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Author: Amanda Wagner

Big Changes for Accepting MasterCard – Action Required

There are some important changes coming to MasterCard this year regarding their BIN ranges and it affects any business that wishes to accept their card types.

What is a BIN range? BIN stands for Bank Identification Number and it’s the first six digits on a credit card that is used to identify the specific bank that issued the card and to route each sale correctly.

Why is this important? Coming soon in 2017, MasterCard is introducing a whole new BIN range starting with the number 2 (222100-272099). Traditionally all MasterCard credit lines have started with the number 5 so this will be a huge update for all types of softwares, point-of-sale (POS) systems or terminals that want to accept this very popular card type. If a system cannot identify this new valid BIN range, the card will reject and loss of sale/customer is at risk along with potential penalties from MasterCard.

What do I need to do? In preparation for these new BIN ranges from MasterCard, all merchants must review their payment systems to ensure the latest updates are installed by June 30, 2017. Doing this will allow the new MasterCards to be accepted at your business without incident. Follow specific direction below for your environment:

  • Virtual Terminal through Wind River – if you utilize a virtual terminal through Wind River such as TrustCommerce, NMI or Paytrace, no action is needed – all updates have already been completed to accept the MasterCard BIN ranges.
  • Terminals – In the case that a business is operating on an older terminal (“End of Life” Equipment/No longer manufactured), you will need to replace it. If you are unsure, contact Wind River and we can either order you an updated terminal or simply update the software inside the terminal if applicable. Please call us at 1-800-704-7253 x6828 to discuss.
  • POS or Software – If you work with a POS or specific software at your business, contact your reseller to verify that your system will be able to support the new MasterCard BINs.
  • E-Commerce – If you accept payments through your website contact your shopping cart provider or your website provider.

We want our clients to avoid any potential fines from MasterCard at all costs so if you are unsure on next steps or simply have a question, please call and speak to one of our Relationship Managers at 1-800-704-7253 x6828 or email us at info@windriverfinancial.com. We’d be glad to help walk you through your options. For more information regarding this change from MasterCard, please visit MasterCard’s website directly here.

Wind River Helps the Y to “Play It Forward”

At Wind River Financial we believe it’s important to be an active part of our community whether it’s giving our time volunteering or participating in local charity events. Each year we look to support local efforts that are in line with the goals and values of our family business. That is why it was important for us to participate as one of this year’s “Play it Forward” sponsors of Madison’s Zimbrick Family Eve event. Zimbrick Family Eve is a popular New Year’s Eve family-friendly celebration that started 25 years ago as “Firstar Eve.” It’s become one of Madison’s time-honored community celebrations in that it includes activities and entertainment for everyone to enjoy on New Year’s Eve.

 As a Play it Forward sponsor, Wind River Financial was tasked with giving away 150 tickets to the Zimbrick Eve event. We wanted to choose a local partner that is both family-orientated and supports children’s programs which is why we immediately thought of the YMCA of Dane County. Knowing how much The Y has done for our community by promoting programs that support active and healthy lifestyles for children and families, it was an easy choice donating our tickets to their cause.  Currently the Y is promoting their Y5210 healthy living guidelines for kids which is an awareness program branded at the YMCA and growing rapidly in popularity and success throughout schools in the US. The program’s goal is to encourage children to have the following daily: 5 fruits and veggies, no more than 2 hours of screen time, at least 1 hour of physical activity and 0 sugar sweetened drinks.  Wind River strongly identifies with the goals of the Y5210 program and other programs the YMCA is currently promoting to help kids be active and live a healthier lifestyle.  We believe together we can help make a difference, one child at a time.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration this year, look no further than Zimbrick Family Eve. The event takes place at Monona Terrace and KEVA Sports Center and will include a circus area, animals from Henry Vilas Zoo, Glen Gerard Magic Shows, Bubble Wonders and so much more! The event starts at 5pm and goes until 9pm. For more information, check out Zimbrick Family Eve online at zimbrickfamilyeve.com.



WindLinks Tips & Tricks

Wind River has developed a new reporting tool – WindLinks – so you can access account data when you need it. You may have seen our communications via email, and if not, click here to view our video highlighting the features of this system.

WindLinks is your online access point for merchant statements, transaction details, business trends and much more. As you log into WindLinks and familiarize yourself, we will send some tips & tricks from time to time. Here is your first one!

How Can I Look up a Previous Customer’s Transaction?

WindLinks has many different parameters you can search under. Perhaps you have only the last 4 digits of the credit card # or only know the date and amount of the transaction. All these search options and more are available now under the WindLinks Processing Data Tab (See Below).

Step 1) Select the Processing Data Tab located on the top left hand corner of your screen and scroll down to select “Transaction Search.”

Step 2) Enter data into any of the fields to find your transaction by either date range, first 6 or last 4 digits of the credit card number, authorization number or transaction amount.

Note: Not all fields need to be entered in, but the more specific the search details, the more likely you will be able to find the particular transaction you are searching for.

