A credit card bin is a bank identification number (BIN). This credit card bin number is usually embedded in the credit card and provides information about the financial institution that has issued that particular credit card. Today, it is not just banks that issue credit cards. A credit card bin has become a very important piece of information in so far as proper identification of a credit card goes. Both BIN (bank identification number) and IIN (issuer identification number) refer to the same thing – credit card number.
No two credit cards can have the same numbers
There are six digits that form the first part of a credit card number. These numbers make up the credit card bin number. The remaining credit card numbers are then used for identifying the account that relates to that particular credit card. Both the first six numbers of a credit card bin and the remaining numbers are unique to a credit card and this ensures that no two credit cards can have the same set of numbers. The last digit is referred to as a check digit which helps in verifying and securing the credit card.
Importance of first digit
The first digit of the credit card bin is called a Major Industry Identifier which indicates the general industry to which the issuer belongs to. For example, digits (in the credit card bin number) one and two help to identify the issuer as being part of the airline industry. The number three refers to travel/entertainment industry and six refers to a bank or other merchandiser which can be a retail store card. The number seven identifies the card as one that belongs to the petroleum industry. The number eight means that the issuer is from the telecommunication industry while nine and zero refer to other kinds of issuers including the government.
Second to sixth digits
The digits 2 to 6 which form part of the credit card bin number point to a particular institution that belongs to a particular industry. It is possible to identify an industry from the just one BIN/IIN or from a string of numbers in the credit card bin number. Other digits in the credit card bin number can be used to identify the card as being a gold credit card or even a platinum credit card or as a debit card, corporate card, gift card or other card type.
With just the first six digits of a credit card, it is possible to create millions of combinations each of which can become a unique credit card bin number. At present there are about one hundred and ten thousand different credit card bin numbers that have been identified by Bank Information Numbers Database which is an online service that deals with such matters.
If a particular credit card belongs to a particular brand, it will have a small number of digits at the beginning that help in identifying it. If the brand relates to VISA, then the first digit will be the number four. For MasterCard, the digit used at the beginning of the six digits credit card bin number is anything from fifty one to fifty five. On the other hand, credit card bin number for American Express is any number from thirty four to thirty seven.