Parts of credit cards: Credit card design trends are constantly evolving, but there are some features and data that remain constant, such as the issuer name, network, cardholder name, and card number. Here are the anatomy and parts of a credit card.
Anatomy and parts of credit cards: The front
1) credit card issuer
Refers to the bank that issued the card. A person who is responsible for defining the details of the card, the reward points, and the benefits. In the case of Bank of America, only the name of the card is used to identify the issuing bank.
2) Credit card name
A credit card is identified by its specific name. The name of the issuing bank is usually followed by the name of the card. The words “Bank of America” and “Credit Card” are stylized as “BankAmericard” , a word used to begin most card names, followed by the name of the card itself: “Cash Rewards“, for example.
3) The credit card network
It describes the credit card network and the level of service associated with the card. If the card had Visa Signature status, it would be mentioned here. If the card is used for payment, the credit card company handles the transaction. You have 4 options:
- and Visa
- AMEX(American Express)
4) Name of the cardholder
The name of the person with authority to use the card and who is in charge of it.
5) The credit card number.
It is the unique identification number that is stored on the magnetic stripe of a particular card. The number on your credit card provides information about the credit card network and issuer when you swipe it.
In the United States, credit card numbers are assigned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The card issuer assigns the account number, which consists of up to sixteen digits. Some cards have only seven digits.
TMI on credit cards
An actual credit card number contains a lot of information. To understand how to use a credit card, this information is not really necessary; we provide it only as a convenience. The ISO or International Organization for Standardization classifies the numbers as follows:
Digits 1 – 6: Identification numbers for issuers
First digit: Represents the network that issued the credit card. This is called the Major Industry Identifier (MII). Each digit represents a specific industry.
- 0 – ISO/TC 68 and other industry codes
- 1 – Airlines
- 2 – Airlines, finance, and future industry allocations
- 3 – Entertainment and travel
- 4 – Banking and financial services
- 5 – Banking and financial services
- 6 – Market research and banking/finance
- 7 – Oil and other future allocations to industry
- 8 – Telecommunications, health care, and other future industrial activities
- 9 – Assignment to national quality agencies
The first digit will differ for each card network:
- Visa – Starts with a 4 and has 13 or 16 digits
- MasterCard – Starts with a 5 and has 16 digits
- American Express – begins with a 3, followed by a 4 or a 7, and has 15 digits
- The Discover Card starts with a 6 and has 16 digits
- Carte Blanche and Diners Club cards – Start with a 3, followed by 0, 6, or 8 and have 14 digits
Digits 2 to 6: Provide identification information about the institution
Digits 7 to 15: Unique personal identification. It identifies the cardholder and is unique to the issuer.
Digit 16: Check Digit
The last digit verifies that the card numbers were entered correctly.
Each network has its own set of digits as well:
In the case of Visa:
- Digits 2 to 6: Used by the bank according to their requirements.
- Numbers 7 to 12 or 7 to 15: Represent an account number
- Numbers 13 or 16: It is a check digit
In the case of Mastercard cards:
- Use of digits 2 and 3, 2 to 4, 2 to 5, or 2 to 6: Based on digit numbering, used by the bank at its discretion.
- After the bank number, the next 15 digits are the account number
- Digit 16: It is a check digit
On American Express cards:
- Digits 3 and 4: they represent the type and currency of the cardy
- Digits 5 to 11: represent the account number
- Digits 12 to 14: represent the card number inside the account
- Digit 15: It is a check digit
6) EMV chips
Additionally to the magnetic stripe (which is on the back of the card), this chip stores cardholder information. It is a more secure and modern way to store information, and it provides better protection against fraud.
This is known as EMV technology, which stands for “Europay, Mastercard, Visa.” This is the global standard for this chip technology, and it comes in two forms:
- Chips and Signatures.
When you use a chip and PIN card, you use a PIN created by you, just like a debit card. Signature cards require your signature to complete a transaction. Credit cards can be either one of these types or both. Currently, in the United States, chip and signature cards are the most common.
As opposed to swiping the credit card through a slot, a chip-enabled card is inserted into the reader’s slot, usually at the bottom, and must remain there until prompted to be removed. “Card dipping” is the process.
By the beginning of October 2015 , all credit cards issued in the United States must be chip-enabled, and merchants who fail to provide the correct chip card technology will be held liable for fraudulent credit card activity.
7) Account opening date
The year when the account was opened. Not every card displays this information.
8) Expiration date
Additionally, credit card issuers sometimes use this time to analyse the cardholder’s credit and make decisions about the terms of the card, such as lowering the credit limit, increasing the interest rate, or even suspending the account.
Please keep in mind that issuers can take any of these actions at any time and do not need to wait until the expiration date. If the issuer decides to end the relationship, the date only provides a predefined end to the relationship.
Unless your credit reports reflect responsible financial behaviour, these negative or adverse actions do not apply to you. The card issuer will send you a new card before it expires because they value your business and want to keep you.
The cards have an expiration date :
- Giving the sender a predetermined end to the relationship, which makes it easier for them to end it if they wish.
- Eventually, wear and tear will damage the card and the magnetic stripe, making it unreadable.
- As a fraud prevention measure. It provides an extra level of security.
- Credit card issuers should replace old cards with new ones with better security features or modern designs.
- As a reminder to cardholders that the issuer is the owner of the card and coordinates its issuance and delivery.
Keep Reading: How to send money online with a credit card?
Anatomy and parts of a credit card: the back
1) Magnetic stripe
Your account information can be found on the magnetic stripe, a black bar on your card. Magnetic particles make up the stripe. When you swipe your card through a terminal, the reader gets your account information across the strip and uses it to complete your transaction.
If your card won’t be accepted by an ATM or card reader, it is probably because:
- Your card’s magnetic stripe is too dirty or scratched
- a magnet has erased the data on it
If your card’s magnetic stripe fails to work, you can call the issuer to request a replacement. If this is the case, there will generally be no charge for a replacement card.
2) CVV security code
A fraud prevention code is used for online purchases that do not require a physical credit card, such as cardless transactions. They only need the information printed on the card.
A plastic card is not actually used here; instead, a magnetic stripe or chip is used, such as when making a purchase at a grocery store.
CVV codes are 3-digit numbers for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards, and 4-digit numbers for American Express cards.
3) Customer service phone number
You can contact customer service at the phone number on the back of your card. Consider getting the phone numbers of all the services associated with your card, like the concierge service, and writing them down or saving them to your phone. Call the card’s customer service number for help finding these numbers.
4) Signature Box
The Signature Box is another fraud prevention tool, but it is rarely effective. For the card to be legally valid, the cardholder must sign it there. This signature can then be compared with a driver’s license or a signature given at the cash register when making a purchase.
It can be verified that the person using the license is actually the owner by checking the signatures or names on the license. Dealers, on the other hand, rarely check the signature on these documents, and it is even less common for them to check the name on licenses or other documents. Sometimes, the merchant does not even look at the credit card.
5) Hologram security measure
Holograms are a security measure to prevent physical copies of cards from occurring. Several layers of images are shown at different angles, giving the impression that the image is moving. Additional images may also be hidden within the layers. Holograms are difficult to copy with a scanner due to their multiple layers and images, so printed copies of the card cannot be created from them.
Parts and components of credit cards: Alternative designs
It is common for some credit card issuers to only put information on the reverse of the card instead of the front.
Citi® Double Cash cards, for example, only have the cardholder’s name on the front.
I hope you understood What are the parts of Credit cards and its components. Feel free to comment below and let us know if you run into any issues.