Every competitive modern business is set up to accept customer payments by credit card, and every business owner and high-level business operator realizes that credit card numbers are very important to the proper processing of payments. But do you know what card numbers actually mean and what the business implications are when an entire credit card brand makes card number changes?
MasterCard® has recently announced that it is creating a new Bank Identification Number (“BIN”) range. The BIN – sometimes also referred to as an IIN or Issuer Identification Number – is the initial six characters of a card number. BINs are important because they identify the issuing institution for the credit card account and ensure proper routing and authorization of each transaction.
The new BIN range will start with a 2, and will supplement the existing 5 series MasterCard® BIN range. To put it simply, whereas preexisting MasterCard® account numbers started with the number 5, some newer MasterCard® account number will start with the number 2. The effect of this change will be to approximately double the number of MasterCard® credit card numbers available worldwide, facilitating future payment industry growth.
MasterCard® has already started issuing the BIN 2 series in 2017. Businesses need to be able to accept the new BIN 2 series to be compliant with the terms publicized by MasterCard® and to avoid mistakes and delays in credit card processing. Failure by a merchant to accept a BIN 2 series might also subject the merchant to non-compliance fines.
Card issuers will have to upgrade their systems to ensure compatibility with 2-series BINs, and any business that accepts MasterCard® should analyze all systems involved in credit card processing to determine whether any changes will be required. For some businesses, a simple update from an appropriate software provider may be enough to facilitate compatibility with the BIN 2 series, although many businesses will have to implement enhancements to internally developed solutions.
A word of caution: some sales groups might improperly use the transition to the MasterCard® BIN 2 series to push equipment sales and/or to charge excessively for merchant processing services. Do not let false statements or scare tactics cost your business money.
The new MasterCard® BIN 2 series is a change in the status quo, but with the proper forethought and the right help, it is a change that your business should be able to accommodate with relative ease.