A BIN, or bank Identification number, identifies the financial institute that issued a credit card (the issuer). The first set of digits of a credit card’s PAN (primary account number) consist of the BIN. The BIN can be up to 8 digits long. The BIN provides merchants with additional information. As well as the issuing bank, the BIN also includes information on the card brand, country of origin, the card’s level (business, platinum etc.) and card type (pre-paid, gift, credit etc.). The BIN is also referred to as IIN, or issuer identification number.
The first digit of the BIN is the major industry identifier (MII), which indicates the type of institution that issued the card (e.g. 4 or 5 indicate banking and financial institutions).
Knowing the BIN can help merchants route a transaction to a suitable provider and inform their risk management strategy.
- Routing the transaction to a payments service provider with acquiring capabilities in the country of origin increases the chances of the transaction being authorized while reducing processing fees.
- Merchants can verify that the country of origin matches the IP and billing address of the customer - cards being used for online purchases outside the country of origin can be an indicator of potential fraud.
- Some merchants are restricted in who they can offer services to based on their geographic location. For example, a gambling site with a license for Austria may want to reject all payments from cards issued outside of the country.