“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will move forward with the next steps, while ensuring that all legal commerce on the Visa network is protected in accordance with our long-standing rules,” said the payment processor in a statement.
The adoption of Visa is significant as the largest payment network and will likely put additional pressure on Mastercard and American Express to adopt the code as well.
Proponents of gun control had achieved important victories on this front in recent weeks. New York City officials and pension funds had been lobbying ISO and banks to adopt the code.
Two of the nation’s largest public pension funds, in California and New York, are lobbying the nation’s largest credit card companies to establish sales codes specifically for gun sales that could flag the suspicious purchases or more easily trace how weapons and ammunition are sold.
Merchant category codes now exist for almost all types of purchases, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, cafes and many other retailers.
“When you buy a plane ticket or pay for groceries, your credit card company has a special code for these retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who blames gun proliferation. for the murderous violence of his city.
City Comptroller Brad Lander said it makes moral and financial sense as a tool to address gun violence.
“Unfortunately, credit card companies haven’t supported this simple, convenient, and potentially life-saving tool. Now is the time for them to do so,” Lander said recently, ahead of Visa’s announcement.