Never share your credit card number or bank details with anyone.
Never share your credit card number or bank details with anyone.

All of us use credit cards on a daily basis. How often have you stopped to look at the different numbers on the card? If you are curious about the technology or business, you might want to know what the numbers on a credit card mean. These numbers help prevent fraud and ensure quick payments. They are changing and may look different in a few years. Credit card numbers come under-identification card standards that are set by the International organization for Standardization. There is a simple formula that shows the format of the numbers. 

Card number length

Card number length can be eight to 19 digits long but they will soon have at least 10 digits. There will be a maximum of 19 digits. American Express usually has 15 digits and Discover card, Visa and Mastercard have 16 digits. 

Issuer information

When you look at the credit or debit card, you will notice that the initial part of the number on the identification card has details about the issuer of the card. The first digit is an industry identifier. This number gives information about the business of the issuer of the card. It helps identify the card, like Mastercard or Visa.

The following six to eight numbers are issuer identification number and is also known as a bank identification number. This number will specify the financial institution which has issued the card.

The remaining digits on the credit card, except for the last digit, is unique to the account and it is picked by the issuer. 

Check digit

On your credit card, the last digit of a number is your check digit and it is an important part of the checksum. It helps ensure that your credit card is valid. This number is not chosen by the issuer company but it is chosen mathematically using an algorithm.

There are several steps that give an easy and convenient way to verify that the numbers follow a particular pattern. The algorithm tests for an output which can be divided by 10 and it shows the validity of the card number.

Now when you read over the numbers from right to left, skip the check digit. Begin with the second digit from the right, double every other number. When the result is double digits, add them together.

After adding these numbers, you add the digits you skipped. Now add all the total together and the result will be divisible by 10. It is a form of basic quality control, however, it does not give complete protection from fraud. It is possible to know card numbers because the algorithm is easily available to the public. 

Security codes

Numbers on a credit card will contain essential details for processing payments. But you might need a security code to authenticate the payment. It is also known as a card verification value. You have to provide this code in order to complete the purchase when you are ordering online.

This code will help verify that you own the card and someone is not using a stolen card to make online purchases. The number might be compromised in fraudulent activities but the code is difficult to create for thieves. Mastercard, Discover, and Visa have a three-digit CVV on the other side of your card. American Express displays a four-digit CVV on the front side of the card. 

Most credit cards have a smart chip and they are known as EMV cards. The card also protects the credit card number. The chip has a processor that will encrypt the information and will create a code that is unique for the transaction. It will help prevent fraud because it is difficult for thieves to identify. 

Credit card numbers and account numbers

If the card is stolen or damaged, you will need to replace it. Most card issuers replace expired cards with a new card that has the same number, while many others have a card printed with new numbers.

It is important to understand that the credit card account number could be different from the number that is on the credit card. Hence, a new card with a new number can be linked to the current account number.

Your account number does not change. For example, Visa can issue separate credit card numbers for each user in the account but there is always one account number for the account holder. 

Always keep your credit card information safe and never share CVV with anybody. If you notice any fraudulent activity in your bank account, you need to inform the bank and the card issuer at the earliest. Credit cards will stay with us for a long time to come and with evolving technologies, the risk associated with the use of cards will hopefully decline. 

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