Strings of numbers are used for different facets of everyday life. These categorical numbers are often unique to a person, place, telephone, credit card, and so on. However, when you have a limited string of numbers, eventually you will run out of unique variations. For instance, telephone numbers have an area code which help bucket phone numbers.
The 3-digit area code allows for 7.9 million unique telephone numbers; but as more people move into an area and register new phones, eventually you run out of unique variations. Thus, you would need to create another area code to accommodate newly registered phones.
The same is true of credit card numbers, more specifically, the credit card Bank Identification Number (BIN).
A BIN, otherwise known as an Issuer Identification Number (IIN), is the first four to six numbers of the 16-digit personal account number (PAN) that identifies the issuing bank, the card network (Visa, Mastercard, etc.), and so on. The BIN also identifies which type of card is being used (debit, credit, corporate, etc.). BINs are updated daily which allows point-of-sale (POS) software to automatically identify the type of card being processed.
Transitioning from 6 to 8-Digit BIN
Currently, card issuers are using the first six digits of the PAN for BIN ranges; but, the allotted number strings in that range are running out. Therefore, the BIN is being expanded to accommodate eight digits of the PAN instead of six.
To address the limitation of available numbers that can be used in a BIN, BIN is expanding to eight digits. Visa and Mastercard have both committed to implementing 8-digit BINs by April 2022. After April 2022, the payments industry will be operating with both 6 and 8-digit BINs. Card issuers are not required to use new 8-digit BINs because some of them still have a usable range of 6-digit BINs. These companies might not use the 8-digit BINs for a few years or until their supply of 6-digit BINs runs out.
However, all new cards released after April 2022 will include an 8-digit BIN, while International Card Schemes will only be issuing 8-digit BINs. As such, both 6 and 8-digit BINs will continue to be supported. Contact your acquirer for more information on how to accept and manage both 6 and 8-digit BINs.
Preparing for the BIN Expansion
In anticipation for the BIN expansion, you should contact your card acquirer to better understand what this change means for your business. For example, customer receipts might need to be adjusted to accommodate 8-digit BINs. Other actions you can take are:
- Updating POS hardware/software
- Reviewing chargeback handling
- Reviewing fraud management systems
- Updating security tools
- Reviewing how you accept payments with 6 and 8-digit BINs
Multiple companies are getting ready for the 8-digit BIN including Kount.
Kount is preparing its services to accommodate the BIN expansion and provide compliance to the subsequent revised PCI DSS requirements. Kount customers that incorporate sending 8-digit BINs will be able to see additional card details in the Agent Web Console (AWC) and reports, including issuer name and prepaid card indicator. Customers will also see additional BIN attributes when creating rules in the AWC.
Kount customers will have the option to send 8-digit BIN to receive accurate BIN issuer information. If a customer chooses to continue sending 6-digit BIN, the accuracy of BIN matching results might decrease. To offset this possibility, Kount is integrating an enhanced BIN lookup to improve matching rates (coverage) and accuracy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will fees change when accepting cards with an 8-digit BIN?
Ask your card acquirer for more information about associated fees with 8-digit BIN.
Will card numbers be longer than before?
No. The 8-digit BIN is included in the existing card number; therefore, the PAN will continue to have 16 digits.
Will 8-digit BIN change how we use 3D Secure?
3D Secure 1.0 does not support 8-digit BINs. EMV 3D Secure is the minimum requirement to support 8-digit BIN numbers.
When will the BIN change for acquirers?
The acquirer reference number (ARN) is generated during a card payment transaction. The ARN is a 23-digit number with a check digit at the beginning and is followed by the BIN for the acquiring bank or processor. This BIN is not subject to change.
Will the new 8-digit BIN affect my compliance with PCI DSS?
There have been no recent updates to PCI rules concerning the number of digits that are required to be removed with storing card data.