“The risk they see is facilitating an illegal transaction,” Shipper says. “I’m not sure if any [dispensary] locations can really accept credit cards or anything today. They handle a lot of cash because networks are wary of those businesses.”
Gambling purchases and transactions in sanctioned nations like Iran and Syria are generally forbidden, too. Outside of legal requirements, some financial institutions also block purchases of cryptocurrency, due largely to “concerns about customers understanding what they’re getting themselves into — a more protective approach,” says Tony DeSanctis, senior director of payments at Cornerstone Advisors.
There’s also reputational risk to consider with items like firearms.
There’s a difference, though, between what I can’t and what I shouldn’t put on a card. Steele had an immediate answer to my second question: “The one thing you should never purchase on a credit card? Never, ever make a cash advance,” he says.
It has nothing to do with the law — it’s just not a good financial practice. Not only do cash advances typically have fees of 3% to 5% when I withdraw, but they also usually have sky-high interest rates. Because they amount to short-term loans, we’re talking APRs of, like, 30%.