New payment card technologies, including tokenization, are forcing Mastercard to break out a new set of BINs (bank identification numbers).

The card network this week will begin supporting 16-digit account numbers on Mastercard products that start with the numeral 2, joining the company’s array of cards that until now solely began with the number 5, according to Mastercard executives.

"Tokenization has put a lot of pressure on the BIN supply," Tania Baptista, Mastercard’s vice president of U.S. product delivery, told attendees at the Western States Acquirers Association’s annual meeting in Scottsdale on Sept. 15.

The move is necessary because the BINs assigned to card networks by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are running short, and each is making adjustments as necessary.

Acquirers are already well on their way to testing and supporting 2 Series BINs, but merchants needed a little more time to get ready, so Mastercard has rolled back its compliance date for merchants to June 30, 2017 from the original date of January 2017, Baptista said.

“We heard feedback from acquirers and processors that they would need a little more time to get point of sale deployments ready, so merchants now have a little more time,” she explained, noting that Mastercard first announced plans to add the 2 Series BINs in late 2014.

Mastercard products with the 2 Series BIN will work exactly like the 5 Series cards, Baptista noted. The actual block of BINs extends from 222100 to 272099, and it will double the supply of BINs available to the company, she added.

Demand for BINs has been brisk, as each new card product or bank issuer requires its own new BIN, according to Baptista. “By doubling our BIN supply we’ll be ready to support whatever new products come along, including digital and electronic (card) numbers,” she said.

Processors must prepare platforms to accept the 2 Series cards, which could mean making system adjustments, and ISOs and resellers also may need to update their software to accommodate the change, Baptista said.

Mastercard is providing support for all industry participants through its website and via direct inquiries, and the network expects to begin issuing the first 2 Series cards early next year, with broader distribution beginning around the middle of 2017, she said.

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