What Is A Bank Identification Number?
A Bank Identification Number is used to identify fraudulent transactions Learn how to find the BIN and use it to protect your business.
As a small business owner, there’s a good chance you handle credit card information for your customers on a regular basis. You might know what a CVV2 number is, who the different credit card providers are, and how to protect your customers’ information, but do you know what a Bank Identification Number (BIN) is?
Read on to learn more about BINs, how to identify them, and how they are used.
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What Are Bank Identification Numbers?
Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) are also known as Issuer Identification Numbers (IINs).
The BIN or IIN is the first four to six numbers of the 16-digit number on a credit card, debit card, gift card, electronic benefits card, or charge card. These numbers are used to identify the issuer of the card.
The BIN numbering system is managed by the American National Standards Institute (a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains business standards in the US) and the International Organization for Standardization (an international group that creates standards for various industries, including the financial sector).
The first number of a BIN identifies the major industry and the other numbers identify the financial institution that created the card.
What Are Bank Identification Numbers Used For?
BINs are used for various purposes, including:
How To Find Your Bank Identification Number
Finding your BIN is simple. Look for the 16-digit card number embossed or printed on the front or back of the card. The BIN is the first four to six digits of this number.
The first number of the card identifies the major industry that your card is primarily used for. Most cards will start with 3, 4, 5, or 6 because these numbers are set aside to be used mostly for banking and other financial industries.
Cards that begin with 1 or 2 are primarily used in the airline industry, 7 is reserved for the petroleum industry, 8 is for healthcare or telecommunications industries, and cards starting with a 9 or 0 are used for the International Organization for Standardization or other national standards bodies.
Here are the major issuers of cards and the numbers that they use:
- Visa’s BINs begin with a 4
- American Express’s BINs start with 34 and 37
- Mastercard’s BINs start with 2221-2720 or 51-55
- Discover’s BINs start with 6011, 622126-622925, 624000-626999, 628200-628899, 64, or 65
No one expects you to memorize those BIN ranges, but they could come in handy when trying to determine the issuer of a card your customer may have used to make a purchase.
Because possible 4-6 number BIN combinations are running out, 8-digit BINs are being used more and don’t impact the length of the entire card number.
How Can You Protect Against Bank Identification Number Fraud?
The downside to the formulaic nature of BINs is that it’s possible for hackers to use known BINs and then randomly generate the last numbers of the card. Hackers will create thousands of fraudulent cards and begin testing them online to find an actual card number that works.
Now that you know more about BINs, you’ll be able to spot potential BIN hackers. Keep an eye out for:
- Multiple Small Transactions: Large volumes of smaller transactions that are unusual for your business could be a sign of a hacker testing all of their cards.
- Multiple Declines: Multiple declines may indicate that someone is using your eCommerce site to test card numbers.
- Large Amounts Of Transactions: If your business is receiving more transactions in a short period of time that doesn’t make sense (you haven’t just started a sale, released new products, your website is back up after being down, etc.), this could be a sign of fraud.
Essentially, if you keep an eye on your transactions, you’re going to be able to get ahead of any fraudsters trying to use your site to determine what fake cards they can use elsewhere.
The Bottom Line On Bank Identification Numbers
BINs are an important part of our current economy. Now that you know a little more, you should be able to move forward with confidence knowing that you can detect potential fraud more easily.
Want to know more about business banking? Merchant Maverick has you covered! Start with learning why you need a business bank account. Then, we make it easy to help you choose the best bank for your business and open a business bank account. Good luck!