What’s in a Number?
MasterCard announced in late 2014 what might seem like a trivial change but one that might involve a lot of work in the payments industry later this year. Historically you could identify a MasterCard by the starting digit 5 with all MasterCards issued in the BIN (Bank Identification Number) ranges of 510000-559999. Anticipating that these BIN ranges will be exhausted MasterCard announced that they will issue cards in the range 222100-272099.
This change comes into effect from the October 2016 compliance update with shiny new MasterCards starting with a 2 expected to be in wallets in 2017. At face level it’s not such a big change but consider that nice eCommerce payment checkout that doesn’t ask you for your card type any longer but now highlights MasterCard if you enter a 5, or VISA if you enter a 4.
So a couple of lines of code are needed to now also highlight MasterCard if you enter a 2. Simple right, but what about the terminal in the cornershop that may not have been touched in years. Will it be able to support a card with a MII (Major Industry Identifier) of 2? If it’s a legacy terminal will the retailer end up turning away customers if they can’t accept the card or will they need to upgrade?
If you’ve travelled to different countries you may have seen in stores multiple terminals, I saw this recently in Malta although the second terminal was for Amex transactions and the other used for VISA/MasterCard. However in certain markets there are different processors for VISA and MasterCard so now the staff need to know to swipe/dip the card starting with 2 in the MasterCard terminal.
All part of the fun and games in the payment industry!