Gun Purchases To Be Tracked By Discover

( According to an exclusive report in Reuters last month, Discover Financial Services confirmed that its credit card network would begin to separately track gun purchases starting in April by using the new merchant code specifically for gun and ammo retailers. 

Last September, the International Organization for Standardization (IOS), which determines the classifications of merchant categories used by credit cards, approved the launch of a dedicated classification code specifically for gun and ammo retailers, ostensibly as a way to help authorities investigate gun-related crimes. 

The Geneva-based IOS said the new “5723 – Gun and ammunition shops” code would be available for financial institutions at the end of February. According to a representative, the decision to use the new code has been left up to the financial institutions, Reuters reported. 

With its announcement, Discover becomes the first credit card company to move forward with the initiative. 

Supporters of the move argue that the new classification code will enable financial institutions to help law enforcement investigate gun-related crimes in the US. However, opponents argue that the move violates the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens. 

Discover will include the new gun sale-specific code in its April policy and product update to payment partners and merchants. 

In a statement to Reuters, Discover explained that even with the new code, it would continue to support lawful gun purchases and the privacy rights of cardholders on its network. 

According to Reuters, a spokesperson for Discover confirmed that other payment processing companies had already decided to implement the new code in April and Discover was simply following their lead. However, the spokesperson refused to say who those other credit card companies are. 

Discover handled only 2 percent of the credit card purchases in the US last year. Visa made up the bulk of credit card transactions in 2022, with 61 percent, followed by Mastercard (26 percent) and American Express (11 percent). 

Reuters followed up with Visa, American Express, and Mastercard to see if they were also implementing the new code. However, they refused to say if and when they would be introducing it.