American credit companies use new merchant category code to track gun sales

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Major American Credit companies including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are taking measures to introduce a new merchant category code that should improve the process of tracking gun sales.

This step comes as the International Organization for Standardization approved the use of a new merchant category code for gun and ammunition stores to use when processing transactions.

The approval came after a pressure campaign from Amalgamated bank, New York City and state officials, and California’s teachers’ pension fund and city pensions for teachers urging the credit-card companies to create the new code.

“Following the ISO decision to create a new merchant class code, Visa will continue to take further steps, while ensuring that legitimate trade conducted through the Visa network is protected per our rules,” Visa said.

For its part, MasterCard said, “We will focus on how merchants and their banks implement the new system and we continue to support legal sales made through our network and protect the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders.”

The merchant category code is a four-digit number used by credit card companies to classify businesses, which usually refers to the types of services or products sold to consumers. 

This new code will apply to all sales at guns and ammo stores, however, it will not include gun sales made at other types of retail stores.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said that creating the new code would be a key step in enabling financial institutions to flag and report suspicious activities by merchants, which will help save lives.

However, only time will tell how credit card companies, banks that issue cards to consumers, as well as others that handle transactions will implement the new code.

“We are focused on ensuring that we have the right controls in place to meet our regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities, as well as prevent illegal activity on our network,” American Express said.

Source: Bloomberg 

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