This may or may not be the first time you are hearing about BIN or IIN. BIN is a short word for bank identification number while IIN is an abbreviation for issuer identification number. The two words mean the same thing. BIN was first used to refer to the last 6 digit of every plastic card (credit, debit and gift card). But today, some prefer to refer to the number as IIN. This is because it is not only banks that issue credit/debit/gift cards. There are now other issuers of such cards that are not banks. American Express is a typical example of such institution. So, the term issuer identification number also incorporates such issuers but it can also be used interchangeable with BIN. But what does the number actually mean and how can it be of help to merchants? Read on to learn more.
How the numbering system works
The BIN/IIN numbering system helps card users and merchants to decode certain information about the card. For example, through a BIN lookup services, they will be able to find out the address of the cardholder and that of the issuing establishments. The first six digit of a card number is the BIN. The American National Standards Institute and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) created this numbering system as a means of finding out the organisation that issues a card. The first digit out of the six digits that make up a card number stands for what is known as MII which is an acronym for the major industry identifier. The MII of a card can be travel, airline and banking industry. The remaining five digits tell who the issuing institution is. For example, every plastic card issued by MasterCard and Visa starts with 4 and 5 respectively.
Of what use is the Bin to Merchant
BIN/IIN is useful to merchants when they are assessing and evaluating transactions before validating or authorizing it. A merchant will be able to find out the bank where payment or transfer is being made and contact details of the bank including their phone number. With a BIN checker, they will also be able to find out whether the device used for the transfer and issuing bank are from the same country. They will also be able to verify customer’s address. With the IIN, merchants are able to process multiple payments quickly.
A BIN lookup service will also help the merchant to obtain important information about a card. They will be able to tell the brand of a card being used (is it MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Verve and others), the card level (platinum, corporate etc.) and the type of card used by a customer (debit, credit, gift card).
These pieces of information obtained will help the merchant to identify fraudulent transaction. Today, credit card theft is on the increase. Many people are stealing other people’s card information in order to purchase with them. If the information provided by a card user does not match with what the BIN of a card shows, the merchant will be very careful with the transaction and may not approve it.