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New Merchant Code Approved for Card Purchases of Guns, Ammunition

A worldwide standards body has approved the creation of a merchantcategory code for gun retailers to recognize charge card sales of guns and ammunition.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)a non-governmental body located in Geneva, Switzerland that creates standards across various industries, like the financial services industryhas approved the newmerchant category codefor gun and ammunition stores, in accordance with a Sept. 9announcementfrom Amalgamated Bank, aNew York-based bank thathad put on ISO for the merchantcategory code.

The approval occurred at a gathering on Sept. 7, ISO confirmed to Payments Divewithin an email. A subcommittee of the business approved the code, an ISO spokeswoman told Reuters.

Merchant category codes comprise four digits and so are used to classify retailers across various industries.

The approval from ISO enables banks that process payments from gun retailers to choose if they should assign the brand new category code to gun merchants. The code may help monitors track in which a person spends money via card, but wouldnt show what specific items were purchased.

Currently, credit card issuers classify retailers with other merchants as either 5999: Miscellaneous shops or 5941: SHOE Stores, in accordance with CBS News.While a fresh merchant category for firearm stores has been approved, it doesnt have a code value assigned at this time, lately Sept. 9.

Amalgamated Bank, which calls itself Americas socially responsible bank, said that its decision to push for creating the brand new code may be the consequence of nearly 3 years of research and partnership with issue experts at Guns Down America and Giffords Law Center and broad support from elected officials, pension funds, among others across the USA.

Amalgamated Bank was founded by union workers nearly 100 years back.The bankfirst tried to use to generate the gun merchant code in July 2021, however the application have been denied twice by the ISO, and it applied again for the newmerchant category code in June this season, reported CBS News.

Bank Urges Card Companies to look at New Category Code

Following ISO approval, Amalgamated Bank is calling for credit card issuers that typically follow the ISO standards to implement the brand new merchant category, nonetheless it is unclear if the companies will adopt it.

Priscilla Sims Brown, the president and CEO of the lender, said on Sept. 9: Most of us want to do our part to avoid gun violence.Also it sometimes starts with illegal purchases of guns and ammunition.

The brand new code allows us to totally adhere to our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities without blocking or impeding legal gun sales, she said in a statement. This step answers the decision of an incredible number of Americans who would like safety from gun violence and we have been proud to possess led the broad coalition of advocates, shareholders, and elected officials that achieved this historic outcome.

The lender in its release announcing the approval of the brand new merchant code also shared separate statements from multiple NY officials and lawmakers who support the move, includingNew York Gov. Kathy Hochul,NY Attorney General Letitia James,NEW YORK Mayor Eric Adams,NEW YORK Comptroller Brad Lander, NY State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, andNew York State Rep.Chantel Jackson.

A coalition of national gun violence prevention groups including Guns Down America, Giffords, Brady, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violenceissued a joint statement applauding the approval of the brand new code, saying that your choice paves just how for credit card issuers to help police preempt mass shootings and firearm trafficking by identifying suspicious patterns of firearms and ammunition purchases via the code for the 9,000 federally licensed firearms dealers across America. A few of the nations worst mass shootings, including Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; Orlando; and NEVADA involved electronic payments, they noted.


Some groups have criticized the ISO approval. Mark Oliva, themanaging director for public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a U.S. trade association for the firearms industry, told THE GUTS Square that the codes creation was flawed on its premise.

Those that believe it can help police usually do not provide information on what is highly recommended suspicious purchases, Oliva told the outlet.

He separately told Gothamist: This decision chills the free exercise of constitutionally protected rights and does nothing to aid police with crime prevention or holding criminals accountable. Attaching codes specific to firearm and ammunition purchases casts a dark pall by gun control advocates that are only thinking about disarming lawful gun owners.

Lars Dalseide, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), thelobbying arm of the gun rights advocacy group NRA, told THE GUTS Square: Implying that firearm purchases are suspicious demonstrates a clear bias these attorneys general hold against anyone who chooses to exercise a simple constitutional right.

Creating specific charge card codes for firearms lays the groundwork for a de facto firearm registration. Suggesting otherwise is either shortsighted or deceptive,Dalseide added. The real travesty is that New Yorkers and Californians must continue facing the violent criminals pushed back on the streets because of both of these attorneys general reckless soft-on-crime policies.


Congressional DemocratsSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) previously announced on Sept. 2 they reached out to the CEOs of MasterCard, American Express, and Visa, seeking support for the creation of the brand new merchant category code also to request information regarding their reported opposition to Amalgamated Banks application for this type of code.

The politicians cited a written report from CBS Newsin June having said that that it had obtained documents that show employees from domestic and international credit card issuers, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, pushed back on a credit card applicatoin to produce a merchant category code for firearm and ammunition sellers.

Following ISOs approval of the brand new merchant category code, a spokesperson for Mastercard told outlets: we have now turn our focus to how it’ll be implemented by merchants and their banks once we continue steadily to support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders.

This is often how exactly we would manage the procedure for just about any other appropriate [merchant category code], such as a bicycle shop or shoe store, the Mastercard spokesperson said.

An American Express spokesperson said that whenever ISO develops a fresh code, the business works together with third-party processors and partners on the implementation.It is very important remember that [merchant category] codes are among the many data points that help us understand the industries where our merchants operate, the spokesperson told outlets. We have been focused on making certain we have the proper controls set up to meet up our regulatory and fiduciary responsibilities, along with prevent illegal activity on our network.

Visa has yet to issue any public statements on the problem lately Sept. 9.

Mimi Nguyen Ly


Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a concentrate on U.S. news. Contact her at

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