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Credit card number

In Layman's terms, the word "credit" means a person's ability to pay their debt, and the most common way to get into this line of credit is to avail of a credit card. A credit card is issued by a bank or a credit card company that allows the cardholder to purchase goods and avail of services from those merchants who accept this mode of payment.

 In today's world, every second person owns a credit card, but have you ever wondered what those sets of numbers stamped on the front or the back of your credit card mean? Typically, every credit card has a 16 to 19-digit number and is unique for every individual. These digits might look like randomly generated numbers to the credit cardholder. Still, they go through a complex process and algorithm, which is why they are unique and exclusive to every cardholder.

People prefer credit cards because the holder gets several reward programs like frequent flyer miles or cash back, or other gifts at every swipe. Apart from this, by timely paying the bills, the holder secures a better credit score, which helps them avail loans in the future.

Credit card number

Credit card numbers: what do they mean?

Now that you've read about the importance and meaning of credit cards, let's dive into a more detailed section and learn the meaning of those random yet unique digits stamped on the credit card. Those lengthy and intimidating credit card numbers are packed with crucial information generated after being processed through complex algorithms. Surprisingly, the credit card number sequence assists in informing the credit card company or the issuers and prevents credit card fraud.

Initial digit

These 16-digit numbers are allotted after complying with the American National Standards Institute. Let's go through each set of digits. The first six digits identify the issuer of the credit card number. There are four major card networks: American Express, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard. The first digit identifies the industry the card is associated with; they are called the Major Industry Identifier(MII):

The next five numbers are called the Bank Identification Number (BIN), or the Issuer Identification Number (IIN). This part of the credit card number clarifies the payment network that the card belongs to. It also assists in informing about the various benefits available to the cardholder. 

Credit card numbers: what do they mean?

The following 9-12 numbers identify the account number and cardholder. This sequence of numbers is connected with the account number of the holder. One can safely assume that every issuing Bank has a potentially issued a trillion of the account number.

Coming to the last digit, the checksum, or the check digit of the credit card, shows whether the card and the credit card number are legit or not. When the credit card details are given for a transaction, the check digit is plugged into an algorithm and is used to ensure whether or not the credit card is valid. The algorithm was invented by Peter Luhn and hence is called the Luhn Algorithm. This algorithm helps in immediately detecting when people transcribed the wrong credit card number.

CVV and expiration date

These were the importance of the 16-digit number appearing on the front or the back of the credit card. Now coming to the back of the credit card, one can find a CVV (Card Verification Value) or CVC (Card Verification Code), which represents another validation process. This CVV is an additional piece of information that assures that the cardholder is in possession of the card. This code adds another layer of protection to and prevents data breaches.

Another step of verification is the expiration date assigned to the credit card, without which the transaction won't be complete.

What is an issuing bank?

An issuing bank is a bank that issues credit cards to its customers. It is also known as a credit card issuer. The issuing bank is the consumer's bank and is primarily responsible for paying the acquiring bank for the goods and services the cardholder purchases. 

The issuing bank is part of the four-party model of payments wherein the parties are the consumer, issuing bank, acquiring bank, and the merchant who sells the goods and services and accepts the credit card as a mode of payment. The issuing bank's basic liability is to pay off the debt incurred by the consumer through the card (debit or credit). In the case of credit cards, the liability includes extending the credit to make the purchases. 

What is an issuing bank

Why should you know who is the issuer of the credit card?

There are several banks and credit card unions that offer credit card. Some people prefer or trust a certain bank, so they are inclined to work with it, which is why they analyze the initial digits, identify the issuer, and then continue with the transaction. 

Some banks have tie-ups with certain merchants or online webpages, but the credit card must be associated with that bank to avail of those offers. The credit card number assists in narrowing down the card issuer, following which the holder can avail of the offer.

How do you know who is the issuer using the credit card number?

As mentioned earlier, the 16 to 19-digit numbers stamped across the credit card represent crucial details. One of the important details is that the credit card number represents the bank that issues the credit card. If you have a credit card, you can easily identify the bank with the help of the initial digits. The latter represent the company issuing the card, the brand of the credit card, a portion of the account number, and its level; hence, they are called the issuer identification number.

The first digit of the issuer identification number is the major industry identifier. The number varies from 0-to 9, and it represents different industries. One can look at the first digit and identify the industry with which the credit card is associated. To gain information about the issuer, one has to analyze the other digits.

To identify the credit card issuer, one can analyze the following digits. The credit card companies like American Express and Diners Club have the same first digit, i.e., 3. However, to narrow down further, look at the digits following the first number.

