Visa, Mastercard, American Express to categorize gun store purchases separately

Visa, Mastercard and American Express plan to categorize purchases from gun stores separately after the International Organization for Standardization approved a new merchant category code for the retailers. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

Sept. 11 (UPI) — Major credit card companies announced plans to categorize purchases at gun stores separately.

Visa on Saturday announced on Saturday it would join Mastercard and American Express in implementing the new practice for firearms purchases after the International Organization for Standardization approved a new merchant category code for gun and ammunition stores when processing transactions.

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our longstanding rules,” Visa told Bloomberg in a statement.

The new merchant category code — a four-digit number that credit card companies use to classify businesses — will apply to all purchases at gun and ammunition stores. Purchases of firearms and ammunition at other retailers, however, will not be categorized separately.

Mastercard said it would observe how the system will be implemented by merchants and their banks while continuing to “support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders.”

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

The ISO’s decision came following lobbying from Amalgamated Bank, New York city and state officials and the California teachers’ pension fund.

“When it comes to guns falling in the wrong hands, we must find upstream solutions before we’re faced with downstream consequences — because downstream consequences are lost lives,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference last month urging the credit card companies to adopt the code.

“When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores.”


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