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What are High-risk Products and Why Are They Problematic?

High-risk products are illegal or illicit products that pose an elevated risk of consumer harm and potential brand damage. Discover what makes high-risk products so problematic, and what policies determine the monetary violations for them. Then contact us for a quick strategy session.

What Are High-risk Products?

High-risk products and services are ones that present a greater likelihood of being associated with illegal activity, consumer harm, or brand-damaging activity. This typically occurs with products or services that are highly regulated, such as pharmaceuticals, financial services, alcohol, gambling, adult content, and more.

Visa, one of the two major card brands that issue monetary violations for certain high-risk goods and services, defines merchants that sell high-risk or problematic products as “high-brand risk merchants.” In its guidelines for marketplaces and merchants Visa confirms laws vary by jurisdiction and therefore “certain goods or services” and their associated card-not-present (card-absent) transactions may be categorized as illegal, illicit, or fraudulent depending on where and how they are sold.

In Visa’s guidelines for marketplaces and merchants it states, “sellers involved in illegal activity pose a severe risk to an acquirer, payment facilitator, marketplace, and the payment ecosystem in general.”

Visa defines merchants that sell high-risk or problematic products as “high-brand risk merchants” because they pose an elevated risk of consumer harm and brand damage. Examples within Visa’s guidelines linked above clarify what types of products are considered high-risk and/or illegal including but not limited to:

  • The unlawful sale of prescription drugs (and/or unapproved drugs)
  • Intellectual property (IP) violations (counterfeit risk)
  • And the online sale of tobacco products

BRAM and VIRP Policies Determine Monetary Violations for Sellers of High-risk Products

The Mastercard Business Risk Assessment and Mitigation (BRAM) Program and the Visa Integrity Risk Program (VIRP), formerly known as GBPP, are rules designed to protect card brands and consumers from high-brand risk merchants and problematic goods and services.

Monetary violations from major card brands for high-brand risk merchants selling violative products are a challenge for the e-commerce marketplaces that may end up paying them. Download your free copy of BRAM and VIRP Basics for a breakdown of how these programs work, the cost of monetary violations, and how to adhere to the guidelines.

Mastercard Security Rules for merchants state, “as a best practice, Mastercard recommends that Acquirers use a Merchant Monitoring solution for e-commerce Merchant activity so as to avoid processing illegal or brand-damaging transactions.”

Avoid Processing Illegal or Brand-damaging Transactions With LegitScript Marketplace Monitoring

Are you an e-commerce marketplace looking to reduce the risk of monetary violations for high-risk products? LegitScript has the largest database of problematic healthcare products and offers monitoring expertise in dozens of high-risk areas. We track 175+ regulatory bodies across 100+ countries to ensure you’re complying with national and international laws in every jurisdiction within which you operate. Confidently grow your business into new categories with LegitScript Marketplace Monitoring.

Contact us for a quick strategy session.

Reach Your Growth Goals While Staying Compliant

Find out how LegitScript's advanced technology, robust data sets, and human expertise make us the leader in identifying high-risk products, ads, and more.