[Cash advance] Contactless transaction

Currently travelling and visiting Poland. I decided to stop by at a post office and purchase stamps ± €1. Much to my surprise, my curve card did not work. I went on the app and switched to a different credit card and it did work. I was confused by this thinking the initial card might be blocked by the issuer. But no, everything was fine despite the “do not honor” message the issuer sent to curve.

A couple days later, I saw that the transaction went through as a cash advance on the underlying card used. In fact, it went through twice, one of which got refunded and I got charged €10 cash advance fee (twice) by the issuer for a €1 transaction. This is insane…

Bank claims they can’t waive it as it was correctly applied and curve says they passed on the MCC correctly.

My curve fronted ability is disabled & I had no idea a cash advance could occur on a contactless transaction. I thought a pin was required to be honest. Nevertheless, I did not know the post office would charge me as a cash advance. This is the first time I am experiencing this. And it makes my mind uneasy thinking that any merchant can adopt a cash advance MCC in order not to pay CC processing fees.

Anyways, the initial underlying card that denied this knew that charging someone 10x the cost of the transaction is unreasonable. The second one apparently did not know.

I am still escalating this matter with Curve, but I do think they are responsible given my curve fronted settings. Thoughts?

Update: MCC used by the merchant was 4829 money orders - wire transfer. Again, this was for the purchase of a stamp. Do I have grounds to dispute the charge under miscategorization of the merchant and have curve correct this somehow in an attempt to show my bank what happened?

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Found an option from a VISA MCC Booklet dated 2007 (not sure if email address is still viable), nothing for MasterCard.

Curve needs to correct this situation. It is simply unfair.

  1. What if the assigned MCC is obviously incorrect?**
    If you see an obviously incorrect MCC assigned to a supplier (for example, a business is selling office equipment but has an MCC for performing building maintenance), please let Visa know by email at merchinfo@visa.com. In the meantime, you may rely on the MCC List.
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Similar happened to me in Croatia few years ago - paid at post office with my card (not Curve) and got charged for cash advance. :money_with_wings: I didn’t solve it by then (it wasn’t worth the effort) but now I rather don’t pay with card in foreign post and exchange offices any more… :dizzy_face:

Tough one.
One would think that the merchant simply has a wrong MCC.

However, post stamps are a different game in several countries! In a few countries the law says post stamps are money equivalent, since they have the same exact value as the purchase price.
So its like a shadow currency. And therefore, buying a stamp is the same as withdrawing money from an ATM.
The merchant is not required to inform the card holder at time of purchase what MCC he uses.

Here is what I would do

  1. Research if in Poland postage stamps are in fact considered a money equivalent ‘currency’
    If it is, then Visa/MC are right by applying the money order MCC and you’re out of luck.

If not:
2) Look into if a wrong MCC has ground to file a chargeback, i.e. https://www.mastercard.us/content/dam/mccom/global/documents/chargeback-guide.pdf


I’ve escalated the matter with curve. Let’s see what options they provide. This is still insane. A purchase of a stamp is not a wire transfer lol… Perhaps curve should require a minimum for a cash advance? Like €100? I mean, who in their right mind would do a cash advance for €1? I understand that everyone’s finances are different from each other, however making a cash advance that will cost more in fees than the transaction makes zero sense.

If you don’t have curve front active, no cash advances of any type should be allowed period.

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You are still trying to blame Curve here. Have you read my previous post? Curve does NOT chose which MCC a merchant uses. If the local saw in Poland says, postage is cash, then thats the law.


As per your previous post and suggestion, curve is the one that can make the decision on whether or not to dispute based on the wrong MCC.

As per my explanation, yes I do believe curve is to blame for this. One thing is for the merchant to have the wrong MCC and another thing is what curve does about it on a transaction given the fact that my curve fronted is disabled & common sense. This is the type of transaction that should have been declined based on the reasoning provided above.

Curve Fronted does not apply to the MCC 4829, only to 9399 and 6012:

Curve is just a middle man here. If you really want to dispute the cash advance fee I think you have a better chance contacting the issuer of the underlying card. Given that the charge was only for €1, I’d say you have a good chance they’ll refund you the cash advance fee as a gesture of good will if you explain the situation to them.

Does it not make sense for curve to allow users to opt to allow cash advances or not?

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Ups, but paying via card at post office is always as cash advance I think. I got burn once and learned my lesson.

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No, it is not.

An MCC code exists. Postal services in Poland probably think they can opt to process transactions as a cash advance to avoid merchant fees and not worry about the payment card processing risk. This is wrong though…

MCC 9402—Postal Services—Government Only
The description of each MCC includes the TCC(s) that are valid for that MCC. Only a valid
combination of MCC and TCC may be used in a transaction.
TCC R for face-to-face transactions.
T for non–face-to-face transactions.
MCC Description Government postal offices, including local post office branches. Services
provided include accepting and processing packages and mail for delivery,
selling postage stamps, and express mailing services.

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I’d like to have the ability to configure merchant category based rules. That way I could make a rule to charge 4895 automatically to an underlying debit card to avoid cash advance fees, in addition to routing certain MCCs to the credit card that earns the highest rewards for that category. There’s already a thread about that idea:

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I would say this is way too advanced for the average user. Restricting all cash advances and/or certain MCC categories from being approved by curve would be a good start.

@yahoo I agree. But tell that to Croatian post, Serbian post, Poland post etc. Every transaction there is cash advance.

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Fun fact.
Some Polish banks treat credit card transactions at the post office as a cash withdrawal and have its clearly on their T&C.

Post office in Poland use MCC 4829.

A long time ago at the post office in PL it was not possible to pay by card at all.
The only service that was available is cash withdrawal from POS at some post offices and probably therefore, despite the introduction of card payments, everything is attributed to the above MCC.

Definitely not. :deaf_man: I’m paying with card at Czech post offices regularly and it’s never treated as cash advance.

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Anyways, this topic just proves that snail mail is a thing of the past and even if you try to still use it just for fun, your postcard might get lost & never arrive to the destination or the postal services will charge you as a cash advance :joy::sweat_smile:

RIP postal services.

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Moving forward, I would like curve to set a reasonable minimum of €50 / €100 for cash advance type of transactions & that the card pin is always required for them. Ideally, I would like the curve fronted feature to include all kinds of cash advance MCCs and that users can prevent them from happening as it exists now.

What happened in my case should be used for improving the service and hopefully instigate critical thinking that a €1 cash advance is a mistake on the user’s part and should not be allowed.


Ok, but my experience is different. …but thanks to curve I don’t care if it’s cash advance, they can put whatever mcc they won’t. All my bank transactions on my statement that where via curve are online transactions even atm ones.

From a practical point of view. Did you try to use GBiT and put the purchase on an underlying Debit card or Prepaid Card (eg Revolut), thus not paying a cash advance fee and maybe getting the cash advance fee refunded from the underlying Credit Card that was originally used.