The first digits of a credit or debit card that identifies the bank that has issued the card. The first four to six digits are used for this purpose. Each bank uses a separate set of numbers that allow it to be identified in just seconds.
For example, when you make an online purchase, you will be asked to submit your bank details. After only submitting the first four to six digits on your card the retailer will be able to determine which bank issued your card as well as what type of card it is (Visa/Mastercard etc).
Other organizations also use bank identification numbers, such as American Express. It isn’t uncommon for the term issuer identification number (IIN) to be used interchangeably with bank identification number. The inclusion of a BIN or IIN helps avoid cases of identity theft, fraud and other security breaches. This is accomplished by comparing data from the BIN and card account holder.
The bank identification numbering system was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) together with the American National Standards Institute as a way to identify the institutions that issue credit, debit and other types of bank cards. When looking at the BIN, the first digit identifies the industry or card network. For example, a 1 indicates the airline industry, while a 4 indicates Visa. The following five digits identify the bank or other financial institution that issued the card and is guaranteeing payment. The BIN helps merchants assess and evaluate payment card transactions.
The inclusion of the BIN helps the merchant and payment network quickly identify all the crucial information from the card, such as the bank that issued the card, including the address and phone number of the bank. It also identifies the country of origin of the bank, and verifies the address information of the cardholder. The BIN allows merchants to accept many different types of payments, and speeds the processing of electronic transactions.