A major US credit card company said it would introduce a new merchant category code for gun retailers in the country. Gun control activists say it helps flag potential shooters and gun traffickers.
The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization approved the code on Friday. The system categorizes sales at gun stores and ammunition stores separately, and proponents say it helps them track suspicious transactions in firearms and ammunition.
Visa, the world’s largest payment network, said in a statement on Sunday that it was “taking the next step” and “following long-standing rules to ensure that all legitimate commercial transactions on the Visa network are protected.”
American Express says it will work with third-party processors and partners to implement the code in accordance with normal business practices.
In a statement on Sunday, the company said it was “focused on ensuring proper controls are in place to meet regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities and prevent illegal activity on the network.”
Mastercard’s statement Saturday said recent bipartisan action in Congress was a positive step toward “meaningfully” addressing gun violence. Mastercard said it is focused on how merchants and their banks implement the system.
“We will continue to support legitimate purchases over our network while protecting the privacy and decision-making of individual cardholders,” Mastercard said in a statement. It’s exactly the same way we manage our MCC processes.”
Nearly all retail items have a Merchant Category Code prior to Friday’s determination by ISO. Gun store sales fell into the categories of general merchandise or sporting goods.
Merchant codes track where consumers use their credit cards, but do not flag specific items purchased.Gun rights activists believe the code unfairly monitor legal gun purchases.
“This is not tracking or preventing or any kind of goodwill. It’s about creating a national registry of gun owners,” the NRA said Sunday.
of The New York Times found In 2018, electronic payments were used to purchase guns and ammunition used in some of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings, including Aurora, Colorado, San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas.
Amalgamated Bank and some politicians (including) New York City Mayor Eric Adams When Senator Elizabeth Warren, put pressure on ISO to implement the code. Amalgamated officials said the financial company first submitted the code to ISO last summer.
Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Priscilla Sims Brown said: “The new code will allow us to stop questionable activities and illegal gun sales without hindering or impeding the sale of legal guns. We can fully comply with our obligation to report to the authorities.” press release Friday.