Payment card standards body, EMVCo, at the weekend released proposed specification changes for payment systems to accommodate longer number on credit and debit cards for identifying the card issuer.
The issuer identification number, as it is called, is the first part of the 10- to 19-digit primary account number that appears on the front of debit or credit cards and identifies the card issuer.
Currently, the Issuer Identification Number (IIN) consists of the first six digits of the Personal Area Network (PAN) but will transition to being eight digits long in 2021.
Due to the upcoming change, merchants may need to update their point-of-sale terminals to process the longer IINs to prevent transactions from being terminated or processed incorrectly, EMVCo said in a press release.
Merchants using IINs for additional services, such as loyalty programs, may also need to update elements of their backend systems.
The change originates from the International Organisation for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission, which in 2017, published a new version of ISO/IEC 7812-1 — the standard that specifies the numbering system for the identification of card issuers — to accommodate an increasing number of card issuers.
Merchants sometimes use PANs or IINs to identify a customer and offer other services, such as loyalty programs. Since the change could impact their systems as well, EMVCo has published a draft specification bulletin summarizing the changes. The final version is due out later this year.
“Our aim in releasing the DSB is to ensure those outside our community are informed and have sufficient time to evaluate and address any consequences that it may have on their business beyond traditional payment processing,” Bruce Rutherford, chair of EMVCo’s executive committee said in the release.