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New MasterCard rules on Adult content

Published 4th November, 2021 by Antony Quaife


Mastercard announced new stricter standards for all adult-content merchants, which came into play on 15th October 2021. Additional measures were required as it has become so easy for people to upload content onto the internet.

Briefly, the improved standards include:

  •  KYC checks must be performed. Content creators must provide government-issued ID’s (passport, National ID cards, driving license) so merchants can confidently verify the age

  • The merchant must enter into a written agreement with every content provider, stating that illegal activity and any activity in violation of Mastercard's standards, is prohibited.

  • Content creators must have documented/written consent from any other parties involved in the content. The consent also needs to cover if other users can download the content.

  • Merchants must pre-screen all content before it is published. There must be real-time monitoring for real-time streaming. Content must be taken down immediately if it violates Mastercard’s standards.

  • Merchants must agree to

    • not market any activity that breaches Mastercard’s standards,

    • not publish content where consent is missing,

    • not publish content where participants are below legal age,

    • not upload any illegal content that may breach Mastercard's standards



  • Merchants must update their policies to include statements that show they prohibit their website from being used to promote human trafficking, sex trafficking or any abuse. Mastercard is encouraging merchants to become members of anti-human trafficking and/or anti-child exploitation organisations.

  • The merchant must have a complaint process that allows individuals to report content they believe to be illegal or contravening Mastercard’s standards. Complaints must be reviewed and resolved within 7 days. If the content is found to be illegal, it must be taken down immediately.

  • The merchant’s acquirer will require monthly reports outlining the content that may have breached Mastercard's standards, what actions were taken by the merchant, any complaints and/or take-down requests. The acquirer may be asked to share this detail directly with Mastercard.

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