For example, if the first digit is 3 and is followed by a 4, the card belongs to American Express, but if the next digit is 6, then the credit card belongs to Diners Club.

How do you know who is the issuer using the credit card number?

How do you know whose credit card it is?

Normally, it is not possible to know the name of the cardholder unless it is written on the card. If you find a credit card and want to return it to the owner, take it to the police or the nearest issuer bank branch. Alternatively, you may call the number indicated on the back of the card and follow their instructions.

Where is a credit card number situated?

A credit card number might be situated at the front or back of the credit card. The number on the credit card varies between 16-19 digits, is unique and different for every credit cardholder. This number can give information about the industry and the bank the card belongs to, and is generated after the number goes through many complex algorithms and processes.

How are credit cards designed?

Every credit card number is unique, but their manufacturing process is almost the same; the process is mentioned below:

Raw material

One can safely say that a credit card is nothing but lamination of multiple layers of plastic. The core of the credit card is made from plastic resin and is mixed with opacifying material that assists in providing consistency and appearance to the credit card. The manufacturer needs to mix the relevant material and plasticizer in the correct proportion to get the right feel for the card. When mixed in the right proportion, the core is laminated with polyvinyl chloride acetate, which adheres with the core when contacted with heat. The manufacturer often used dyes to print credit cards in unique colors. Several designers prefer magnetic ink to print that strip on the back of the card.

Manufacturing process

The manufacturing process begins with melting the plastic cover and then blending it. The plastic core is printed with digits and graphics chosen by the manufacturer and designer using a silkscreen process. Once the graphic portion is completed, the magnetic strip is added to the card by the stamping method, after which the core is ready for its initial lamination. The primary reason for laminating the card is that it provides strengthening and protection to the card. The cores go through several systems of rollers that are fully bonded with metal plates that make the card even more durable. Once the lamination process is over, the card is ready for finishing elements, which are completed by the die-cutting method, following which the card is ready for shipping

These credit cards are manufactured while abiding by the stringent rules established by MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Every single card is tracked and coded with an algorithm throughout the manufacturing process.

How are credit cards designed?

What are the types of credit cards?

There are multiple credit card types for one to choose from. One should jot down their requirements and select the credit card accordingly. There are several types of credit cards; the details of them are given below:

Reward credit card

This card provides various kinds of cashback and reward points depending on the purchases made by the credit cardholder. Certain credit card issuers offer generous rewards on using credit cards for basic purchases like groceries and gas. The reward credit card offers multiple ways to redeem the points through cash statements, gift cards, or merchandise.

Travel credit card

If you are a true travel enthusiast, then go for a travel credit card as this assists in making your travel flexible and easy by arranging better hotel loyalty program or flyer points. Certain credit card issuer offers amazing traveling offers and has tie-ups with the first-tier hotel lounges and airline. If used the card correctly, one can get access to the exclusive airport lounges or annual travel credit. Some of the credit card issuers known for their travel credit cards are Discover Card and American Express gold card.

 Business credit card

 If you have a business and would like to separate your personal and business expenses, this is the credit card you should go for. One of the basic requirements for this card is to have a business, or the applicant must be involved in an income-producing activity. A business credit card offers generous reward programs like expense tracking abilities, reward rates for all commercial purchases, and other ancillary benefits. The credit card holder can exchange them for cashback or statement credit or airline miles to redeem this award.

Student credit card

This credit card should be availed by young people who have a limited credit history. One of the good things about a student credit card is that their document requirements are not as stringent as the other credit cards, and they are quickly approved. No annual fee is charged on these credit cards, and the credit card issuer often offers generous rewards for every time the card is swiped. Apart from this, it's a good way to assist young people and students in building their credit history, which will help them in managing finance and availing of loans in the future.

Secured credit card

As the name suggests, a secured credit card means the account holder has to put down collateral or a certain cash deposit to secure the line of credit. It is not out of place to mention that most credit cards are unsecured, but a secured credit card is the easiest type of credit card to get approved, and it's a good way to build credit from scratch or repair your bad credit score. 

Credit cards vs. debit cards: what's the difference?

There is always a major debate about the difference between a debit card and a credit card and which one is better to use. Well, both the cards have their advantages and disadvantages. To know better about the cards, let's know the difference between them:

Line of credit

 When issuing a credit card, the bank or the credit card company issues a line of credit to the holder to make purchases. A bill is raised at the end of the month, which the account holder has to pay to avoid any interest or additional fees. But when it comes to a debit card, the money is deducted directly from the bank account of the debit cardholder. To purchase debit cards, the holder must have a sufficient amount in the bank account. A debit card does not give access to a line of credit to their cardholder.

