Debit and credit card number, CVV and expiration date explained


Also known as an ATM card (Bank card for short), debit cards are issued by financial institutions to account holders in the respective institution. Armed with a debit card, you conveniently perform many activities: withdrawing money from an ATM without going to the bank, paying for goods and services online from the comfort of your home, paying utility bills audiences, buy food, clothing, fashion items and more.

ATM cards usually have multiple numbers written on them (on both sides; front and back) and if you’re the type of person who does a lot of transactions online, you probably know those numbers. In fact, you may already know them by heart or have them saved in your browser for faster payment. On the other hand, if you primarily use your ATM cards for point-of-sale (POS) transactions or cash withdrawals at ATMs, you might ignore the existence and importance of these numbers on your credit card. debit.

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Anatomy of a debit card

While the majority of debit cards are plastic, some are also made entirely of metal. However, one thing that both cards have in common is the numbers on them. Depending on the card material, the financial institution’s preference and other factors, these numbers can be printed on or engraved on a debit card.

Basically, the numbers you’ll find on a debit card serve two purposes: account identification and security. With some of these numbers, your account information is easily accessible. And with all the numbers, the funds in your account are accessible. We highlight which numbers you will commonly find on a debit card, what they mean, how important they are, and where you can find them.

1. Debit card number

The 16-digit number (often grouped into four) on the front of your debit card is known as Card number. This number is also known as the card identification number and it is also stored in the chip / magnetic strip of your card so that every time you use your card at a point of sale or ATM terminal, the card number is read by the machine.

Although the 16-digit number on your card appears to be regular numbers, they actually mean more than that. Each number (and group of numbers) has what it represents. Let’s dissect it.

First six digits

Debit card number

The first six digits of the 16 digit debit card number basically reveal information about the company / institution that issued the card to you. These first six digits are called the Issuer Identification Number (IIN). When you use your debit card at point-of-sale and ATM terminals, the first six digits tell the machine which company is funding your card. Some common card issuers and the numbers that make up the IIN of their cards include:

  • MasterCard: the first six digits usually start with 5, for example 5378 67.
  • VISA: the first six digits usually start with 4, for example 4589 76.

These first numbers of these six (6) digits may vary, however; depends primarily on the industry that issued the card.

First digit

The first number of the 16-digit debit card number is first determined by the category to which the industry that issued the card belongs, e.g. Banking & Finance, Airline, Oil, etc. The first number on your debit card is called Major Industry Identifier (MII). The first number used on debit cards issued by the following industries is listed below:

  • 1 – ISO and other industries
  • 2 – Airlines
  • 3 – Airlines and other industries
  • 4 – Travel and entertainment (American Express or Food Club)
  • 5 – Banking and Finance (VISA)
  • 6 – Banking and Finance (Master Card)
  • 7 – Banking and merchandising
  • 8 – Oil
  • 9 – Telecommunications and other industries
  • 10 – National mission

7th to 15th digit

While the first six digits of your debit card number are linked to the card issuer, the next 9 digits (7 to 15) of your card are linked to your account at the institution that issued the card to you. menu. Suppose you received a card from XYZ bank, the 7th to 15th digits of your debit card links your account at XYZ bank to your debit card.

REMARK: This is not your account number. In addition, these numbers do not reveal any information about you or your bank account.

Last or 16th digit

The last (16th) digit of your debit card is used to check the validity of a card. He is known as the Check digit. Check Digit verifies the accuracy of card numbers and ensures that the numbers have not been entered incorrectly.


Debit card number

CVV is the short form of Card Verification Value. CVV is a three-digit number that can always be found on the back of your card. It is often written in bold italics and is primarily required for performing online transactions like purchases, paying bills and subscriptions, etc. Although it is not common, the CVV number of the debit card of some institutions (like American Express) is 4 digits long.

CVV is a security and fraud prevention measure put in place to further ensure that you are truly the owner of the card you use to transact online. Usually CVV numbers are requested when you are not using the physical debit card. To make sure you have the card in your possession, you will be asked to provide the card’s CVV number as an additional layer of protection.

Expiration date

Another important part of a debit card is the expiration or expiration date. Usually, the expiration date is often written on a card as two digits (representing the month) followed by another two digits (representing the year) separated by a hyphen (-) and a slash ( /).

The expiration date refers to the date on which a card will no longer be valid to be used for transactions. Beyond this date, a debit card will cease to be valid for any type of transactions you wish to use to perform. Before a debit card expired, the issuing institution would have alerted the holder and prepared a new card. The new card will come with new details: new 16-digit debit card number, new CVV and, of course, new expiration date.

Like the CVV number, the expiration date is used as a security and fraud prevention tool. In addition, the institution uses the expiration date to ensure that users have newer and better security features, newer card designs, as well as “healthy” functional cards, as older cards are slowly damaged and wear out over time.

The expiration date is also printed or embedded on the front of a debit card.

The trio of debit card number, expiration date and CVV are all important details of your debit card that you need to protect properly and avoid prying eyes. In fact, no one but you should know or come into contact with these numbers. They not only reveal details about your account, but are also important security details that you shouldn’t be kidding around.

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