Credit Card Numbers

  Credit Card Numbers  - Credit card numbers: What do they really mean?  - Jun 22, 2007  

The long credit card numbers on your credit card inspire awe and if it makes you think what these long strings of numerals signify this article is for you. Every credit card has a unique number associated with it. This number is used to identify the credit card and is used to decipher various other information associated with the credit card. Let us analyze it in detail.

The first digit is always 3, 4, 5 or 6. Credit card companies use a standardized system of assigning numbers. 3 means it is an American Express or Diners Club credit card. Credit cards beginning with 4 means that it is a Visa card. If your credit card numbers starts with 5 it represents a MasterCard. And in the case of a credit card number beginning with 6, it is a Discover credit card.

The other numbers are used to carry various other information. Visa a major credit card issuer uses the digits 2 through 6 to identify the bank. 7 to 12 or 15 are used to identify the account number and the last number is called the check digit. The pattern in Visa credit cards can vary greatly because all of Visa credit cards do not have the same amount of digits on credit cards.

Similar is the case with MasterCard. Digits 2 to 6 represent the bank and digits 7 onwards are used to identify the account with which the credit card is associated. The last digit is the check digit.

The numbering pattern with American Express credit cards is slightly different. The second digit in these credit cards is used to identify the company. For example if the credit card is issued in American Express's name it will have the first two digits 34, or 37 and if it carries Diners club logo it will have its first two digits as 36 or 38. The 3rd and 4rth digits are used to identify whether the credit card is a business or personal type. The digits 5 to 11 represent the account number and digits 12 to 14 shows the card number attached to that account. The last digit is the check digit.

In case of Discover credit card the pattern is similar like those of Visa and MasterCard.

Credit card numbers are a unique way to identify any single credit card from billions of other credit card issued. Credit card technology is improving day by day and credit card companies are adopting new ways to make the credit card more safe, secure and easy to manage.

  Credit Card Numbers  - Virtual credit cards: Pros and cons  - Jul 19, 2007  

Credit card fraud is increasing in magnitude proportional to the widespread use and availability of credit cards. To counteract this menace credit card companies have devised a new way. Popularly called the virtual credit card, this is an arrangement where the actual details of credit card holder are hidden and a virtual credit card number is issued for online shopping, which expire within a short period of time, usually a month or so. These virtual credit card numbers are mostly single-use, meaning that they expire after they are used once.

The process of getting a virtual credit card number is simple, it requires your credit card details and can be issued for a particular amount. Once considered, a relatively techie concept the virtual credit cards are fast becoming popular. There are various pros and cons to virtual credit cards. Here are few of them.


The virtual credit card number is a very safe option and is issued for a single use only.

The virtual credit cards are site specific and payment specific, so they are not transferable. This makes them of no use to hackers since they can't use these numbers anywhere except for the desired purpose.

The identity and actual credit card number is completely protected and threat of identity theft are absolutely minimal.

The purchase made by any virtual credit card number is reflected in the customers credit card bill like any other purchase.

The virtual credit card number builds more confidence in online shoppers, because their fears of identity theft and privacy considerations are done away with.

Virtual credit cards are a great way to beat the hackers and online thieves at their own game.


Virtual credit card concept is gaining popularity fast but it still is not that widely accepted, and users are accepting it at their own pace.

Virtual credit card numbers become useless where the personal details are absolutely essential with the purchase as in the case of airline tickets, movie tickets, hotel reservations, car rental etc.

Similarly, if you want to pay recurring expenses such as monthly subscriptions you'll need a new virtual credit card number every time because the old one will expire. Thus, the companies who want to bill you on a recurring basis will prefer regular credit card numbers.

If you have multiple credit cards from different providers, getting virtual credit card numbers and tracking them down for expiry dates and usability will add to your existing burden.

In short virtual credit card numbers are not without their drawbacks, but the safety, privacy and convenience they offer brings a great peace of mind.

  More Articles on - credit card numbers