Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover have decided to halt the development of a new merchant category code (MCC) for American gun merchants, citing opposition from Republican lawmakers.
The proposed MCC was intended to indicate where firearm purchases are made, but not disclose details on the specific products bought.
The card companies had previously agreed to implement the MCC after the International Organisation approved it for Standardisation. This move was in response to calls from gun-control advocates, who argued that the code would aid in tracking suspicious weapon purchases.
However, the proposal has faced significant resistance, with Republican-led states introducing bills prohibiting or limiting the voluntary code’s use. As such, gun merchants don’t have to worry about implementing the new code just yet.
In a statement to Reuters, Visa noted that “there is now significant confusion and legal uncertainty in the payments ecosystem, and the state actions disrupt the intent of global standards. Accordingly, Visa is pausing implementation of the MCC.”
Meanwhile, Mastercard’s SVP of Communications, Seth Eisen, told Fox News that “today, bills are advancing in several states related to the use of this new code. If passed, the result will be inconsistent in how this ISO standard could be applied by merchants, issuers, acquirers, and networks. For that reason, we have decided to pause work on implementing the firearms-specific MCC.”
The decision by the major credit card companies to halt the development of the MCC for gun merchants is likely to be welcomed by gun rights advocates, who had raised concerns that the new code could be used to target legal firearm owners unfairly.
However, gun-control groups are likely to view the decision as a setback in their efforts to tighten regulations on the sale and distribution of firearms. That opposition has received support from various gun merchants throughout the United States.
The pausing of work on the new merchant category code by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover results from significant opposition from Republican lawmakers.
While the proposed MCC was intended to aid in tracking suspicious weapon purchases, concerns have been raised that it could unfairly target legal firearm owners.
The decision is likely to be viewed differently by different groups, with gun rights advocates welcoming it, and gun-control groups seeing it as a setback in their efforts.