Payment service provider Mastercard: threatens to cut off adult sites from payment

MWC 2022

The global payment service provider Mastercard has recently expanded its rules and standards to protect the network from illegal content. The new rules were already published by the company on April 21, 2021, and they will come into force on October 21, 2021. The expanded requirements affect a large network of licensed banks, contracting companies, merchants and payment service providers worldwide. Along with Visa,the Mastercard brand is one of the two largest international companies for payment services and payment cards (credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards). Mastercard issues licenses to banks around the world for issuing their cards and for the recruitment of contracting companies (acquiring licenses).

Mastercard regularly publishes a series of its own detailed standards and rules to ensure simple and secure trade for all parties involved in the business of digital payment. These rules and compliance programs affect Mastercard processors or merchants. With the new rules, Mastercard is tightening its existing requirements for the registration of specialist retailers offering content for adults: „Specialty Merchant Registration requirements for adult content merchants“. The aim is to ensure adequate controls to effectively reduce the risk of illegal or trademark-damaging activities and to prevent harm to individuals. The aim of the new regulations is to prevent illegal adult content from becoming accessible via the activation of payment options, and to prevent the publication or spread of digital networks.

The application of the new regulations will be particularly relevant for the Aquirers and their merchants who distribute adult content: access controls, but also the rules for consent and, for example the prohibition of illegal material, will be strengthened.

On April 14, 2021, Mastercard released the updated set of rules and requirements for merchants called “AN 5196 Revised Standards for New Specialty Merchant Registration Requirements for Adult Content Merchants.” Essentially, the new standards are about verifying the providers and the content that is uploaded. It is required to verify and prove the identity and age of the providers but also of the persons who appear in the content.

New rules include:

  • Only permit content uploads from verified content providers;
  • Merchants must identify and verify the identity and age of content providers, e. g. through a passport, identity card or driver’s license;
  • Merchants must have a procedure in place to verify the age and identity of third-party providers who upload or generate content;
  • All uploaded content must be reviewed prior to publication to ensure that it is not illegal and otherwise does not violate Mastercard’s standards;
  • With real-time or live video streaming services, the trader must work on a platform that he can fully control and that allows real-time monitoring and the removal of streamed data.

The new requirements present the merchants with a great challenge, not complying to them threatens the loss of Mastercard licenses or contracts. For compliance with the rules, the support of professional technology or software is essential. The use of a third-party provider specializing in the validation of government identification is recommended.

The AI software of irisnet offers concrete and reliable starting points here. Our AI offers various checks that absolutely helpful and reliably meet the detection of essential criteria in terms of identification and age. This concerns the basic identification as a person and the assignment to age groups (senior, adult, child). Images that do not allow clear identification due to e. g. the use of sunglasses or similar are rejected. Through these and other checks, the AI can already meet some of the requirements and thus relieve the dealers.

Furthermore, the AI can check content in real time before it is uploaded: we offer checks for illegal content such as nudity, children, violence, etc. Together with the customer, we can work out further checks on request and implement them through targeted training. The AI also checks video material in real time, so the required control of life screaming is also provided.

Acquirers must ensure that all merchants for adult content in their portfolio meet the new requirements, otherwise the termination of the acceptance contract with Mastercard threatens. Irisnet’s AI technology, in conjunction with further test steps, such as reading in government documents, can make a significant contribution to the verification of providers and content. The use of reliable AI can also facilitate access to digital payment systems for so-called high-risk merchants (including adult content), ensure it in the long term and thus protect against loss of sales.

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