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Find your way around your credit and debit cards

Find your way around your credit and debit cards

We take a look at the features on your credit and debit cards and explain what they mean.

Anelda Knoesen
From the Money team
5
minute read
posted 1 OCTOBER 2019

Front of a credit card

1. Card issuer
The name of the bank, building society or other financial organisation that issued the card, for example, Barclays or American Express. 

2. EMV Chip
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. This computer chip creates a unique transaction code for each purchase you make. 

3. Long number
This is the permanent account number or PAN. The number identifies the institution that issued the card and the cardholder. 

4. Valid from date
This appears as ‘start’ on some cards. Not all cards have it.

5. Name
Name of the account holder. 

6. Contactless symbol
If your credit card is set up for contactless payments, it will have this symbol. You can use contactless cards for transactions up to £30 without having to punch in your PIN.  

7. Expiry date
This appears as ‘end’ on some cards. Your card will expire on the last day of the month shown.  

8. Card network logo
Card networks (also known as schemes) control transactions between credit card issuers and merchants. UK card schemes include Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Maestro. If a merchant displays this logo, you’ll be able to use your card there.

Front of a debit card

1. Card issuer - This will be the bank, building society or other financial organisation that issued the card, for example: HSBC, Lloyds Bank, the Post Office. 

2. EMV chip - EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. This computer chip creates a unique transaction code for each purchase you make. 

3. Long number - The PAN – or permanent account number – is the same as the number of the account the card is linked to. 

4. Valid from date - This appears as ‘start’ on some cards. 

5. Name - The name of the account holder.

6. Sort code - The sort code identifies the financial organisation and branch of the account the card belongs to.

7. Account number - The number of the bank account the card is linked to. 

8. Contactless symbol - Cards with this symbol are set up for contactless payments. You can use them to make payments of up to £30 without punching in your PIN.

9. Expiry date - This appears as ‘end’ on some cards. Your card will expire on the last day of the month shown.  

10. Card network logo - Card networks (also known as schemes) control transactions between debit card issuers and retailers. UK debit card schemes include Visa, Mastercard and Maestro. If a merchant displays this logo, you’ll be able to use your card there. 

11. Issue number - Solo and Maestro debit cards have this number.

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Back of a credit/debit card

1. Magnetic strip
Information about you and your card is encoded into this strip. If you make purchases or withdraw money using a card reader, the strip provides your details for verification.

2. Signature strip 
You need to sign your card for it to be valid.

3. Hologram
Holograms are difficult to forge, so some credit and debit cards have them as an additional security measure.

4. Emergency number
This is the number to call if your card is ever lost or stolen. It’s a good idea to keep a note of this number elsewhere.

5. CCV number
This is the last three numbers on the back of your card. You’ll be asked for this when you make transactions remotely, for example, when you buy things online. These are known as ‘card not present’ transactions. CCV stands for credit card verification code, and is also sometimes called the CVV or security code. The first four digits of the number on the back of your card are the last four digits of your card number.

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