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Payments giants to enforce new code identifying sales at US gun stores

Visa Inc, the world’s largest payments processor, said on Saturday it would implement a new merchant category code for U.S. gun retailers that will identify transactions at gun stores. .

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on Friday approved the creation of the dealer code following pressure from gun control campaigners who say it will help track suspicious gun purchases.

“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 Visa in a press release.

Mastercard Inc said on Friday that following the ISO’s approval, “we are now focused on how it will be implemented by merchants and their banks as we continue to support legal purchases on our network while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders”.

American Express Co said that when ISO develops new code, the company will work with third-party processors and partners for implementation.

The code will indicate where an individual spends money, but not what items were purchased.

Several prominent US pension funds, including those for government employees in New York and California, had submitted shareholder resolutions asking payment companies to speak out on the issue.

Some gun rights activists fear the new code could lead to unauthorized surveillance.

Mass shootings this year, including at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 children and two teachers, have added to the long-running American gun control debate.

US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to pass an assault weapons ban as well as $37 billion for crime prevention programs, including $13 billion to hire and train 100,000 more police officers over the next five coming years.

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