Debt accumulation

As mentioned earlier, a credit card allows access to the line of credit to the holder, which means the cardholder can purchase goods and avail of services irrespective of whether they have that amount in their bank account. The credit cardholder is expected to pay these expenses at the end of the month, but if the holder spends more money than they can pay back, which can lead to debt accumulation. If a person makes a payment through the debit card, the amount is deducted directly from the bank account, which means the holder has the amount to make the purchase which means they won't have any debt accumulated at the end of the month. 

Interest and fees

 If the credit cardholder fails to pay the bill at the end of the month, they will have to pay interest or additional charges for the said delay. Still, as there is no bill raised at the end of the month when the purchase is made from the debit card, there is no need for the holder to pay or worry about any interest whatsoever.

In terms of fees, in debit cards, only the annual fee and pin regeneration fee are charged, whereas in credit cards, the holder needs to pay multiple fees like joining fee, annual fee, and late payment fee.

Advantages of spending

While using a debit card, the holder can spend the amount already available in their bank account, whereas in a credit card, the credit is extended by the card issuer; one can consider this extension of the amount as a short-term loan.

Rewards and privileges

The rewards received by using a debit card are minimal, whereas when the credit card holder swipes the card, they receive several rewards like airlines, cashback, and other reward points that are redeemable.

There are no privileges for using a debit card, whereas the holder of a credit card enjoys many privileges like dining, retail, travel, and entertainment services.

Building credit

Using a credit card and paying off the bills at a time assists the holder in building a good credit score, whereas no such benefit is available for using a debit card. A good credit history assists a person in availing of loans in the future.

Bank card and its constituent elements

A bank card allows the holder to make purchases and avail of services. A bank card can be both a debit card and a credit card, and there are many types of these cards, which are allotted at different levels, like gold, platinum, etc. The bank card has several details stamped on the front and at the back of the card. Usually, the front of the card has the name of the bank, a security chip, the date of expiration of the bank card, and the card number. This bank identification number varies between 16 to 19 digits, and it also has the name of the card issuer (American Express, Visa, etc).

The back of the bank card has a magnetic stripe, a space for the cardholder's signature number, a hologram, and the CVV numbers. This CVV code and expiration date add an additional layer of protection and assist in preventing bank card fraud and data breaches.


How can I specify the bank by the card number?

Usually, a bank card contains all payment information, and you can find it yourself. But it can happen that you only have the card number to which you need to transfer money.

If you know the meaning of different figures indicated on the front of the credit card, you can find out such data as:

  • country of the cardholder;
  • card issuing bank;
  • bank card type;
  • sometimes even the owner's phone number.

Note! Only bank employees have access to the personal data of cardholders.

The user can use any online card number identifier or our service Finanso™ BIN to clarify this data.

In addition, official online banking resources or applications can help you. For example, when making a transaction at your client bank, you can see information about the recipient of the funds.

What information is hidden in the card number?

nformation about a financial institution is usually encoded in figures located on the front of the card. The main thing is to be able to extract the necessary data.

Usually, a credit card has a sixteen digits number. The identifier is divided into four blocks, and each contains four characters. All codes carry certain information necessary for processing, clearing or authorization.

The first six digits represent the BIN (Bank Identification Number) – the bank identifier intended for data encoding. Such determinant is unique for each card type of a particular financial institution. This parameter enables you to find out information about the issuing bank, the country the card belongs to, and what product it corresponds to.

The Primary Account Number (PAN) or Bank Identification Number (BIN) is a numbering system developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to identify institutions that issue various cards.

The first digits are the payment system name containing the following encoded information:

  • 34, 37 – American Express®;
  • 31, 35 – JCB® International;
  • 30, 36, 38 – Diners Club®;
  • 4 – Visa®;
  • 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 – Mastercard®;
  • 60 – Discover®;
  • 62 – China UnionPay®;
  • 50, 56, 57, 58, 63, 67 – Maestro®.

All payment cards are issued with a BIN number. This is a set of four to six different digits randomly assigned to debit cards, credit cards, payment cards, and other payment cards. The number is stamped on the credit card's front side, and in the case of fixed cards, it is printed on the card's front side. The first digit of the BIN indicates the primary industry identifier.

The numbering system applies to credit cards, payment cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, debit cards and electronic discount cards. Correctness of digits sequence in a card number is compared to using Luna algorithm, which is the system for calculating the check digit in a bank card number. It meets the standards of ISO/IEC 7812.

