New York City pension urges Mastercard and AmEx to create merchant codes to track gun sales

Three New York City pensions filed shareholder proposals with Master Card Inc. and American Express Co urges credit card companies to improve tracking of gun sales.

According to a news release, the city’s proposal for pensions for teachers, civil servants and school administrators has required the boards of both companies to evaluate and publicly report their decision-making in relation to each other. involved in generating commercial codes for independent gun and ammunition stores. from the city controller’s office.

Merchant Category Codes, known as MCCs, are used by credit card companies to categorize businesses by the type of goods and services sold. Clothing, sporting goods, and vent vendors have specific MCCs, but independent gun and ammunition stores do not. The MCC was created by an industry council called the International Organization for Standardization.

Generating the new code would be the first step to allow financial institutions to flag unusually large purchases in stores over a short period of time or multiple purchases at different retailers.

Establishing such a merchant category code would be a step toward “preventing gun crime and saving lives,” Editor Brad Lander said in a statement. New information posted. “Unfortunately, the credit card companies didn’t support this simple, practical, life-saving tool.”

Seth Eisen, a spokesman for Mastercard, said ISO is looking into a separate MCC code for gun and ammunition stores.

“We’re looking at how it’s implemented and managed by banks that connect merchants to our network,” Eisen said. “This will help us continue to provide a payment system that supports all legitimate purchases while protecting the privacy and discretion of individual cardholders.”

Randi Friedman, a spokeswoman for American Express, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As CBS News reports, the shooter who killed 59 people at a Las Vegas country music festival in 2017 charged nearly $95,000 on a credit card for guns and ammunition the year before the attack occurred. . According to CBS, a man opened fire at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, putting nearly $26,000 on a credit card over 12 days.

Proposal to request Mastercard and American Express to provide reports on governance of MCC standards and to disclose and justify their views on any application to generate MCC codes for gun stores and ammunition. Neglecting or failing to mitigate risks could threaten shareholder value, says Lander.

New York City retirement funds for police officers and firefighters did not file a settlement. The city pension year oversees about $240 billion in assets.

The city pension is not among the top shareholders in the companies. But the three pension funds own 667,200 thousand shares in American Express worth about $92.49 million; 1.1 million shares in Mastercard worth about $347.59 million; and 1.85 million shares in Passport Inc. valued at about $363.86 million.

The pensions have not submitted shareholder proposals to Visa because the settlement deadline has passed, according to a spokesman for the audit agency.

The California Teachers Retirement System sent similar letters to Mastercard, American Express and Visa.

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