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Decoding the Secrets of BIN Tables

In the ever-changing world of payments, efficiency, accuracy, optimization and security are paramount. As businesses strive to enhance their payment processes, leveraging strategies, technologies, and tools that optimize their payments landscape becomes crucial. One such resource that has proven to be invaluable is the BIN (Bank Identification Number) table. 

A BIN is the first six to eight numbers on a payment card that identifies the financial institution that card was issued.  All payment cards have a BIN number.  The BIN numbers are NOT randomly assigned to credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, electronic benefit cards (EBT), and other payment cards.  The first digit of the BIN specifies the card brand and the digits that follow specify the financial institution or issuing bank.  For example, Visa cards begin with a four.

A BIN Table refers to a database or table that houses all the BINs and their corresponding payment information.

Typical Information Contained in a BIN Table and its Significance

  • BIN Information: The BIN Table stores data related to different BINs, including the issuing bank or financial institution, the card network (such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express), and other relevant information.
  • Country and Region Information: BINs are often assigned to specific countries or regions, and the BIN Table may include data about which country or region the cards are associated with. This country and region information helps determine the card’s origin and potential restrictions or rules that apply.
  • Card Type: The BIN table identifies the type of card, like credit, debit, but additionally it can get more granular down to card products like Gold, Platinum, Preferred, Business, Corporate, Non-reloadable or reloadable Prepaid. It is important to identify the card type for processing payments correctly and optimally.
  • Acceptance Rules: BIN Tables may also contain information about whether a particular BIN is accepted by specific merchants or within certain geographic regions. This can be useful for managing fraud prevention and ensuring that payments are accepted by authorized parties.
  • Security and Fraud Checks: BIN Tables play a crucial role in fraud detection and prevention. By analyzing the BIN of a card presented for payment, a payment processor or merchant can cross-reference it with the information in the BIN Table to aid in identifying irregularities or suspicious activity.
  • Routing and Processing: BIN Tables identify the alternative debit networks available so that payment processors or merchants can decide which network to process a transaction.  Different BINs may have different processing rules or agreements, so this information ensures that payments are routed properly and as desired.

A BIN Table is a fundamental component of the card payment infrastructure, enabling accurate and secure processing of card transactions by providing information about the cards themselves and helping to prevent fraud.  However, beyond payment processing, you can use BINs to optimize your payments costs, reduce declines and recover more revenue.

Additional Benefits of a BIN Table

  • Payment Routing: BIN Tables provide merchants and payment processors the ability to identify routing options to mitigate transaction costs. For example, it is mandated in the United States that debit and prepaid card transactions must have two unaffiliated networks available to route transactions.  BIN tables provide the visibility to which networks are available for routing. When the available networks are known, the merchant or the processor has capability to calculate the corresponding transaction costs and route the transaction to the lowest cost network.
  • Card Type Recognition: BINs identify the type of card being used, such as credit, debit, or prepaid. Knowing the card type allows merchants to ability to strategically apply optimized rules and processes for various transaction types.
  • Country and Region Verification: BIN Tables contain information about the geographic region or country associated with a BIN. Having insight to the origin of the card, provides assists merchants with the ability to verify whether the card is issued in the same region as the transaction, which can be important for fraud detection and compliance purposes.
  • Fraud Detection: Detecting, preventing, and reducing fraud is another key priority for any business. BIN Tables assist in this endeavor by providing businesses the ability to cross-reference BINs with known fraud patterns and take immediate action if suspicious activity is detected.
  • Authorization Optimization: By analyzing historical transaction data linked to specific BINs, merchants can formulate and implement optimized authorization strategies. For example, merchants can set specific authorization limits or rules for certain types of cards or BINs.
  • Merchant and Region Restrictions: BIN Tables allow businesses the ability to set restrictions on which BINs or card types they accept. Having this knowledge helps control the types of cards processed and limit exposure to specific risk factors.
  • Reduced Declines: By fine-tuning authorization strategies based on BIN data, merchants can reduce unnecessary declines resulting in increased revenue, customer retention and satisfaction.

How Can I Use a BIN Table?

There are many sources available for BIN tables, but the best place to access BIN tables are from the networks directly or through your acquirer.  However, having a BIN table is only half the picture.  We recommend matching BIN table data with your transaction level data to truly unlock these insights.  Most acquirers make transaction level data available via SFTP, API and webhooks.  This data can be scheduled, downloaded, parsed, and normalized into datasets which allow you to link these key data sources together, giving you the power to analyze BIN data against your actual sales data.

Incorporating BIN data into your payments strategy is one of many factors required for maximized results. Don’t delay, email Optimized Payments at interchange@optimizedpayments.com and schedule an appointment with a seasoned payments consultant who can help you use the power of BIN tables to optimize your business.

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