The first six digits of a card number (including the initial MII digit) are known as the issuer identification number (IIN). These identify the institution that issued the card to the card holder. The rest of the number is allocated by the issuer. Cards are issued by the issuer through an issuing network. The card number's length is its number of digits. Many card issuers print the first four digits of the IIN on their card, just beneath where the number is embossed, as an added security measure. from wikipedia.