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Credit card number

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Title: Credit card number  
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Subject: Debit card, Magnetic stripe card, Personally identifiable information, Payment card
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Credit card number

Payment card numbers are found on payment cards, such as credit cards and debit cards, as well as stored-value cards, gift cards and other similar cards. Some card issuers refer to the card number as the primary account number or PAN. They have a certain level of internal structure and share a common numbering scheme. Bank card numbers are allocated in accordance with ISO/IEC 7812. The bank card number merely identifies the card, which is then electronically associated by the issuing organisation with one of its customers and then to the customer's designated bank accounts. In the case of stored-value type cards, there is no necessary association with a particular customer.

An ISO/IEC 7812 card number is most commonly 16 digits in length,[1] and consists of:

  • a six-digit Issuer Identification Number (IIN) (previously called the "Bank Identification Number" (BIN)) the first digit of which is the Major Industry Identifier (MII),
  • a variable length (up to 12 digits) individual account identifier,
  • a single check digit calculated using the Luhn algorithm.[2]

The bank card number differs from the Bank Identifier Code (BIC/ISO 9362, a normalized code - also known as Business Identifier Code, Bank International Code and SWIFT code). It also differs from Universal Payment Identification Code, another identifier for a bank account in the United States

Major Industry Identifier (MII)

The first digit of a credit card number is the Major Industry Identifier (MII) (see ISO/IEC 7812), which represents the category of entity which issued the card. MII digits represent the following issuer categories:

  • 0 – ISO/TC 68 and other future industry assignments
  • 1 – Airlines
  • 2 – Airlines and other future industry assignments
  • 3 – Travel and entertainment and banking/financial
  • 4 – Banking and financial
  • 5 – Banking and financial
  • 6 – Merchandising and banking/financial
  • 7 – Petroleum and other future industry assignments
  • 8 – Healthcare, telecommunications and other future industry assignments
  • 9 – National assignment

For example, American Express, Diner's Club, Carte Blanche, and JCB are in the travel and entertainment category; VISA, MasterCard, and Discover are in the banking and financial category (Discover being in the Merchandising and banking/financial category); and Sun Oil and Exxon are in the petroleum category.

Issuer identification number (IIN)

The first six digits of a card number (including the initial MII digit) are known as the issuer identification number (IIN). These identify the institution that issued the card to the card holder. The rest of the number is allocated by the issuer. Cards are issued by the issuer through an issuing network. The card number's length is its number of digits. Many card issuers print the first four digits of the IIN on their card, just beneath where the number is embossed, as an added security measure.

In the United States, IINs are also used in NCPDP pharmacy claims to identify processors, and are printed on all pharmacy insurance cards. IINs are the primary routing mechanism for real-time claims. Each processor has one or more IINs, which it divides into plans by using Group Number and Processor Control Number fields.

The IIN database and membership is currently managed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)[3] and is updated monthly. ANSI is responsible for allocating IIN ranges to the issuing networks. The IIN database was previously managed by the American Bankers Association.

Online merchants may use IIN lookups to help validate transactions. For example, if a card's IIN indicates a bank in one country, while the customer's billing address is in another, the transaction may call for extra scrutiny.

Issuing network IIN ranges Active Length Validation
American Express 34, 37[4] Yes 15[5] Luhn algorithm
Bankcard[6] 5610, 560221-560225 No 16 Luhn algorithm
China UnionPay 62 or 88[7] Yes 16-19 no validation
Diners Club Carte Blanche 300-305 Yes 14 Luhn algorithm
Diners Club enRoute 2014, 2149 No 15 no validation
Diners Club International[8] 36 Yes 14 Luhn algorithm
Diners Club United States & Canada[9] 54, 55 Yes 16 Luhn algorithm
Discover Card[10] 6011, 622126-622925, 644-649, 65 Yes 16 Luhn algorithm
InstaPayment 637-639 Yes 16 Luhn algorithm
JCB 3528-3589[11] Yes 16 Luhn algorithm
Laser 6304, 6706, 6771, 6709 Yes 16-19 Luhn algorithm
Maestro 5018, 5020, 5038, 5893, 6304, 6759, 6761, 6762, 6763, 0604 Yes 12-19 Luhn algorithm
MasterCard 51-55 Yes 16 Luhn algorithm
Solo 6334, 6767 No 16, 18, 19 Luhn algorithm
Switch 4903, 4905, 4911, 4936, 564182, 633110, 6333, 6759 No 16, 18, 19 Luhn algorithm
Visa 4 Yes 13, 16[12] Luhn algorithm
Visa Electron 4026, 417500, 4405, 4508, 4844, 4913, 4917 Yes 16 Luhn algorithm