Categories include airlines, banking and financial services, travel or entertainment. The following numbers indicate the card-issuing institution. For example, BIN for a Visa credit card starts with the number 4, which belongs to the banking and financial category.

Attention! Some cards, for security reasons, are issued without a number or other data. You can find Credit card details in the mobile app.

What is an issuing bank?

An issuing bank or simply an issuer is a financial institution that issues/issues plastic cards. This organization is the sole owner of all types of cards that it issues.

Even though the payment product is issued based on a contract with the client and is published to the latter for permanent use, the card always remains in the bank's ownership. This point must be specified in the agreement. And if you pay attention, it's always written on the back of the card. In this case, the future user of the card can either accept the terms or refuse them. In this case, the issue of plastic will be restricted.

If we consider the concept from the point of view of legislation, the issuer is a legal entity that puts into circulation the following financial products:

  • money;
  • bonds;
  • securities;
  • bank cards;
  • payment documents;
  • traveller's cheques.

Organizations of this type are subordinate to the central issuing and credit regulator in the United States.

Attention! Each payment card issuer registered and operating in the United States is required to obtain a corresponding license. Otherwise, the financial institution does not have the right to carry out banking activities, including the issue of plastic cards.

How can I specify the cardholder by number?

You may need to identify the bank cardholder. For example, return a lost or forgotten card at an ATM or a counter. If the card is not registered and there is no name and surname of the owner on the front side, it is impossible to find out by a front side number.

Important! If you forgot your card at the ATM, don't worry. The ATM will jam your card, and it is safe. Usually, the terminal clamps it in 30 seconds if the client has not taken the card from the card reader. In this case, you need to contact the bank using the phone number indicated on the ATM.

In an erroneous transaction or finding of someone else's property, the only way out is to call the bank or visit the office. When making a payment via the Internet, the recipient's data may be displayed in the program. In the USA, this can be done through a bank-customers of popular banks.

If the card was detected in fraud with the account of a particular person, the information about the attacker could only be specified through law enforcement agencies or the court. Bailiffs also have the authority to request the necessary data from the bank that issued the violator's card.

There are no other legal ways to get information about the cardholder. If a third party offers to sell such information, it is illegal, fraud or deception. It would be best if you stayed away from such dealers.

Why do I need to specify the bank by the card number?

The need to get more information from the bank card number arises while transferring money from card to card or when the card is not accepted for payment. A similar situation occurs if the bank's database or the payment system identifies the card as foreign and the seller has a ban on processing payments from other countries.

Also, your card's information for various payment restrictions should be checked if you are going on a trip or plan to pay for tickets, car rental, or hotel room reservations.

In addition, sometimes, you need to find out what level the payment instrument belongs to. For example, it may look like a Standard or Classic card, but it is part of the premium Gold or Platinum products group. There are vice versa situations when a card has the word Platinum, but it is a marketing ploy, and the card belongs to Classic level. By the way, bank cards of premium levels have several attractive advantages that make no sense to deprive yourself of—for example, discounts on purchases or in restaurants, airline miles accrual.

Note! If it turns out that the card belongs to a different standard than previously thought, it is better to reissue the card by contacting the issuing bank.

Determining the digits in the credit card number

Any plastic bank card has a unique number that can be written or embossed on the front side. Recently banks have increasingly started printing a complete set of card details on the back of the card.

This combination is unique and is assigned not by chance but according to the Luna algorithm. BIN's card identifier helps identify a financial institution in the international system. When making internal and external transfers and several other financial transactions, you may need it.

A bank card owner is a person whose name is indicated in Latin letters on the card's front side and whose signature sample is available on the backside.

Important! According to the rules of banks and VISA and MasterCard international payment systems, you cannot give the card to third parties to avoid fraudulent actions.

Never pass the card into someone else's hands. For example, you can not give the card in the hands of a waiter in a restaurant, store employee, taxi driver. It's not safe. If you are asked to pay, ask for a bank terminal and attach the card to it yourself.

What is the design of modern credit cards?

Even though bank plastic cards today differ in various colours and rich designs, they are designed in a single size standard and specifications. Based on these standards (CR80), credit cards have the following parameters:

  • length – 3.37 inches (85,6 mm);
  • width – 2.125 inches (53,98 mm);
  • thickness – 0.03 inches (0,76 mm).

However, minor deviations are allowed, which are expressed in specific numerical values:

  • by length – ± 0.13 mm ;
  • by width – ± 0.06 mm;
  • by thickness – ± 0.08 mm.

In addition, the card does not have an utterly rectangular shape but rounded corners. The radius is approximately 2.88-3.48 mm. The material of the product is plastic, in rare cases metal. Examples include a metal card Mastercard® Titanium Card™, or Amazon® Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card.

