Major Credit Cards Will Track Gun Shops
Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and American Express will add a new merchant category for firearm retailers. This is a victory for gun-control advocates who have been pressuring the financial industry to do more to help curb mass shootings. The new merchant-category code was recently approved by an international entity that sets standards for the payments industry.
Merchant-category codes or MCCs are four-digit numbers that networks use to identify types of merchants by the goods and services they sell. Card networks assign specific codes to many kinds of specialty merchants such as fast-food restaurants, bars and bicycle shops. Until now gun shops were often categorized as specialty retailers or durable-goods sellers. The new code is for retailers whose primary business is firearms sales. Big-box retailers that sell guns have different MCCs. At this point it is unclear if or how information gathered from the new code would be shared with law enforcement.