BINs are changing from 6 to 8 digits

Things are about to change in the card world with the BIN mandate, so we have pulled a little information together to help on what a BIN is, why it is important, and why the shift to 8-digit BINs is happening.

What is a BIN?

A Bank Identification Number (BIN) is a term used to reference the first set of numbers that appear on payment cards. This is generally 4 to 6 numbers and is used to identify the institution that issues the card. BINs are key in the process of matching transactions to the issuer of the charge card.

Why are BINs important?

BIN ranges are crucial for the payment process because they not only allow merchants to accept multiple forms of payments quickly, but they also help merchants assess their card transactions. This provides merchants with real-time analytics with their BIN ranges to identify theft or fraud.

Merchants can determine other crucial information from the BIN range of a payment card as well, such as their card mix which can help in understanding the cost impact of interchange based on the types of cards they accept.

Why is there a push to change to eight-digit BINs?

The main reason for the change to 8-digit bins is due to an insufficient number of BINs available with only a 6-digit range. Simply put, the card industry is running out of 6 numbers with which to continue providing secure BINs. To ensure a sufficient supply of BINs for the future product, card brands are looking to evolve to an 8 number format for all future BINs.

Visa and Mastercard have already begun the transition, and