How are Merchants Categorized? Find out Here!

Visa Merchant

How are Merchants Classified? Use the Visa Supplier Locator to Find Out!

Do you have a Chase Freedom, Citi Dividend, or Discover It credit card?  Are you aware of the rotating categories that change every month (learn more here)?  Do you know what is considered a “department store,” “gas station,” or “drug store”?  In order to get the 5% cash back spending bonus, it is important to know what stores qualify.  Here’s how…

Go to the Visa Supplier Locator website.

Start by searching for the name of a merchant and your zip code.  In this case, I type CVS into the supplier name and enter my zip code.  Leave everything else the same and click search.

Merchant Search

Now it will search for CVS near zip code 12345.  The first 5 results are for CVS stores and they are all classified as “DRUG STORES – 5912”.

All 5 CVS Stores

Now click the REFINE / START A NEW SEARCH link at the top of the page.  Remove CVS from the Supplier Name box and select “5912 – DRUG STORES & PHARMACIES” from the MCC list, then click search.

5912 Drug Stores

Here is the new list of merchants with the 5912 merchant code.  You should see CVS along with other merchants with the same merchant code.

All  5912 Merchants

Merchants other than CVS with merchant code 5912.

All  5912 Merchants 2

The Visa Supplier Locator only tells you how Visa categorizes the merchant.  MasterCard, Discover, and American Express may use the same classification or the may use a slightly different merchant code.  I would say that they are about 95% the same, but your mileage may vary.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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About Grant

Grant is an expert in frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points, credit card rewards, and cash back deals. He also has a pretty cool travel blog. Find him on Twitter @travelwithgrant.

6 thoughts on “How are Merchants Categorized? Find out Here!

  1. Sherry

    How about stores with two MCCs? For example, when I selected Target, it showed Industry/MCC DISCOUNT STORES/ WAREHOUSE/ WHOLESALE – 5310 and Industry/MCC GROCERY STORES/ SUPERMARKETS/ BAKERIES – 5411. I wonder how does Visa know which to use.

      1. Sherry

        Thanks for the quick reply!
        I just started using a credit card with this reward option and it is frustrating trying to determine what is / is not a grocery store – feels like a guessing game…

        1. Grant Post author

          Most traditional grocery stores will work and some unusual stores too. Just try sticking to the traditional grocery stores.


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