Amalgamated Bank, based in New York, N.Y., had its application to establish a merchant category code for credit card purchases of firearms and ammunition denied for a second time recently in by the International Standards Organization. CBS News reported on June 20 that the firm believes with the designation, “… it could run software to detect purchases in the same way it detects evidence of other suspicious activity, like fraud and human trafficking.”
With the code law enforcement would be notified if a purchase or purchases met the as-yet undisclosed standard. “We could see the patterns of behavior that would indicate to us that there is something not right here," Priscilla Sims Brown, Amalgamated Bank CEO, told CBS News.
The initial application for a new code was submitted by Amalgamated Bank in July 2021 and denied that October. A member of the review committee at the time explained part of the concern was assigning a number to a relatively small number of retailers could prove burdensome to a system already inundated with designations.
In addition, the denial e-mail explained, sporting goods stores already have a unique code. Firearm and ammo purchases at one of them would fall under that designation and never be subject to the software inspection. Efforts to establish a code specific to firearms and ammunition purchases were also in the headlines three years ago.
Mastercard issued a formal statement to CBS News explaining, “We believe that it is the responsibility of elected officials to enact meaningful policies to address the issue of gun violence, while it remains Mastercard’s role to ensure that consumers are permitted to make lawful purchases on our network.”
Amalgamated Bank markets itself as “America’s Socially Responsible Bank.” The company’s About Us page explains, “We’re political animals, banking hundreds of progressive political organizations, campaigns and candidates.”
Banking institutions, by law, are required to maintain most financial records for a minimum of five years.