benefits of Bank Identification Number (BIN)

Benefits of Bank Identification Number (BIN) In Financial Transactions

Last updated on May 9th, 2024 at 09:24 am

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Bank Identification Number (BIN) is the first six to eight digits on a credit or debit card, which can be found either on the front or back of the card.

Also known as Issuer Identification Number (IIN), the BIN is used to identify the financial institution that issued the card. It plays an important role in global financial transactions.

All major issuers of credit cards such as Discover, American Express, Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, and Capital One have BINs that can be used to identify them.

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The first digit is called the Major Industry Identifier (MII). The IIN is followed by the primary account number (PAN) while the last digit is the Luhn check digit.

Identifying Your BIN

The first character of the BIN is called an industry identifier. For instance, 4 or 5 belong to financial institutions. Other sectors such as hospitality, airlines, and entertainment have numbers associated with them.

The first digit in a BIN is called the major industry identifier (MII). Cards that belong to the MasterCard payment network often start with a 5 or 2 while cards that belong to the VISA payment network usually start with a 4. The number 2 is assigned to the airline and financial sectors, and the numbers 4 and 5 are assigned to the banking and financial sectors.

All 14, 15, 16 or 19 digits in a card number make up the primary account number (PAN). The PAN identifies the card issuer and the account that supports the card.

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Visa and MasterCard began rolling out eight-digit BINs in 2022 to alleviate the shortage caused by the global expansion of payment cards. While traditional six-digit BINs still exist, they are no longer being issued by payment networks.

Issuer IINCard Number FormatCard TypeCountry Issued
5586605586 60XX XXXX XXXXDebitNigeria
5243375243 37XX XXXX XXXXCreditCanada
5366135366 13XX XXXX XXXXDebitNigeria
4788294788 29XX XXXX XXXX XXXXCreditUnited States
5289425289 42XX XXXX XXXX XXXXCreditUnited States

Here’s a hypothetical example of the different digits that make up a card number:

5303 60XX XXXX XXXX

5501 76XX XXXX XXXX

In this example, 530360 and 550176 are the six-digit BIN. The first digit is the MII, indicating the industry of the card issuer. In this case, 4 appearing as the first digit means the card issuer is in the banking and financial industry. The remaining five digits of the BIN tell us the card is tied to the Visa payment network and is issued by Capital One.

The first nine digits following the BIN represent the account number. The final digit is known as a check digit or checksum, which verifies the card number has been accurately used in a transaction.

BIN Lookups

There are several BIN lookups platforms that online merchants may use to check and validate transactions.

Similarly, the holder can use IIN lookup to check the details of their card, including scheme/network, brand, bank, country, and card type. You can get these details by entering the first 6-8 digits.

The BIN will reveal the following information:

  • Issuing Bank
  • Card Brand: MasterCard or VISA?
  • Card Type: Credit or Debit?
  • Card Level
  • ISO Country Name: United Kingdom or United States?
  • ISO Country A2: DE for Germany, US for United States of America etc
  • ISO Country A3: GBR for Great Britain while ARE is for the United Arab Emirates etc
  • ISO Country Number: 124 for Canada, 036 for Australia, 710 for South Africa etc
  • Issuers Website
  • Issuers Contact
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Who manages BIN?

The ISO Register of Issuer Identification Numbers database is managed by the American Bankers Association. ABA is the Registration Authority for this standard and is responsible for allocating IINs to issuers.

How It Helps To Detect Financial Theft

When using your card for online transactions, the BIN provides useful information in terms of KYC to identify potential cases of financial theft by comparing the data obtained from the BIN to the cardholder’s information

For example, when you make an online purchase and enter your card number, the online retailer can identify the bank that issued the card and its location. By cross-referencing this information with the location provided in your profile, the retailer can verify the authenticity of the transaction.

In most cases, every financial institution that issues debit or credit cards provides specific codes you can dial or a certain code you can send if you misplace or lose your card, or if you suspect that your details have been compromised. This enables you to promptly deactivate the card to prevent unauthorized use.

Additionally, every account holder who applies for and receives a credit or debit card has that card associated with their account number. This facilitates contacting your bank, providing them with your account details, and tracking your credit card to deactivate it in case of loss or misplacement

Use Cases

In the United States, IINs are used in the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, (NCPDP) pharmacy claims to identify processors, and are printed on all pharmacy insurance cards.

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The benefits of a Bank Identification Number are:

1) They can be used as a security measure to protect consumers and merchants, who engage in online financial transactions.

2) BIN enables credit card machines and online payment platforms to identify the account from which the money needs to be debited.

3) It helps to determine some specific information about an account, including the geographical location of the country, bank, and financial network. All these happen within a few seconds when using your card to carry out a transaction.

4) Online transactions will be impossible without the BIN. That is, you can omit the first six or eight digits of a card when using your card to make an online purchase.

5) It helps to identify the person engaging in the transaction.

6) It helps raise red flags when the country of issue is different from where the card is being used, this is to protect the holders.

7) It helps to protect both merchants and consumers in cases of credit card theft.

8) If a transaction is suspicious, IIN helps to decline it.

9) It helps to prevent the loss of money due to fraudulent activities.

10) It can help merchants with changes such as decline rate and give them insight on transaction resolution to scale up sales.

And finally, the BIN can also be used to target specific customers with high purchasing power. For example, clients with platinum cards are considered high purchasing power clients and may be targeted for exclusive deals that require higher spending thresholds.

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