Where is the Card Number on a Credit Card?

credit card numbers

Last Updated on 11/15/2017 by GS Staff

Q:

Where is the card number on a credit card?

A:

A credit number is commonly 16-digits long for a typical Visa or MasterCard. However, it  can range from 13 to 19 digits depending on the type of card you hold.

The credit card number is located in the middle on the front your credit card. See the picture below for an example.  The credit card number is “9999 9999 99999 9999” right in the center of the card shown below.

credit card numbers

You can tell a lot by examining a credit card number. The first digit is known as the major industry identifier. You can identify the category of the card by this digit. Below is a list of the major industry identifiers:

  • 0) ISO/TC
  • 1) Airlines
  • 2) Airlines
  • 3) Travel & entertainment,
  • 4) Banking & financial,
  • 5) Banking and financial,
  • 6) Merchandising & banking/financial,
  • 7) Petroleum
  • 8) Health & telecom
  • 9) National use (National Standards Bodies)

While the first digit provides the major industry identifier, it can also typically tell you which credit card brand is associated with the card. For example, first digit or digits identify the following brands:

  • Visa always starts with 4. (Ignore the numbers on the image above. It is just an example card. If it were real, it would start with a 4.)
  • MasterCard begins with a 5.
  • Discover leads with a 6.
  • American Express starts with a 3 and the second number is a 4 or a 7.
  • Diner’s Club also begins with a 3 and the next number is either 0, 6, 8, or 9. Note that there are Diner’s Club cards that contain a MasterCard logo. These cards begin with a 5.

The leading six digits of a credit card number is the issuer identification number or bank identifier. This number includes the first digit major industry identifier mentioned above. These six digits indicate which financial institution issued the credit card to you. For example, a card with the first six digit of 414718 is a Visa issued by Wells Fargo Bank.

Digit seven and onward, but not including the last digit, is your account number. The last digit is called the check number. This number is essentially used to validate that the correct credit card number was entered when inputted manually. The check number is produced using the Luhn Formula, which uses other numbers in the credit card number to produce this final digit. You can read more about the check number here.