On the front side are the logo and the issuing bank's name, the card number consisting of 16-18 digits BIN/PAN/IIN, the card validity period consisting of four digits in the month/year format. In addition, you can also see the cardholder's first and last name, electronic chip and contactless payment system icon if the card supports PayPass® technologies from MasterCard® or Visa®payWave®. Also, suppose the owner participates in the bonus programs of airlines or other bank partners. In that case, the number of the bonus program participant may be located in the lower-left corner of the card under the date.

The reverse side contains the following elements:

  • The magnetic stripe soldered into the card body. It contains information about the holder, bank and bank details.
  • Security code. CVC/CVV can consist of three or four digits. It is an additional means of protection when making purchases via the Internet.
  • Contact information of the bank. It includes the name, address, and phone number of the financial institution—a hologram of the payment system that issued the card. You can also specify the logo of the bank's partners in the bonus program, for example, LoungeKey®; or Priority Pass®.
  • Client Signature field.

Attention! Until recently, all cards had this graph. Now new plastic is produced without putting a client's signature on them.

We are paying tribute to fashion and the desire to stand out banks issue cards with a creative design. This financial product is intended for VIP clients and youth audiences.

What cards do banks issue:

  • colored;
  • With drawings and inscriptions. In particular, you can use personal photos or individual design;
  • with a textured or mirrored surface;
  • transparent plastic cards, such as the Amex EveryDay® card Credit Card or from the German fintech project N26;
  • Metal cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or steal cards from Revolut. Recently Apple® has partnered with Goldman Sachs to release the titanium AppleCard®;
  • premium cards made of precious metals such as the American Express® Centurion Card or J.P. Morgan Palladium from Chase®;
  • vertically oriented such as Amazon Business Prime American Express Card;
  • It is laminated or foiled.

Among bankers, there is a mixed opinion about this diversity. However, at present, several financial organizations have already released limited series of cards.

How to find a Best Buy credit card number?

To find your Best Buy credit card number, you will have to check the physical card itself because there is no other way to find this number. A 16-digit credit card number will be located between the card holder’s name and the chip. Usually, the Best Buy credit card number starts with 7001, 7021, etc.

How to find a Victoria Secret credit card number?

The Victoria Secret credit card number is written on the card itself. The number ranges from 12 to 19 digits. Customers can also contact the customer care service at 1-800-695-9478 to know their credit card number. Usually, the Victoria Secret credit card number starts with 4576.

What is the contact number for Capital One credit card?

Customers can connect with the customer service for Capital One credit card at 1-877-383-4802. Usually, the Capital One credit card number starts with 4809, 4862, 4873, etc.

How to find the Old Navy credit card number?

To find your Old Navy credit card number, you can connect with credit card support at 1-877-222-6868. Usually, the Capital One credit card number starts with 6018, 4479, etc.

The Bank of America credit card number starts with?

Usually, the Bank of America credit card number issued in the United States starts with 3743, 4147, 4170, 4264, 4305, etc.

How to find Kohl’s credit card number?

Kohl’s credit card number is written on the front of your card. If you don’t have your card, you can contact credit card customer service at 855-564-5748 to know your credit card number. Usually, Kohl's credit card number starts with 9980.

How to find Macy’s credit card number?

If you don’t have access to your credit card, you can contact Macy’s credit card customer service at 888-257-6757, from Mon-Sun between 9 am to 12 am EST. Usually, Macy's credit card number starts with 4308.

How to find the Chase credit card number?

Users can use the Chase mobile app to know their Chase credit card numbers. Open the app, go to Account services and click on Stored cards. Here, you will find the details for your credit card. Usually, the Chase credit card number starts with 4312, 4366, 4388, 4559, 4750, 5222, 5401, 5447, etc.

How to identify a Mastercard number?

To identify a Mastercard number, check the first digit of your credit card number. If the number starts with 5, then it is a Mastercard.

How to identify a Visa card number?

To identify a Visa card number, check the first digit of your credit card. If the number starts with 4, then it is a Visa card.

How to identify an American Express card number?

To identify an American Express card number, check the first digit of your credit card. If the number starts with 3 or specifically 34,37, it is an American Express card.

Are free credit card numbers real?

Any free credit card number is generated while following all the standards bank rules. Due to this, even though they are fake, users can use these as a valid alternative if they don’t want to reveal their actual card details.

What is a pin on a credit card?

A pin is generally a code generated to identify the authority of that particular credit card and its owner. It is usually of four digits and is required for physical payments.