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What is the real end game with the new SIC Code for Firearms?

ISO, the organization in Switzerland that makes up the codes for individual business types that are used around the world, and by the card brands, to identify specific business types, has issued a new code for Firearms/Guns.

When the news first broke, I was a bit shocked that there wasn’t immediate blowback, but then I started reading the announcements:

 Zero Visibility: Visa Inc. warned that a new system that gun-control advocates are saying will limit mass shooting will not have the desired effect. The reason is that when a transaction is run it does not contain data about what exactly was purchased so there is ZERO visibility as to what the cardholder is purchasing and this information is not included in the transaction data.

 Surveillance: The NRA slammed the credit card company code for tracking purchases at U.S. gun shops, claiming the government is going to ask the card brands for that data to “create a national registry of gun owners.” However, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander was quoted in an article in Business Insider, saying the move would help financial institutions flag suspicious activity at these stores and help save live.

 Privacy concerns: MasterCard announced that it would protect customers/card holder privacy while focusing on how it will be implemented by merchants and their bank as we continue to support lawful purchases on our network per Reuters.

 Crime prevention: American Express said in a statement that they will meet regulations and work to “prevent illegal activity on our network” according to Bloomberg.


Let’s think this through

Many businesses have specific SIC codes and some even require the merchants to register with the card brands and pay a yearly fee.

Why the government wants to come up with this and think it is going to work is beyond my comprehension – this is just kicking the can down the road, What they should be doing is coming up with real reform and consistent registration processes that would be countrywide instead of state by state and also make sure that private gun sales are registered as well and at gun shows. This issue could be resolved if they thought about more like a business idea than doing work arounds.

I believe the real reason they want this SIC code is not for the purchases, In my personal opinion I think that government and other groups that are anti-gun will pressure banks – namely the card issuers – to block this SIC code, which could be blocked by the card issuers.

This SIC code could result in a cardholder going into a gun shop or online and making a purchase and the card would be declined. Ultimately, it could also force these businesses to accept more cash, install an ATM, or use other alternative payment methods in order to do business.



Allen Kopelman

CEO, Nationwide Payment Systems

Allen Co-Founded Nationwide Payment Systems Inc. in 2001, with the plan to sell credit card processing services and equipment to merchants in the South Florida area and provide concierge style service for each client.

The entrepreneurial bug started early in Allen’s life as comes from a family of business owners and learn about business from early age behind the cash registers at his father’s clothing stores in Miami. Later going to Culinary School in Atlanta and being a Chef, in Hotels, Country Clubs, his own restaurant and catering company.

The company started and quickly grew, products were added, processing banks and the company became laser focused on technology that would help merchants. In 2021 the B2B Vault – The Payment Technology Podcast was launched.