On November 8, 2004, MasterCard and Diners Club formed an alliance. Diners Club cards issued in Canada and the United States start with 54 or 55 and are treated as MasterCards worldwide. International cards use the 36 prefix and are treated as MasterCards in Canada and the United States, but are treated as Diners Club cards elsewhere. Diners Club International's web site makes no reference to old 38 prefix numbers, and they can be presumed reissued under the 55 or 36 IIN prefix. Effective October 16, 2009, Diners Club cards beginning with 30, 36, 38 or 39 have been processed by Discover Card.[13]

Effective October 1, 2006, Discover began using the entire 65 prefix, not just 650. Also, similar to the MasterCard/Diners agreement, China Union Pay cards are now treated as Discover cards and accepted on the Discover network.

A search on Visa's web site results in many references to card numbers being 16 digits long. However, searching for references to 13-digit cards will turn up no results.[original research?] All 13-digit account numbers have since been migrated to 16-digit account numbers. At least two different schemes were devised for this that included appending three digits to the account number, and, in more rare cases, inserting three digits after the twelfth digit of the old 13-digit number.

Switch was re-branded as Maestro in mid-2007.[14] In 2011, UK Domestic Maestro (formerly Switch) was aligned with the standard international Maestro proposition.

Canadian Bank Card Numbering

Canadian banks issue bank cards to access account also follow a pattern for their systems:

Issuing network Ranges Length
CIBC Convenience Card 4506 16 digits
Royal Bank of Canada Client Card 4519 16 digits
TD Canada Trust Access Card 589297 (regular debit) 19 digits
Scotiabank Scotia Card 4536 16 digits
BMO ABM Card 500X 16 digits
HSBC Canada Card 56XX 16 digits

Other codes

The Card Security Code is typically the last three digits printed on the signature strip on the back of the card. On American Express cards, the Card Security Code is a printed (not embossed) group of four digits on the front towards the right.

The Card Security Code (CSC), sometimes called Card Verification Value (CVV or CV2), Card Verification Value Code (CVVC), Card Verification Code (CVC), Verification Code (V-Code or V Code), or Card Code Verification (CCV) is a security feature for credit or debit card transactions, giving increased protection against credit card fraud.

There are actually several types of security codes:

  • The first code, called CVC1 or CVV1, is encoded on the magnetic stripe of the card and used for transactions in person.
  • The second code, and the most cited, is CVV2 or CVC2. This CSC (also known as a CCID or Credit Card ID) is often asked for by merchants for them to secure "card not present" transactions occurring over the Internet, by mail, fax or over the phone. In many countries in Western Europe, due to increased attempts at card fraud, it is now mandatory to provide this code when the cardholder is not present.
  • Contactless card and chip cards may supply their own codes generated electronically, such as iCVV or Dynamic CVV.


To reduce the risk of credit card fraud, various techniques are used to prevent the dissemination of card numbers (sometimes called the primary account number, or PAN). These include:

  • PAN truncation – in which only some of the digits on a card are printed on receipts.
  • Tokenization – in which an artificial account number (token) is printed, stored or transmitted in place of the true account number.

See also


External links

  • H.P. Luhn and Automatic Indexing
  • What your credit card numbers mean
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