Merchant code for guns sales gets a thumbs-up

A brand-new code determining charge card sales of weapons and ammo has actually been authorized by the International Standards Organization, producing a possible course for card networks to assist police determine suspicious sales of weapons and ammo.

The relocation follows 3 years of research study and advocacy by New York-based Amalgamated Bank, dealing with Guns Down America, Giffords Law Center and other groups to discover methods to counter weapon violence without hampering legal weapon sales, Amalgamated Bank stated Friday in a declaration.

Merchant classification codes (MCCs) typically determine the kind of product a shop offers, however they do not define specific items a consumer is purchasing. So the relocation might have restricted impact in identifying specific weapon purchases, observers state.

Prior to Friday’s vote, there was no distinct merchant classification code for product cost weapon and ammo shops.


But including an MCC for gun-store sales might improve police’s capability to track illegal weapon purchases. Until now, there has actually been no distinct MCC for product cost weapon and ammo shops, with weapons sales at weapon shops usually categorized as “miscellaneous” or “sporting goods.”

Amalgamated Bank in 2015 started a series of applications to the board of the Switzerland-based ISO to produce a brand-new MCC for weapon and ammo sales. The proposition lastly got approval Friday in a vote by the company that sets international requirements for the four-digit MCCs utilized by credit and debit card networks.

“This code is the key to creating new tools that all financial institutions must now use to begin detecting and reporting suspicious activity associated with gun trafficking and mass shootings to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network,” Amalgamated Bank stated in its declaration.

Specifically, Amalgamated stated that including the MCC for weapon sales might assist fight “straw purchases,” where a person is compensated after acquiring a gun on somebody else’s behalf. The brand-new code might likewise assist in reporting numerous weapon sales, identify succeeding weapon purchases at various sellers and possibly assist banks to report abrupt, big purchases at guns sellers, the bank stated.

Earlier this month, the attorney generals of the United States of California and New York advised Visa, Mastercard and American Express to support including an MCC for weapon sales.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday praised the ISO’s choice.

“Today’s decision requiring credit cards to categorize gun sales is a big victory that will help us better address gun violence and avoid tragedies,” James stated in a declaration, thanking Amalgamated Bank for its management in the effort.

How and when the card networks might relocate to include MCC codes with merchants and processors is unclear.

“When ISO develops a new MCC, we follow our usual business practices and will work with our third-party processors and partners on implementation,” American Express stated in a declaration.

“MCC codes are one of many data points that help the card network understand the industries in which our merchants operate. 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,” Amex’s declaration concluded.

Mastercard decreased to supply a remark Friday, and Visa did not react to questions by due date.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

Related Articles

Back to top button