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Credit Card Companies Updating Codes for Firearm Sales

Credit Card Companies Updating Codes for Firearm Sales

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The new codes will help in tracking suspicious gun and ammo purchases.

Last week, following approval from the International Organization for Standardization in Geneva, multiple major United States credit card carriers like Visa and Mastercard announced that they would be collectively enacting a new merchant category code for firearm and ammunition purchases in the United States.

Generally speaking, this new code will separately categorize sales from designated firearm retailers, including the precise items purchased and the amount spent. The idea behind this is to create a record of firearm purchases by suspicious individuals, which in turn will make it easier for law enforcement to flag individuals under suspicion of dangerous behavior like potential mass shooters or gun traffickers. Prior to this decision, firearm sales were categorized as either general merchandise or sporting goods.

Visa said that they will “proceed with next steps” in the near future “while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules.”

“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 in a statement.

“We continue to support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders,” Mastercard said in a statement. “This is exactly how we would manage the process for any other appropriate MCC, like a bicycle shop or sporting goods store.”

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