Video: Bin Lengths to Increase

While change is a constant in the payments industry, it's not always easy.  

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Increased BIN Lengths to Affect Entire Industry

Jun 27, 2017

Video: Bin Lengths to Increase

While change is a constant in the payments industry, it's not always easy.  Some changes require extensive planning, preparation, reconfiguration and just a lot of hard work. The upcoming Bank Identification Number (BIN) or Issuer Identification Number (IIN) increase is one of those changes.

What's changing

The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) is re-writing the standard determining the length of BINs, expanding them from the current six-digit structure to eight digits. Account numbers will likely expand to 19 digits.

BINs or IINs are within the standardized numbering scheme used for financial institutions who assign unique account numbers to their customers, and ISO manages these numbers to ensure BINs stay unique and to ensure interoperability in the ecosystem.

Why expansion is necessary

The depletion of available BINs is serious business, and increasing their length will solve the problem caused by industry growth, underutilization of capacity within a BIN and the increase in product segmentation. Although the expansion changes won't fully take place for another three to five years, industry experts are already recommending that financial institutions and other issuers begin preparations now to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for cardholders.

Other payment brand changes

MasterCard® and American Express® have also announced upcoming changes to BINs. MasterCard will begin issuing "2" series BINs to its issuers in 2017. This will affect financial institutions and merchants. American Express has also announced changes to its BIN sequence, offering "34" in addition to their current "37" account ranges, effective Oct. 1, 2015.

Industry-wide changes like these can be overwhelming, but with planning and coordination now, in advance of the changes, issuers, acquirers, merchants and processors can be successful and even seamless in the transition. And our industry must remember that these changes affect every stakeholder in the payments ecosystem – and most definitely will impact your cardholders.