Why Does the Adult Industry Have Problems With Credit Card Companies?

Financial discrimination against the adult entertainment sector includes several unfair and unequal practices that are faced by those who work in the sector as well as by the businesses that serve them.

The increasing entry barriers, expansion, and short- and long-term economic stability are the causes of these practices, which make it more difficult for the industry to access financial services and resources. Although we have previously talked about financial discrimination, in this post we will delve even further into the additional complexities of financial discrimination that the entire adult business must deal with. The blog team for Adult Business Consulting will provide background for the issue of persistent financial discrimination against our industry.

Due to perceived reputational hazards, many financial institutions, especially traditional institutional banks, are hesitant to offer any banking services to businesses and individuals engaged in the adult entertainment industry. As a result, adult entertainment companies have trouble processing transactions, depositing money, and getting access to basic financial services like loans and credit lines. Without adequate financial help, these companies can find it difficult to handle their funds effectively and might run into difficulties daily. As a result, sex workers are also subject to prejudice in banking that results in the closure of accounts and assertions that merely working in the adult entertainment industry is a “high risk” activity.

Another significant challenge for the adult entertainment sector is payment processing. Established payment processors with tight standards prohibiting processing payments for adult content include PayPal and Stripe. Due to their difficulty in locating practical payment processing solutions, adult entertainment enterprises face major challenges. These companies may miss out on possible sales and revenue streams without effective payment processing solutions, which would hurt their capacity to remain solvent financially. Significant credit card issuers are also guilty. The Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for businesses like ours in the adult entertainment industry, collaborated on a significant white paper on financial discrimination with Sex Work CEO, the website founded by activist and pornstar MelRose Michaels.

According to Mike Stabile, the Free Speech Coalition’s director of public affairs, “the widespread financial discrimination against the adult industry is devastating to our businesses and workers. “Financial institutions are taking advantage of persons working in the adult industry, whether it is through predatory fees or unjustified fund seizures. This research sheds light on a deplorable behavior”, said Stabile. Both Stabile and FSC Executive Director Alison Boden have been on our podcast, Adult Site Broker Talk. According to the survey, almost 2 out of 3 people who make a living in the adult sector have reported losing access to a bank account or other financial resource. 40% of respondents disclosed that they had recently closed a banking account. And the report claimed that the problems adult businesses and workers have with financial products, including banking services, mobile payments, credit cards, loans, and insurance, are special and have never been completely documented in such a transparent analysis demonstrating the influence of banks and other significant players in the financial sector on censorship and sexual speech.

It should be noted that not all financial institutions or people discriminate financially against those who perform in adult entertainment. However, the difficulties and discrimination faced by performers in accessing financial services, stability, and opportunities are a result of the institutional biases, societal stigmatization, and industry dynamics discussed above. There will always be debate regarding sex work.

Financial discrimination against the sector affects more than simply its financial difficulties. It aids in the stigmatization and marginalization of those connected to the sector, both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, society promotes the idea that our industry is inherently illegal or unworthy of fair treatment by barring small companies from access to conventional financial services and placing further barriers. But fairness is essential. This social stigma not only has an impact on the participants’ financial well-being but also feeds the vicious cycle of prejudice and exclusion. The adult entertainment industry is gradually seeing notable measures to eliminate financial inequity emerge. A growing number of financial institutions and payment processors are eager to collaborate with firms in the adult industry and are beginning to understand the need for more inclusive rules. The Free Speech Coalition suggests a possible legislative solution.

The Fair Access to Banking Act was introduced by Republicans in Congress to codify the previous “Fair Access Rule” that was issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a relatively obscure division of the U.S. Treasury Department, during the administration of President Donald Trump. The Trump OCC established a rule known as the Fair Access to Financial Services Rule, which forbids the biggest banks in the country from refusing to lend money to some of the most contentious sectors, such as adult entertainment. According to Banking Dive, the law would have made it illegal for banks with more than $100 billion in assets to refuse any services to businesses in the problematic fields of energy production, the operation of private prisons, and the manufacture of firearms. However, the rule was revoked by President Joe Biden’s choice to head the office after Trump lost the 2020 election because of criticism from the banks and other groups who claimed the OCC overstepped its bounds.

The Free Speech Coalition supports the Fair Access to Banking Act. Despite the so-called “woke corporate cancel culture” that the legislation was intended to combat, trade associations including the National Pawnbrokers 

Association, the Blockchain Association, and the National Mining Association all support the policy. Other groups that don’t necessarily share the goals of the Free Speech Coalition, such as right-wing organizations like the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, also support the legislation.

There is interest in making sure that everyone in the nation has equitable access to financial resources, regardless of the sector or political agenda. We will continue to monitor the situation with financial discrimination against the global adult entertainment sector.

Read more from the Adult Business Consulting blog.

Adult Business Consulting thanks you for reading this blog post. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.


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