Pay at the pump” at gas stations
  6. Fuel & convenience stores: Gas station stores and other convenience stores
  7. Grocery Stores: Food stores, bakeries, candy stores
  8. Hardware stores: Hardware, building supplies, construction materials, paint stores, industrial equipment merchants
  9. Healthcare & Childcare Services: Doctors, dentists, hospitals, medical services, elder care, child care
  10. Professional Services: Contractors, heating, plumbing, HVAC, utilities, freight, cleaning services, printing, couriers, exterminators, repair shops, legal services
  11. Restaurants: Fast food and sit-down restaurants
  12. Retail Stores: Clothing stores, office supply stores, department stores, book stores, furniture stores, electronics stores
  13. Travel & Transportation: Airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, buses, railroads, taxis

How to See the PEX Merchant Categories:

  1. Log into the Administrator Site
  2. Click on the "Cards" tab
  3. Click on "Merchant categories" in the blue bar


    The 13 PEX Merchant Categories are indicated with the PEX logo to their left

  4. Click on the name of the PEX Merchant Category to see the MCCs that are included in that Category


Click on the name of the Merchant Category to see the MCCs in that category


Custom Merchant Categories are also available with selected plans. Please see "Managing Custom Merchant Categories."

You might find this article useful, if you would like to know how to set spend rules on a card: "Card Spend Rules."

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