Voice of the Industry

Unlocking the power of BIN data

Tuesday 11 June 2024 09:55 CET | Editor: Irina Ionescu | Voice of the industry

Albert Drouart, CPO and co-founder of Pagos Solutions, discusses the significance of Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) data in optimising payment strategies and enhancing customer insights.

Every payment card your customers use to make purchases from your business includes a bank identification number (BIN). These BINs are far more than just the first set of digits on those cards; they are invaluable pockets of data about the cards in question and the customers they belong to. In this guide, we will delve into the significance of BIN data, why it matters to businesses like yours, and how incorporating it into your payment strategies can get you one big step closer to true payments optimisation.


Understanding BINs: the backbone of payment cards

Every payment card carries a unique primary account number (PAN), the first 6-10 digits of which is known as the BIN (though it’s increasingly common for BINs to be eight digits). Every BIN holds vital information about the card itself, including the card issuer, card type, and so much more. BINs are the DNA of payment cards — they provide essential insights that businesses can leverage to optimise their payment processes and enhance customer experiences.

The data contained within a single BIN can count for:

Learning about your customer

  • Issuing bank name

  • Issuing country

  • Card segment type (consumer vs. commercial)

Learning more about the card itself
  • Card brand

  • Card product name and ID

  • Prepaid or reloadable card functionality

Learning how to best process associated translations
  • Details about customer authentication requirements

  • Indicator of whether the card can be used for online gambling

  • Indicator of whether the card supports tokenization or is eligible for Level II or Level III data

A clarification on BIN ranges

Card brands issue BINs in ranges, and all BINs within a particular range will have the same characteristics. As such, when you use a BIN lookup service to pull the data for a BIN, you will return two important fields— bin_min and bin_max— identifying the associated BIN range.


Unlocking strategic insights with BIN data

BIN data can supercharge any payments optimisation strategy by empowering you to make informed decisions. Analysing BINs allows businesses to:

Tailor payment processing strategies in real time
  • Route BINs issued in particular regions or countries to the most favourable payment service provider (PSP) to ensure higher approval rates

  • Restrict non-reloadable prepaid cards from purchasing subscription services/products to avoid non-sufficient fund (NSF) declines

Reduce costs
  • Routing transactions through lower-cost networks when possible

  • Identify when customer cards qualify for Level II and Level III data, so you can provide this data and face lower interchange costs

  • Perform complex cost analyses of your historical payments data

  • Block the cards you don't process (e.g. healthcare cards, fleet cards, cards for debt-paying services) from being sent to the processor

Enhance customer experiences
  • Personalise checkout experiences to individual card types

  • Help customer troubleshoot payment issues associated with their specific card type/brand/issuer

  • Cater to customer payment preferences with precision

Navigating the shift to eight-digit BINs

For a long time, the standard length of BINs was consistently six digits. In response to industry advancements and demand, however, payment networks have transitioned to generating BINs with eight digits. This started in 2017 with a revision to the ISO/IEC 7812 standard for assigning BINs, which outlined a timeline for card brands moving towards longer BIN issuance to simply meet increasing BIN demand. By April of 2022, Visa and Mastercard stopped issuing six-digit BINs altogether. 

Since then, eight-digit BIN ranges have swept the industry at an increasing rate. Here at Pagos, we performed a meta-analysis of BIN files provided by Visa in recent years and witnessed an explosive growth in eight-digit BINs, with the summer of 2023 boasting a ten-fold increase compared to the summer of 2022. This growth in eight-digit BIN ranges means any business who builds payments processes around BINs will need to adjust their logic to accommodate the full eight or more digits of modern BINs.

That might sound stressful, but the shift to eight-digit BIN ranges is an exciting opportunity. With the extra digits, these longer BINs provide businesses with additional card detail granularity and enable more informed decision-making. By adapting to the new eight-digit BIN standard, businesses can better manage fraud, streamline operations, and optimize their payment strategies for long-term success.

Transforming payments with BIN data

As the payment landscape continues to evolve, understanding and leveraging BIN data is essential for businesses looking to thrive in a digital-first world. With insights gleaned from BINs, businesses can optimise their payment processes, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Join the forefront of modern payment analytics by unlocking the true potential of BIN data for your business.

About Albert Drouart

Albert Drouart is CPO and co-founder of Pagos Solutions and has over 15 years of experience in payments product, strategy, and partnerships. He has worked with some of the largest companies in the world, making optimised and seamless payment experiences a key part of their product offerings. Albert believes companies can benefit from greater awareness, advice, and support in execution when it comes to aligning their payments strategy to their business strategy and is on a mission to make every company leverage payments to grow revenue, lower cost, and manage compliance.

About Pagos

Pagos is the leading payments intelligence and observability platform; they create simple tools for complex payments data, helping businesses increase revenue and decrease costs with actionable insights. With Pagos, anyone can be a payments expert and drive payments performance. Pagos powers many of the world's leading ecommerce companies including Adobe, Eventbrite, and GoFundMe to see, monitor, and use payments data effectively. Their remote, global team is backed by Arbor Ventures, Infinity Ventures, Point72 Ventures, Tarsadia, and Underscore VC.

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Keywords: bank account, credit card, online payments, digital identity, Issuer, virtual card, debit card, PSP, false declines, subscription payments, tokenization, online authentication, two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, optimization, checkout optimisation
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Pagos
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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