Every plastic card is identified by a group of number called primary account number which is commonly referred to as the card number. The PAN comprises of different parts described by ISO/IEC 7812 which is a document of International Organisation for Standards. The PAN generally contains information about the card owner and issuer of the card. Each part of the card gives a unique type of information. The BIN is the part of the primary account number that contains information about the issuer of the card.
Overview of the BIN
The BIN of every card number consists of six digits (there are some brands and types of card that has four BIN). They are normally the first set of digits that appear on the primary account number. It is initially called bank identification number commonly known for its acronym BIN. But nowadays, plastic cards are not issued only by banks. There are other institutions like the American Express that issue plastic cards. Thus, some people prefer to call this part of the PAN Issuer Identification number (IIN). The two terms are now used interchangeably. The BIN does not only apply to credit cards. Other plastic cards such as debit, charge, prepaid, electronic benefit and gift cards also have BINs.
What records does the BIN contain?
As hinted above, the IIN is the part of the card that contains information about the issuer of a plastic card. Each issuer identification number tells you the name of the issuer, the location of the issuer, the brand and type of card you are using. For example, if a consumer is making paying for orders with a credit card, the merchant will be able to find out from the BIN of the number.
Plastic cards can be issued by a number of industries including airline, travel and banking industry. The number that specifies the industry that issues a card is called the Major Industry Identifier (MII). It is usually the first digit of a IIN. For example, the first digit of all MasterCard’s BINs is 5 while those of a Visa is 4 indicating that they are issued by different industries. The remaining five digits (three digits) of a BIN contains records about the issuer as well as the brand of card you are using.
How does the BIN work?
Developed by the International Organisation for Standardization in collaboration with the American National Standards, the BIN helps businesses to find out the bank the money paid to them is being taken out from. They are also able to find out the phone number and address of the bank. Having this information helps merchants to control credit fraud. The merchant will match the information provided by the consumer and the one contained in the BIN. If the card is used from a location and address different from what is contained in the BIN, there may be some issues with the transaction. The BIN also verifies if the amount of the money in the card is up to the selling price of the item being paid for. This process is very quick.
BIN checker is software that contains a database of BINs which helps merchants to obtain the detailed information contained by BINs of plastic cards used to make payments by their customers for the purposes of matching them and spotting out inconsistency which signal fraud.