Financial institutions

Credit card code that would allow financial institutions to report unusually large arms sales is approved

A credit card categorization code that could improve tracking of gun sales has been approved by an international panel that sets standards for the payments industry, according to New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Amalgamated Bank.

The International Organization for Standardization, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has approved the bank’s request for a merchant category code for firearms and ammunition stores to be used when processing transactions, according to the Amalgamated and Lander press releases. A merchant category code is a four-digit number used by credit card companies to classify businesses. It usually indicates the types of services or goods sold to consumers.

The group’s decision came after a pressure campaign from officials at Amalgamated, New York City and state, as well as the California teachers’ pension fund. The city’s pensions for teachers, civil servants and school administrators last week filed shareholder proposals with Mastercard Inc. and American Express Co. urging credit card companies to create the new code.

The California Teachers’ Retirement System sent similar letters to Mastercard, American Express and Visa Inc.

Creating the new code would be a key step in allowing financial institutions to flag unusually large purchases at stores over a short period of time or multiple purchases at different retailers, Lander said. In his role, he is an investment advisor to New York City’s $250 billion pension fund.

“I am pleased that ISO has voted to advance a key step to avert the next tragedy,” Lander said in a press release. “American Express, Mastercard, Visa and other credit card companies are now responsible for implementing the new Merchant Category Code, so financial institutions can do their part to report suspicious activity and save lives. .”

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