We hope this tip proves helpful the next time you need to look up a customer’s past transaction at your business. For more questions, please email us at info@windriverfinancial.com.

Did I Charge My Customer Twice?

Do you have a lot of customers claiming you have charged them twice? You check your sales for the day and find you were only paid once, so what is your customer talking about? Dig a little deeper. Are you also experiencing duplicate authorizations, reject batches and/or “Communication Errors” on your credit card terminal? Could these issues be connected?

Here’s What’s Going On

Your analog phone lines may have gone digital. Many telecommunications companies are transitioning from analog phone lines to digital lines or VoIP (Voice over IP). Perhaps you have recently upgraded your phones, changed service providers or purchased software for your service center. All these changes could have impacted your phone lines, which directly affects the way your analog credit card terminal communicates.

Digital phone lines have trouble consistently communicating with analog equipment such as credit card terminals creating more static on the line and consequently dropping communication during a customer’s credit card transaction. This causes the customer to sometimes see two attempted charges on their online credit card statement from when the sale was originally being transmitted, and again after it was momentarily interrupted due to static or incompatibility with the digital phone lines.


New credit card terminals now come ready to process over an internet line connection. These terminals use a standard internet cable (cat5) to plug right into your modem or router at work. Processing credit card sales over internet lines vs analog or digital phone lines is not only faster, but also more efficient since you do not have to tie up or pay for an extra business phone line. Also, you can say goodbye to static and communication errors and therefore the issue of possibly charging your customer twice. Lastly, with the upcoming shift to chip cards, these new terminals also come equipped with chip card readers ready to accept your customers new and more secure chip cards as well as Apple Pay Payments.

Interested in learning more or taking advantage of upgrading your payments environment to a faster and chip card capable solution? Email us at info@windriverfinacial.com to learn more about how to upgrade to a new internet ready terminal!


Reduce Risk from Data Breaches with 12 Main Security Requirements

Amidst the recent credit card breaches in the news from Target last year to Home Depot last month, it’s more important than ever to make sure your credit card data environment is secure at your business. As you may already know, back in 2004, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) put together a Security Standards Council to create a set of controls, including 12 main requirements, which businesses are to implement in order to properly protect credit card data.

Collectively, these control objectives and requirements are known as PCI DSS which stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. All major credit card companies including VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have mandated that merchants and service providers who store, process or transmit cardholder data must demonstrate how they follow these 12 main requirements and their sub requirements.  Failure to do so may result in fines or termination of credit card processing privileges.

The main goal of PCI DSS is to reduce business risk of these ever-present data breaches and cybercriminals. The hard facts are that one in five small businesses falls victim to cybercrime each year. The US’ National Cyber Security Alliance found that some 60% of those small businesses go out of business within six months after an attack.

So, how can you get started on protecting your business? A great place to begin is by taking a look at the 12 high-level security requirements below to understand how your business can begin reducing risk. Then make sure to sign onto Wind River Financial’s PCI Partner Program to complete your annual security questionnaire and start protecting your business today!

PCI DSS 12 Main Requirements

  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
  2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
  3. Protect stored cardholder data.
  4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks.
  5. Use and regularly update antivirus software.
  6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
  7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.
  8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access.
  9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data.
  10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.
  11. Regularly test security systems and processes.
  12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security.

For a more robust explanation of each requirement along with all the sub requirements and standards, check out the PCI DSS Security Standards Council’s official requirements guide here.

As always, if you have any questions accessing your PCI Security Questionnaire or if this is your first time logging onto our PCI Partner Program, please give us a call at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4 to speak directly to one of our Relationship Managers or email us at info@windriverfinancial.com.

It is only natural that Wind River would bring the water!

It's only naturalIt’s been full steam ahead for Orchard Ridge Elementary School’s garden project! Since their application was accepted last spring, the ORE GROW team has been planning and preparing for the big build week.

One of the goals from the very beginning of the project was to make sure that all students would not only be included in the garden, but lead the project. On May 22 and 23, that goal came to life when Orchard Ridge students constructed a school garden that they planned and designed themselves.
Each selected school receives money from Madison Community Foundation (MCF) towards their outdoor classroom/garden build and technical/program support, expert resources, and complimentary sustainability workshops from the Grass Roots / Outdoor Wonder (GROW) Coalition.
Orchard Ridge Elementary School was extremely fortunate to also receive a monetary donation from Wind River Financial to cover the costs of installing a necessary water source near the school garden grounds.
All students and staff as well as families and community members were invited to be a part of the actual build days. The build was a student led event with adults taking the backseat. With ratchets, wrenches and buckets in hand, all 380 students participated in the build on both days: preparing the site (digging, excavating, raking, marking, laying cardboard), building raised beds and Leopold benches, laying mulch, filling beds with soil, planting seeds and transplanting seedlings from classrooms. The build was a very successful and moving event. All of the students saw all of their planning and preparations coming together into one large community project. They all saw their responsibility and place within the grand project.



