What is a Bank Identification Number?

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What is the Bank Identification Number
A bank identification number, or BIN for short, is the first set of numbers you’ll find on your credit card. A BIN indicates which institution issued the card in the first place.

On all the credit cards you own, you’ll have noticed the long set of numbers on the front. This is often referred to as the credit card number, and it’s what you input whenever you buy something online. Each set of numbers, however, has a special significance beyond simply separating one credit card from another. Right now, we’ll focus on the first set, which is called the bank identification number.

Looking at the Bank Identification Number

So what is a bank ID number exactly? A bank identification number, or BIN for short, is the first set of numbers you’ll find on your credit card. For most cards, the BIN will be anywhere from four to six numbers in length. A BIN indicates which institution issued the card in the first place. Every institution which issues cards will have a unique number associated with it. That’s the chief way transactions are matched to the correct institution.

BIN numbers are part of pretty much any payment card you see. Besides credit cards, they’re also part of debit cards, electronic benefit cards, gift cards, charge cards, and prepaid cards. Many cards not only include the BIN with the rest of the card number, they’ll also print it out directly beneath the large embossed numbers. The BIN is also encoded in the card’s chip or magnetic strip.

The bank identification number is sometimes referred to as the issuer identification number (IIN). People have been gravitating toward this term over BIN since plenty of institutions other than banks issue cards now.

You can break down the bank identification number even further. In fact, the first number in the BIN has special meaning. For example, if you have a card with a BIN that begins with the number “1”, that would indicate it is an airline card. A number “3” is for travel and entertainment cards. “4” and “5” is reserved for banking and financial cards. Those are just a few examples.

So in other words, the first digit represents an industry, while the first four to six digits put together will indicate a specific institution. And when you include the entire card number, you’ll have the number which identifies a specific account.

Why Bank Identification Numbers Are Important

Besides simply identifying the card’s issuing institution, bank identification numbers also serve a useful purpose in combating fraud and identity theft. The BIN is helpful in comparing data to make sure the person using the card is the one who actually issued it in the first place.

More Details About Bank Identification Numbers

Bank identification numbers don’t just come from nowhere. They’re part of a special numbering system that was put together by two organizations — the International Organization for Standardization and the American National Standards Institute.

With the BIN, merchants can quickly figure out where the money is coming from after a transaction. It also helps them identify which country the issuing institution is from and the phone number and address of that institution. In addition to that, the bank identification number helps to verify the address information the customer provides. This is all done almost immediately, speeding the transaction process. It also enables merchants to accept different types of payment.

So when a customer uses their card at a cash register or makes an online purchase, the merchant will almost instantly be aware of the issuing institution involved, the brand of the card, and much more.

Once a BIN is identified during a transaction, the issuer will then get an authorization request. This is to make sure that not only the card has the amount on it to pay for the transaction, but that the account is valid. This can all happen in the span of a few seconds.

On all the credit cards you own, you’ll have noticed the long set of numbers on the front. This is often referred to as the credit card number, and it’s what you input whenever you buy something online. Each set of numbers, however, has a special significance beyond simply separating one credit card from another. Right now, we’ll focus on the first set, which is called the bank identification number.

Looking at the Bank Identification Number

So what is a bank ID number exactly? A bank identification number, or BIN for short, is the first set of numbers you’ll find on your credit card. For most cards, the BIN will be anywhere from four to six numbers in length. A BIN indicates which institution issued the card in the first place. Every institution which issues cards will have a unique number associated with it. That’s the chief way transactions are matched to the correct institution.

BIN numbers are part of pretty much any payment card you see. Besides credit cards, they’re also part of debit cards, electronic benefit cards, gift cards, charge cards, and prepaid cards. Many cards not only include the BIN with the rest of the card number, they’ll also print it out directly beneath the large embossed numbers. The BIN is also encoded in the card’s chip or magnetic strip.

The bank identification number is sometimes referred to as the issuer identification number (IIN). People have been gravitating toward this term over BIN since plenty of institutions other than banks issue cards now.

You can break down the bank identification number even further. In fact, the first number in the BIN has special meaning. For example, if you have a card with a BIN that begins with the number “1”, that would indicate it is an airline card. A number “3” is for travel and entertainment cards. “4” and “5” is reserved for banking and financial cards. Those are just a few examples.

So in other words, the first digit represents an industry, while the first four to six digits put together will indicate a specific institution. And when you include the entire card number, you’ll have the number which identifies a specific account.

Why Bank Identification Numbers Are Important

Besides simply identifying the card’s issuing institution, bank identification numbers also serve a useful purpose in combating fraud and identity theft. The BIN is helpful in comparing data to make sure the person using the card is the one who actually issued it in the first place.

More Details About Bank Identification Numbers

Bank identification numbers don’t just come from nowhere. They’re part of a special numbering system that was put together by two organizations — the International Organization for Standardization and the American National Standards Institute.

With the BIN, merchants can quickly figure out where the money is coming from after a transaction. It also helps them identify which country the issuing institution is from and the phone number and address of that institution. In addition to that, the bank identification number helps to verify the address information the customer provides. This is all done almost immediately, speeding the transaction process. It also enables merchants to accept different types of payment.

So when a customer uses their card at a cash register or makes an online purchase, the merchant will almost instantly be aware of the issuing institution involved, the brand of the card, and much more.

Once a BIN is identified during a transaction, the issuer will then get an authorization request. This is to make sure that not only the card has the amount on it to pay for the transaction, but that the account is valid. This can all happen in the span of a few seconds.