- Issuer logo: This is the issuing bank’s logo.
The bank extends the credit on the card, while the payment network
— such as Visa or MasterCard — processes the transactions. American
Express and Discover are issuers and payment networks.
- EMV chip: EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard
and Visa. Account details are stored on this microchip and
communicated to the checkout computer at purchase. The chip
encrypts transaction data uniquely each time it’s used to make
counterfeiting cards harder. This is not on all credit cards.
- Issuer identification number: The first six
numbers identify the credit card issuer. For example, MasterCard
credit card numbers always start with a 5. Visa cards start with a
- Account number: This randomly generated number
can contain up to 12 numbers. Each issuer can create a trillion
possible account numbers.
- Check digit: The last digit on the card number
verifies the initial numbers. Based on a mathematical algorithm,
this check digit makes it more difficult for criminals to make up
card numbers. It also helps prevent errors when the number is
- Expiration date: The date, typically the month
and year, shows how long a card is valid. The expiration date also
helps prevent fraud at checkout and is required by payment network
rules. For cards with just month and year, the card is valid until
the last day of that month.
- Name: The first and last name of the
cardholder will appear on a personal credit card. Authorized users
often get cards with their own names.
- Payment network logo: This logo identifies
which payment network is processing the transactions — Visa,
MasterCard, American Express or Discover.
- Customer service number: If your card is
missing or stolen or you have questions about your account, this is
the number to call.
- Magnetic stripe: The magnetic stripe consists
of up to three tracks and contains all the information that is
physically found on the card. The first and second tracks contain
the basic account information to complete a purchase. The third
track is a read/write track where information can be stored or
added, but it is rarely used. It can include an encrypted personal
identification number, country code, currency units and authorized
- Hologram: The 3-dimensional hologram helps
differentiate real cards from fake ones.
- Signature: Payment network rules require a
signature. The signature on the card allows merchants to claim the
transaction was verified and potentially shifts fraud liability to
- CSV: This number typically helps reduce fraud
when the credit card is not present, such as with online purchases.
Most CSV numbers contain three digits and are found on the back,
next to the signature. American Express uses a four-digit number,
which is placed on the front of the card above the account
- Service disclaimer: This disclaimer means that
by using the card, you agree to its terms and conditions.
Ever wonder what goes into creating a new credit card? All those
numbers, logos and holograms aren’t random. In fact, the bulk of a
credit card’s features are designed to combat fraudulent use and
counterfeit cards. Bankrate identifies every feature and what each