At the start of 2021, I wrote about a game-changing development for miles collectors in Singapore: the Visa Supplier Locator. This online tool allowed you to look up the MCC of any Visa-accepting merchant, enabling informed decisions about what credit card to use.
Oh, it was magical. No more guess and check, no more ex-post “if only I’d used another card” laments. Enter the merchant name, pass a captcha, and get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth.
So naturally, it didn’t last.
The Visa Supplier Locator is dead
The Visa Supplier Locator first went AWOL a few weeks ago. At first I didn’t think too much of it, assuming it was just routine maintenance and the tool would be back soon.
But the longer it remained unavailable, the more worried I got. And now it’s more or less confirmed that the Visa Supplier Locator is dead, at least in the form that we knew it.
From what I can see online, Visa is tightening access to the Supplier Locator tool, making it available as a subscriber-only B2B service. If you run a registered business, you might be able to access the platform by contacting [email protected], but it’s clearly nowhere as accessible as before.
What are my alternatives?
If you’re trying to find the MCC of a given merchant, your options aren’t great.
Anyone who’s been in the miles game for a while will no doubt remember the crowdsourced Credit Card Google Sheet, maintained by the community on HWZ. While there’s some useful information there, it’s hard to tell if it’s still being actively maintained.
The What Card project was intended to be the repository of all things MCC-related, but has fallen into limbo with no recent updates. In a pinch you can look up the MCCs of some popular merchants, but it’s far from comprehensive (and some information may be out of date).
However, the merchant list is highly US-centric, and will be of limited usefulness to anyone in Singapore.
The Visa Supplier Locator was an absolute godsend to the miles community, and now it’s no more. It’s sad that they’re making information less transparent, but it is what it is.
While there are a few alternatives for looking up MCCs, none of them are as comprehensive or as easy-to-use as Visa’s platform.
Looks like we’re back to the stone age again.