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ISO Announces Updates to the Issuer Identification Number (IIN) Standard


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved a draft of the revised standard behind the Issuer Identification Number (IIN) —the first six digits of the long number embossed or printed on the front of many personal banking cards. All users of ISO/IEC 7812-1 Identification cards-Identification of Issuers-Part 1: Numbering system, are strongly advised to immediately begin planning and analysis to identify any potential system and process impacts associated with their plans to adopt the new standard, set for publication in early 2017. [see related article]

An IIN is a standardized global numbering scheme used to identify an institution that issued the card. Within the current version of the standard ISO/IEC 7812-1, an IIN is defined as a fixed-length numeric of six digits. However, as the number of card issuers grows, there is expected to be a shortage in the available supply of IINs, ISO reports. Therefore, the revision of ISO/IEC 7812-1 expands the IIN to an eight-digit numeric value. The standard also defines the Primary Account Number (PAN), a number which is used to identify an individual account holder. The PAN is variable length, ranging from 8 to 19 digits.

The approved draft of the revised standard, expected to be published in early 2017, will reflect the following changes (as of the publication date):

  • The Registration Authority (RA) will commence assigning eight-digit IINs to any institution applying for a single IIN or block of IINs.

  • Issuers with eight-digit IINs will be required to issue a minimum PAN length of ten digits. The maximum will continue to be 19 digits in length.
  • Existing six-digit IINs will be converted into a block of a hundred eight-digit IINs. As the majority of issuers are unlikely to need all one hundred of these, they are encouraged to return any unused eight-digit IINs to the RA.
  • Any ISO/IEC standards referencing ISO/IEC 7812-1 should be reviewed for potential impacts.

The IIN standard has been developed by the International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 17, Cards and personal identification, Working Group (WG) 5. WG 5 is comprised of experts appointed by 12 countries. The U.S. holds leadership of this WG, with Patrick Macy as convenor and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), U.S. member body to ISO, as secretariat. The U.S. also holds leadership of JTC 1, with Karen Higginbottom of HP Inc. serving her third term as chair, and ANSI as secretariat. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group administrator to ISO/IEC JTC 1 and its Subcommittees, including SC17, is the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS).

Any queries should be directed to Michelle M. Deane, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC17/WG5 Secretary, at [email protected].

Update: The new version of ISO/IEC 7812 was published in January 2017.


Jana Zabinski

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Beth Goodbaum

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