[INFOGRAPHIC] The Anatomy of a Credit Card


Published on: March 1, 2017 Last updated: October 21, 2020

Anatomy of credit card
If you’ve had a credit card for a while, you might know the basics of the stuff on it. You know your security code by heart, the same with the account number. These are two things you’ll want to be able to rattle off the top of your head when you absolutely need to.

Those two particular details may have become part of your brain’s data banks for the simple reason of not having to whip out your card for every online purchase, or when the opportunity to simply key in the combination to confirm your purchase arises.

But beyond that, you might not actually be looking at the other things that make your credit card tick. You might have heard of some features that a credit card has, but if you’ve ever wondered precisely what makes up the piece of plastic that’s either been your favorite tool or the bane of your financial existence.

Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to the anatomy of a credit card.
The Anatomy of a credit card

Powered Plastic: The Anatomy of A Credit Card

You’ve researched some of your credit card’s features, but here’s where you can get all the details about the parts of a credit card and their functions.

The Face of the Card

This is the part of your card that contains most of your information. Some issuers will allow you to have custom designs, but most have a general design, based on the type of the card.

Credit Card Issuer

The bank or company that issued the credit card to you, and is always at the left of the card. This is the institution you applied to and the design may vary depending on the institution’s branding.

Credit Card Name

This is the co-brand of the card, usually stating the main capacity of the card, like “rewards” or co-branding like “Mabuhay Miles” or “Forever 21.”

Credit Card Network

Credit card networks process payments made with the credit card. Some examples of these are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Union Pay. If you were issued a Visa Signature card, the logo would reflect it.

Cardholder Name

Your name, or the declared name you asked to be placed on the card, providing that your full name exceeds the 15-character limit on the card.

Credit Card Number

This identifies your card on the issuer’s records. The information stored on the magnetic strip or the EMV chip provides the information about your bank and its network when swiped on a reader.

Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) Chip

Using an EMV chip for credit cards is a more secure way to store your credit card’s information that is being implemented across all networks. This comes in two variations: Chip-and-Signature, or Chip-and-Pin. The former requires your signature to complete a transaction, and the latter requires a pin you create.

Expiration Date

This is when the credit card will expire. This doesn’t mean that the account will be closed because this is just the time to get a new card under the same credit card number. In some cases, the expiration date is used to review your account, which allows the issuer to determine whether the account is in good standing.

The Back of the Card

The Magnetic Stripe

Also known as the Magstripe, this stores your card’s information and is made of a million microscopic magnetic particles. Swiping it through a reader transmits your account information to facilitate the purchase. Users must not have this part of the credit card in contact with a magnet because this incident can erase the information stored in it.

CVV Security Code

This code is your card’s fraud prevention tool that’s used when making online purchases. They are usually 3-digit codes, with the exception of American Express, which uses a 4-digit code.

Customer Service Phone Line

This is the number you use when you need to reach customer support. Some credit cards have other services attached, so it is recommended that you call this number to find out what they are so you can benefit from them.

Signature Box

The signature box is another fraud prevention tool. Cardholders must place their signature in this box to make the card legally valid so merchants can match the signature to any ID card you may have and the signature you use while signing the bank’s copy of the receipt after transactions.

Hologram Security Sticker

The hologram is meant to be a security feature that prevents the card from being physically copied. It’s layered with images at different angles which creates the distinct hologram illusion. The layers prevent true images of the card from being created, so your card can never be accurately physically copied.

These are the important parts of your credit card that empower your bank to secure your information and help you make cashless transactions.

Read more: I Lost My Credit Card. What Should I Do?


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