The MasterCard credit and debit card network is one of the largest in the world. With more than 190 million cards in circulation, MasterCard has more than 20 percent of the market share in its particular industry sector. The global information network that connects all issuers of MasterCard credit and debit products is called Banknet, and it is built on a robust technology platform that makes transactions happen at millions of merchants and financial institutions around the world.
Banknet has been in operation since 1997. The technology hub of Banknet is located in St. Louis, and it is based on the virtual private network (VPN) protocol. This network can handle more than two million secure transactions per hour, a feat that is accomplished through more than 1,000 data centers that act as endpoints, which are located around the world.
In the days before Banknet, MasterCard payment authorizations were processed in about 650 milliseconds. These days, Banknet is able to deliver an authorization request to the issuer and back to the merchant in just 120 milliseconds. The main technology partner of Banknet is AT&T, and the network enjoys 100 percent availability and reliability thanks to its unique architecture, which is based on a peer-to-peer protocol that routes transactions to various endpoints. The Banknet data centers are equipped with dual router technology that provide redundancy and automatic activations of backup services in case of unexpected downtimes.
Banknet’s architecture utilizes asynchronous data transfer, which allows the regulation of bandwidth in accordance to demand. This bandwidth-on-demand function is crucial to regulate the capacity of the system at peak times such as during the holiday shopping season. Banknet also provides a transaction research service for chargeback requests; this feature makes it possible for card holders to get approved chargebacks in just a few hours instead of having to wait several days.
The Banknet hub and data warehouse is one of the most robust data centers in the world. Issuers and analysts can conduct research on payments and retail transactions by accessing the 80 terabytes of data stored at the Banket facility in St. Louis. The clearinghouse system operated by Banket is a complex set of applications that take up more than a million lines of code. When changes or updates are made to Banknet, testing is accomplished by handling 30 million practice transactions before it is implemented.