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February 23, 2023

Discover Becomes First Gun-Store Tracking Credit Card

By Larry Keane

Discover credit cards needs to go slogan shopping. The old ones won’t work now that the credit card financial services company has decided to go along with the newly-assigned Merchant Category Code (MCC) for purchases at firearm retailers.

Here are the past slogans that won’t work anymore.

  • It pays to Discover.
  • The Card That Pays You Back.
  • We treat you like you’d treat you.
  • Here to help. Not to sell.

Somehow, they all seem disingenuous now that Discover is selling out customers using their credit cards at firearm retailers.

Discover Financial Services announced it will begin using the new controversial codes in April. Reuters reported that Discover will become the first credit card company to use the specific code for purchases at a firearm retailer.

“We remain focused on continuing to protect and support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy of cardholders,” Discover said in its statement to Reuters. To date, no other credit card providers have announced they will adopt the new code.

Discover will track purchases at firearm retailers, but still won’t be able to see what is listed on the sales receipt. This was the brainchild of Andrew Ross Sorkin, a New York Times columnist who proposed that credit card companies and banks could play a pivotal role in ushering gun control outside of public policy channels.

‘Woke’ Banking Gone Wild

That idea of sidestepping Congress and state legislatures to have nameless and unaccountable Wall Street banking executives monitoring and even curtailing Second Amendment rights sounded too good to pass up for Amalgamated Bank’s CEO Priscilla Sims Brown. Amalgamated Bank, a “socially-responsible” bank, pressured the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the specific MCC to categorize firearm retailers. That’s the same bank that refuses to do business with anyone in the gun industry but bankrolls the Democratic National Committee and Political Action Committees including Biden-Harris Democrats, Ready for Hillary (which is Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC), Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) Warren Democrats and former U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) PAC, among others.

Real Clear Investigations writer Ben Weingarten exposed the bank for what it truly is. “As the New York Times said of Amalgamated, it is ‘the left’s private banker.’”

Amalgamated Bank pressured the ISO to adopt Sorkin’s firearm retailer MCC proposal several times. The first time was in October of 2021, but was rejected. Amalgamated Bank tried again in February 2022 but was unsuccessful. But the third time was the charm. Sims Brown was encouraged by ISO to apply yet again in June 2022, just as Democratic Sen. Warren sent a heavy-handed letter, signed by nearly 30 U.S. senators and Congressional representatives to payment processors pressuring them to get behind Amalgamated Bank’s “woke” MCC scheme.

In September of 2022, the ISO committee declined to endorse the proposed. But this time, on the very same day the proposed was rebuffed for third time the matter was appealed to Geneva, Switzerland, where ISO is headquartered. This immediate appeal did not follow ISO’s prescribed policy for appealing matters. On that same day, ISO reversed the decision and adopted the code.  This very unusual process by ISO raises serious questions about the politicization of ISO standard setting. It is something Congress should investigate.

Suspicious Undefined

“The new code will allow us to fully comply with our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities without blocking or impeding legal gun sales,” Sims Brown said at the time.

Suspicious activity is never clearly defined. That could be defined later since Sorkin openly said creating the codes is just “the beginning.”

Gun control advocates see this as the proverbial camel’s nose below the tent. NSSF warned that these heavy-handed backdoor intrusions into the free exercise of Second Amendment rights is alarming. Sims Brown and Amalgamated Bank, through an international standards-setting organization, is opening the door to see who is shopping at gun stores. Right now, they can’t drill down to see if a customer was buying a shotgun and ammunition or sleeping bags and a tent. NSSF is working with Congress, state legislatures and attorneys general to prevent this and protect the industry and those it serves.

The other large payment networks all announced back in September they will implement the code and will soon follow Discovery’s lead when they update their network rules.

Discover is the first credit card company to fall in line with this “woke” banking credit card code scheme. They’re just two percent of the credit card business, but they might want to use their own cards to buy new slogans. The old ones of promising not to sell out their customers no longer apply.


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