Having a credit card can be a convenient way of ensuring that you have access to funds in the event of an emergency or if you want to be able to afford to buy big-ticket items.
Credit cards can also offer you opportunities to earn rewards and to gain other benefits.
It also means that you need to be fully aware of how credit cards work so that you avoid falling victim to scams and unscrupulous lenders.
Each credit card has a number on the front, which is mainly used to identify card issuers as well as the type of card it is.
Every card must be in agreement with the “Lutin System”, which determines the validity of a credit card. Each card issuer has its own range of card numbers, identified by the first 4 digits.
What each credit card number means:
In a typical sixteen digit credit card number, the first fifteen digits are determined by the issuing bank, but the last digit, called the check digit, is mathematically determined based on all other digits.
Adding a check digit is a very common practice to ensure that numbers are well-formed.
The first few numbers describe the type of card:
- Visa: 4-
- MasterCard: 51-; 52-; 53-; 54-; 55-
- Diners Club: 36-; 38-
- Discovery: 60-; 65-
- American Express: 34-; 37
Credit card number examples:
Visa: 4111 111 111 111
MasterCard: 5500 0000 0000 0004
The expiration date must be a valid date in the future (mmyy format)
The first digit is the major industry identifier. It essentially designates the category of the entity which issued the card.
- 1 and 2 are Airlines
- 3 is Travel and Entertainment
- 4 and 5 are Banking and Financial
- 6 is Merchandising and Banking
- 7 is Petroleum
- 8 is Telecommunications
- 9 is National Assignment