moyen de paiement : femme qui tient son porte-feuille et une carte bancaire dans ses mains
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Credit card payment: The eight-digit BINs

The explosion in the number of banks and payment institutions worldwide has led to a shortage of available BINs. To counter this, a new Bank Identification Number (BIN) format standard has been introduced. From April1, 2022, the Visa and Mastercard networks will introduce the 8-digit BIN.

The extension of the BIN requires all players accepting online and/or physical payment by bankcard to comply. Let’s take a look at the reasons behind these new regulations and what they mean for you.

What is the Bank Identification Number (BIN) code?

Each bank card bears a series of 13 to 16 digits, known as PAN (Primary Account Number), which correspond to the account number of the paying customer. Among these numbers is the card issuer identification number (INN or BIN), which identifies the card-issuing bank. These are the first 4 to 6 digits of the PAN.

BIN allocation is carried out by BIN sponsors, companies approved by the banking supervisory authorities and members of the Visa and Mastercard networks (scheme), which are able to receive and allocate card numbers, before transmitting them to banking institutions.

As a result, a BIN can only belong to a single card issuer. However, it can have several BINs, each corresponding to a category of card activity (individuals, corporate, debit, credit, etc.).

How does BIN work?

At the moment of online payment, or when the physical card is swiped, the BIN is analyzed in order to route and authorize the transaction. This process uses an algorithm to summarize the card’s digits, before authorizing payment.

The Bank Identification Number (BIN) is used by Payment Service Providers (PSPs) such as CentralPay to authorize transactions and combat fraud. This number can also be useful for merchants in managing customer loyalty programs or reporting, for example.

Why introduce the 8-digit BIN?

Today, the meteoric rise in the number of banks and payment institutions has led to a shortage of available Bank Identification Numbers (BINs). For this reason, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has introduced a new standard to extend the BIN format from 6 to 8 digits: ISO/IEC 7812-1.

The world’s leading card issuers Visa and Mastercard will introduce the 8-digit BIN from April1, 2022.

Bank card with 8-digit BIN

What will the 8-digit BIN change for you?

This format change will have an impact on merchants who have access to their customers’ card numbers, and those who apply specific BIN-based collection rules. These processes have an impact on transaction routing, card issuer identification for the calculation of Card Scheme Fees, reporting, and so on. However, if you do not use any rules or processes based on the BIN or card number, the BIN change will have no impact on you.

As a merchant, from the moment you accept online and/or physical credit card payments, it may be advisable to check your acceptance rules with the new 8-digit BIN system. Compliance must be effective by the deadline (April 2022). In the opposite case, you could experience a drop in sales, for example due to rejected cards, depending on the implementation date.

What do you need to do?

As a CentralPay customer, you don’t need to do a thing. CentralPay has updated its solutions to identify and authorize 8-digit BINs, since early 2022. This change has no impact on you.

If you use another PSP or integrated software solutions, please contact your payment service provider or Eftpos terminals supplier. It will tell you if any steps need to be taken to accept 8-digit BINs.

Additional information:

  • Even if the BIN is changed to 8 digits, the PAN will not be lengthened and will therefore retain its 16 digits.
  • The 8-digit BIN will not affect the PCI DSS.
  • Visa and Mastercard will redistribute BINs among card issuers. Some will have the same 6-digit BIN, but increased by 2 to 8 digits. For others, the BIN will be slightly modified or completely renewed.
  • The changes outlined in this article concern only the Visa and Mastercard networks for the time being. The other major card brands (American Express, UnionPay, Diners Club/Discover…) have not yet announced their timetable for the introduction of the 8-digit BIN, although this should not be long in coming.

To find out more about the VISA changes, click here!

To find out more about the Mastercard changes, click here!