What is a BIN?

Learn about the fundamentals of BINs and their usage

A BIN or Bank Identification Number is the first four to six numbers that appear on payment cards. The BIN helps merchants evaluate and assess payment card transactions. It also assists banks to identify fraudulent or stolen cards, as well as prevent identity theft.

The BIN specifies:

  • The card brand or major industry identifier
  • The card class
  • The issuing bank's country

Card Brands and Classes


What is a card brand?

A card brand is an organization that facilitates payment card transactions. Commonly known card brands are Visa and MasterCard


What is a card class?

A category of cards which dictates to what consumers a card can be issued to. For example, a card brand can have a commercial category which can only be issued to businesses.

Reasons Why You Might Need To Specify BINs Yourself

There may be various operational requirements which prevent you from being able to utilize Dynamic BIN Allocation. These include:

  • Having to comply with specific merchant requirements
  • Being able to target a specific customer segment
  • Needing to track spending by card brand and class

We recommend that customers use Dynamic BIN Allocation (DBA) to maximize card acceptance. Dynamic BIN Allocation automatically assigns a card brand and class based on the merchant and transaction type. However, we understand that there may be situations where you need to specify the card brand and class yourself.

Types of Card Brands

We currently support the following card brands:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard

Types of Card Classes

Commercial cards are issued to businesses and are typically used for business expenses. Consumer cards are issued to individuals and are typically used for personal expenses. Some suppliers do not accept certain types of cards. We offer clients four card classes:

Card ClassDescription
Commercial cardsTypically issued to businesses and offer a variety of benefits, such as rewards programs, purchase protection, and fraud protection.
Consumer cardsTypically issued to individuals and offer a variety of benefits, such as rewards programs, purchase protection, and fraud protection.
Prepaid cardsLoaded with a certain amount of money and can be used to make purchases. They are often used by people who are trying to budget their spending or who do not have a credit history.
Debit cardsLinked to a bank account and deduct money from the account when they are used to make purchases. They are often used by people who want to avoid credit card debt.

Our systems will try to issue the type of card that will provide clients with the best success rate. However, if a supplier does not accept a certain card class, other class options will be attempted.

Getting Active BINs

Banks constantly rotate the BINs that are currently used to issue new cards. These active BINs form something we call an Active BIN List. If you would like to retrieve the current active list, you can use our Retrieve the list of currently active BINs endpoint.


The BIN I Used Before Isn't There Anymore

The Active BIN list is constantly changing since banks rotate them periodically. If you've issued a card with a specific BIN and it doesn't appear on the list, it just means that that particular BIN is not currently active for issuing new cards however already created cards will function as usual.