MasterCard’s BRAM Requirements

Some important facts about MasterCard's Revised BRAM Requirements

If you are running an online vapor business, chances are that you've heard about the recent revisions on MasterCard's *BRAM registration requirements and the accompanying registration fees that has taken effect since January 15th this year . But if you are one of those who have not taken the steps to work with their processing companies to meet these new requirements, read on as this post is for you.

Some important facts that you should know about MasterCard's latest changes:

  • MasterCard has added "card not present sales of tobacco products" to its BRAM guidelines (Retail vapor and tobacco are not affected by this change)
  • Non-compliance can be met with your account being dropped and/or stiff fines, up to USD 25,000 per month.
  • The vaping industry is not the only industry affected by these changes; others include adult content and services - not face-to-face; gambling - not face-to-face; Government-Owned Lottery; Skills Games; Cyberlocker; and those merchants already under the MasterCard Excessive Chargeback Program.
  • FDA has no direct control over MasterCard's business practices (contrary to some people suspect); Changes are at the company's discretion, they can add new "core categories" to their BRAM practices, which include the things that are the focus of law enforcement or new regulations.
  • All merchants in the category of online tobacco sales must now pay an annual $500 registration fee and must be registered with MasterCard by their processors.
  • There are additional compliance measures included in these changes that are neither consistent nor verifiable. In other words, measures that are not necessarily mandated by MasterCard, but seem to be at the discretion of the processing companies.

With the above-mentioned requirements, a person or organization running a vape business, has three options:

  • Option #1 - Don't take MasterCard - but here's the thing: While it is possible for your processor to turn off MasterCard, we have so far found that no processor that is willing to turn off MasterCard
  • Option #2 - Comply: pay the registration fee (go to work making more sales to offset the costs)
  • Option #3 - Shop for a new processor that helps you pay the additional fee. While it is true that this processor will not write a check on your behalf and cannot waive MasterCard's USD500 fee, they can help offset the costs with their lower overall fees

To learn more about payment processors for the vape/online headshop industry, contact Swipebox at (720) 277-0648

*BRAM stands for Business Risk Assessment & Mitigation

For inquiries contact us at +1 (720) 277-0648