The Parts of Your Credit Card

Ever taken a close look at your credit card? Well, sure, they look pretty but each of credit card components – from the string of numbers to the magnetic stripe to the signature strip – has its own purpose in ensuring the success of transactions. It is important for a person to understand the different parts of their credit card properly, so that they may learn to use it properly and more effectively. Here’s some information about your credit card that you probably first heard of.

Other Info:

The size of a credit card: 85.60 mm × 53.98 mm or (3.370 in × 2.125 in). Learn more about credit card size here

The Front of the Card

Parts of Credit Card - Front

  • 1. Bank Logo

The first thing you do when you see a credit card is check which bank it belongs to. This is easy to determine thanks to the prominently displayed bank logo on the front of the card. This logo belongs to the bank that issued the card, not the one in charge of processing payments. In many cases, like Discover Card and American Express, the two are one and the same, which explains why there is only a single logo.

  • 2. Computer Chip

The shiny small box on the front of the card houses the computer chip, and although it is being phased out in the US slowly for security reasons, it is still present on many cards. These chips generate a unique code at the time of a transaction, while the magnetic stripe contains unchanging details that are susceptible to theft. Chip cards are commonly used together with a signature or a PIN.

  • 3. Hologram

Plenty of credit cards features a hologram on the front. This three-dimensional image comes embedded on a two-dimensional surface and is proof that your card is the real thing and not a counterfeit.

  • 4. The First Six Digits of the Credit Card Number Sequence

The initial six digits on the card reveal the identity of the merchant who issued the card. The very first digital happens to be the major industry identifier.

  • 5 Remaining Numbers of the Credit Card Number Sequence

A credit card number can have up to 19 digits, but the majority of them have just 16. The final digit of the credit card is a “checksum” numeral that uses the Luhn formula to instantly verify the validity of the number series shown on the card. This prevents any kind of data theft and data entry errors in the future.

  • 6. Name

Most credit cards feature the first and last name of the cardholder of the account. In a case of online transactions, the name on the card must match the cardholder name precisely.

  • 7. Validity

The expiration date of the credit card is written on the front of the card and denotes the final month and year when the card can be used. In some cases, the day of the month – first or last – is provided as well.

  • 8. Card Logo

Your credit card is usually issued by a payment processing company in cooperation with the issuing bank. On most cards, the logo of the payment processing company is present. The most popular ones are Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

The Back of the Card

Parts of Credit Card - Back

  • 9. Magnetic Stripe

The magnetic stripe is prominently featured in three different colors, like silver, black, and brown. This stripe possesses up to three tracks. The first two contain details about the account of the cardholder and point-of-sale transaction details. However, magnetic stripes are slowly being gotten rid of due to the inclusion of computer chips.

  • 10. Signature Space

Every credit card requires a signature for it to be deemed valid. When the strip is signed, it provides merchants with an extra tool to ward against fraud as they are easily able to see that the card signature is not a match for the signature on the receipt.

  • 11. CVV

The CVV (card verification value) is a kind of security code for credit cards. Also known as CVV2, CVC2, or CID, this number serves the same purpose – provide a unique 3 to 4 digit code that provides additional security against unauthorized card usage and credit fraud.

  • 12. Service Disclaimer

The service disclaimer on the card reads that using the card means you both acknowledge and accept the agreement between the cardholder and the credit card issuer.

  • 13. Return Address

Most credit cards come with a return mailing address. Lost cards sent from the issuing bank can be sent back to this address.

  • 14. Contact

Behind the card is a phone number for card inquiries and customer service.

The parts of a debit card are almost the same with a debit card so you can assume that those two are almost similar cards in terms of their components.