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Credit Card Numbers

On credit cards, the numbers are not assigned randomly. In the number sequence, a digit has a certain meaning. Here, we explain the meaning behind each digit and what is the presented information with regard to the numbers on it.

Many people wonder about the real meaning of the numbers on their credit card. Specific information is available for every digit. Let us examine each number in a sequence.

The major companies that issue credit cards have their own standardized system for assigning numbers to the credit cards. In the series, the first digit will start with 3, 4, 5 or 6. The type of card in possession is indicated by this number. An entertainment and travel card, for example, will start with the number 3. Such types of cards are issued by Diners Club or American Express. A Visa cash debit card will start with the number 4. Five will be used by MasterCard and the digit 6 by Discover.

The second digit number will be used by Diners Club and the American Express for the identification of the company. A Diners Club card starts with 36 or 38, while American Express will use either 34 or 37.

Depending on the issuer and the type of the card, the remaining numbers will serve other purposes. Usually, after the opening series, the grouped numbers are the bank’s routing number as well as the account number of the user. A special formula is used in order to calculate the last digit. It is a special digit called “a check digit”. Its purpose is to check for potential fraud.

The digits 3 and 4 on the American Express card indicate that the card is of business or personal type and also show the cardholder’s domestic currency. The account number is represented by digits from 5 to 11. Attached to the account is a card number, shown through digits from 12 to 14. The check digit is, of course, the last.

Digits 2 through 6 are used by Visa with regard to the bank number. When the account number starts with 7, the check digit is again the last one. The group’s number of digits may differ as Visa doesn’t always have the same length of digits.

MasterCard used the second through the third digit in order to indicate the bank number. The remaining digits, except for the last one, are used for the cardholder’s account identification.

The system is somewhat complex, but it is designed for tracking credit cards in their billions across the globe.

Ever wondered what the CCV number is? It is used by the banks to help in their efforts for reducing fraud which is resulting from internet transactions. An authentication procedure requires that the card holder enters the number at transaction time in order to verify the possession of the card. As a security feature for transactions, it now appears on most of the widely used debit and credit cards. Its purpose is to provide a cryptographic check, verifying the information embossed. It is a three to four digit code, forming no part of the card number itself.