What data appear on a bank card?

Bank cards, whether credit or debit, are very useful in day-to-day operations, but have you ever wondered what all the data on a card means ?

Since 1989 the numbering of the cards corresponds to the ISO / IEC 7812 standard. This is made up of a series of guidelines that determine the positions and meanings of all the numbers that appear on a bank card.

Data that appears on the front of a bank card

Data that appears on the front of a bank card

The front or the face of the bank card contains different data that gives it exclusivity. Although the most important, because of its information load, is the number or PAN of the card, there are other very relevant data. These are:

  • The name of the entity that issued the card.
  • The chip on the card . This increases security and speed in purchases. The chip is in the left area.
  • The personal account number (PAN) or card number . It is in the central part and has 16 digits.
  • The expiration date of the card. This date consists of month and year and it is customary to ask for it when making purchases over the Internet. It is located below the card number.
  • Name of the cardholder. Being personal and non-transferable elements must include the name of the owner.
  • International brand The most common are VISA and MASTERCARD. It usually appears in the lower right corner.

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Data that appear on the back

The back of the cards contains several important data that must be used on more than one occasion:

  • The magnetic strip occupies the entire width of the card, although currently its use has been replaced by the chip.
  • The signature panel is below the magnetic stripe. It’s where the owner signs.
  • CCV number, CVV or security number . There are three figures that are to the right of the signature panel and that are usually requested from the owner in online purchases.

What does each of the numbers on the card number mean?

What does each of the numbers on the card number mean?


The number of the card or PAN is divided into three distinct sections, each consisting of figures that contain certain information.

The first number on the card represents the type of card according to its issuer. According to ISO / IEC 7812, if the first number is a 1 or a 2 it would be a card issued by an airline. If a 7 appears in its place it means that its issuer is an oil company. To be bank cards, whether debit or credit, the first digit of the account number must be a 4, a 5 or a 6.

For its part, the digits between positions 1 to 7 identify the country and the issuer of the card. Although the entire range of countries is private for security reasons, some figures of this range are known. For example, cards issued by Visa Electron have, among others, the ranges 4026, 4508 or 4913. The Mastercard cards are assigned the ranges between 51 and 55 and, finally, the Maestro 5020, 5038, 66761, among others.

Finally, the rest of the numbers of the card until reaching a figure between 13 and 18 digits make reference to the internal code of the financial institution to associate the card with the client. For these numbers there are no general rules, but they respond to bank criteria. Within the freedom that each entity has, it is usual that the digit that is in position 16 corresponds to the control digit of each card.