How the 8-Digit BIN Standard Impacts Your Community Bank

In less than two months—April 2022—the International Standards Organization (ISO) standards update for 8-digit Bank Identification Numbers, or BINs, takes effect. This new standard means that card processors must be able to accommodate and manage transactions using 8-digit BINs. While this shift allows for an increased number of identifiers to support the industry’s explosive growth, it also creates procedural considerations and decision points for community bank issuers.

Fortunately, because issuers will not be required to immediately migrate to the 8-digit format, community banks have options. Though all new card programs will require an 8-digit BIN eventually (see Visa and Mastercard guidelines for specifics), banks may choose to keep their current cards’ 6-digit BINs in effect. Alternatively, they may choose to start making the shift to 8-digit BINs now, which could mean processor changes and cardholder communications to support that transition.

With the clock to this standard shift ticking down, community banks need to thoughtfully evaluate the pros and cons of the transition, and contemplate the following:

Does your bank’s internal card program currently use digits 7 through 9 to distinguish offerings?

For example, do you differentiate between a regular consumer program and a high-net-worth consumer program by adding a 3-digit plan or range? If so, you may have the potential for BIN overlap, or for converted BIN plans or ranges to result in two identical 8-digit BINs. You should work with your BIN sponsor or card processor to evaluate your card portfolio and identify appropriate changes. ICBA Bancard will communicate decisions on behalf of sponsored BINs, and client banks will be involved in configuration changes as needed. (Read more on this topic in Bancard Confidential.)

If the answer is yes, and you migrate to an 8-digit BIN, what changes will be needed to distinguish programs internally?

Working with your card processor, network sponsor, or network, can help determine the best strategic choice for your bank. Visa recommends that “clients move to issuing at the 9-digit account range level to combine different products on the same 6-digit BIN and thus, ensure their portfolios can be migrated into the fewest number of 8-digits BINs as possible,” and Mastercard concludes, “customers will continue to use account ranges to maximize efficient use of BINs to further segment a portfolio by product, interchange, geography.”

Does this migration impact masking card identity or truncating for PCI compliance?

While the PCI requirements themselves won’t change, expanding to an 8-digit BIN may impact how your business line’s work with card data points. According to the PCI Standards Security Council, “The truncation and masking formats used should always ensure that only the minimum number of digits are displayed or retained as necessary for the specific business need.” You will want to evaluate the downstream impacts of expanding the BIN on your internal operations and identification procedures.

Have you spoken with ICBA Bancard, your processor, network sponsor, and/or your card network about this transition and the best path forward?

If not, now’s the time to engage in a deeper dialogue to ensure you’ve looked at all areas of potential impact. As card experts and your partner in this transition, ICBA Bancard can provide guidance for both principal member banks and associate or affiliate card network members to help you deploy a strategic transition to the 8-digit BIN.

While migrating to this new standard doesn’t require an overnight implementation, the transition will take more than a flip of a switch as it creates a more complex set of interconnected choices to evaluate. Ultimately, community banks will need to weigh the business benefits of changing now versus waiting—a decision that will vary from bank to bank. Whatever road your community bank takes, rest assured that ICBA Bancard, as your payments partner, stands ready to support your team throughout the process.