Culture Wars/Current Controversies

This bank wants to track suspect credit card sales of guns and ammo. Why can’t it?

By Jim Axelrod, Clare Hymes, Michael Kaplan CBS News

The credit card industry has blocked a novel effort to track suspect firearm and ammunition purchases, depriving law enforcement of a potential tool to identify and stop gun crime.

Documents obtained by CBS News show employees from domestic and international credit card companies, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express, pushed back on an application to create a merchant category code for firearm and ammunition sellers.

The application was first submitted in July 2021 by the New York-based Amalgamated Bank, and was twice denied by the International Standards Organization (ISO), which sets standards across the financial services industry. The documents show that the credit card industry employees were part of an internal committee within ISO that recommended the application’s rejection. The ISO told CBS News the credit card companies only advised the committee and did so in a “personal capacity.”


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