Are you like most businesses who receive several calls a day from merchant service providers vying for your credit card business? Have you run out of things to say or have they called enough times to get you to listen? It’s a very popular time of the year for merchant processors to come out of the woodwork, and what better way than to educate yourself with the right questions to ask to be the best advocate for your business!
Let’s start with the FACTS:

Fact: Credit Card rates are confusing. There are over 900 different card types from VISA, MasterCard and Discover alone.
Fact: There are so many variables that impact rates – and they, along with the regulations that govern them, seem to be changing constantly.
Fact: There are merchant processors that try to use this confusion to their advantage.

To an untrained eye, many processing offers can appear very attractive. That’s where your education comes in. To protect you from the common marketing schemes that target the untrained eye, we believe it’s best to educate yourself on these five important questions and demand that the answers be put in writing. Armed with the answers to these questions below, you will avoid falling for the most common of schemes.

5 Important Questions to Ask
1) Have you disclosed all of the rates that apply to my specific situation: interchange, assessments, equipment fees, set-up fees, installation fees, cancellation fees, PCI-related fees, mark-ups? Always request a complete fee list including one-time, monthly AND annual fees.

2) Is your pricing structure bundled? Make sure you don’t fall for the “simple” fee structures that promote flat rates by hiding fees within other fees(bundling) making it impossible to reconcile your statements.

3) When will my rates change? Be weary of falling for special introductory rate schemes or solicitors who use the words “never” in regards to price changes in the future.

4) Is a contract required? What are the terms of buying out of the contract if I ever want to leave?
WATCHOUT: Do not fall for leased equipment. You may not be in a contract with the processor, but you are in a contract via their leased equipment which usually costs a business more than triple the original cost of buying the device.

5) Is there a plan to keep credit card data safe & secure? Be very weary of any processors that do not stress the importance of a PCI program AND those that do not help facilitate your compliance.

Asking these smart questions will put the solicitor on notice that yours is not an untrained eye! Also, it gives you the information your business needs to ensure your payments program is in good hands. Want to take advantage of our trained eye? At Wind River, we offer no-cost analysis of competitor bids to help evaluate offers you receive. As your partner, we won’t be offended and will be glad to guide you through the process to protect your business from these common schemes. Give us a call today!

Check out our new video illustrating these exact tips and more at our After the Handshake Channel.

Proof of our Promise: After the Handshake

How do you set yourself apart in an industry that is trending more and more towards commoditization and little towards service and customization? How do you stand out as a business of trust, integrity and service in an industry wrought with mistrust, little integrity and non-existent service?  Too often, businesses are asked to believe promises on blind trust when it comes to a credit card processor. At Wind River, we strive to set ourselves apart and rise above the industry average with our unique After the Handshake 7-point service promise. Recently, we received validation of our promise through an independent study of 225 local businesses that found us to be “Southern Wisconsin’s Leading Payment Processing Partner,” and we would like to share with you some of the exciting results!

The blind survey, conducted by Matousek & Associates out of Green Bay, scored processors on 19 service attributes. Business managers were asked to score their processor on a 1-7 scale for those 19 performance measures. Not only did Wind River clients express greater satisfaction on all 19 of these measures than non-Wind River clients, but in many cases, by significant margins! Some of our highest marks came from the attributes of Trustworthy 6.77/7.0 or 97th Percentile and Customer Service 6.63/7.0 or 95th Percentile, which directly echo our service promise, and my role.

Personally, as a Relationship Manager at Wind River, it felt good to receive these results. Every day, we make an effort to be an advocate for our clients in an industry that is not always clear cut. The fact that they appreciate that extra service we offer as part of our After the Handshake promise, such as proactively monitoring transactions and regularly reviewing their program, makes me feel that I’m doing my job. Some of the measurements that really resonated with me were the high marks on Involvement in the Local Community and being seen as a Partner instead of a Vendor, because that is what sets us apart. Many national processors that are headquartered across the country will contract sales associates in strategically placed geographic areas for a short period of time to make it appear that they have a local presence, but Wisconsin businesses know the difference, and this survey proves it.

See for yourself how other business owners rank Wind River by reviewing the survey results. You now know how much this survey resonates with us, but it’s more important that these results ring true with all of our clients. Let us know which of these attributes are most important to you and your business. Thanks to those businesses that may have participated in the survey and for being “The Most Satisfied Merchants in Southern Wisconsin.” Thank You!

Is a Virtual Terminal for you?

You may have recently received an email about upgrading your “end of life” equipment. Have you thought about other options besides another stand alone terminal? The Virtual Terminal is a great option for processing credit cards, getting advanced reporting, all in a secured environment.

Click here for a demo of a Virtual Terminal from one of our preferred providers.

Feel free to contact your Relationship Manager today at 1-800-704-7253 if you are interested in learning more about the products we have to offer.