Illegal credit card purchases average nearly $790 million each year. Additionally, one in ten Americans, nearly 25 million people, have been a victim of credit card fraud. Credit card merchants should take every possible precaution against fraud as they are held financially responsible for fraudulent transactions, even those approved by the card issuer.  

  Account Numbers
The first four digits of the account number should be printed directly on the card and appear just above or below the full embossed account number. The sequence is known as the bank identification number (BIN).

Each card brand begins its account numbers with a distinctive digit or series of digits:

MasterCard: 5
Visa: 4
Discover: 6011
American Express : 37

The card's hologram should reflect light and change in appearance as the card is moved. An authentic hologram must not have the ability to be peeled off. In addition, the final four digits of the account number should be embossed with the hologram itself.

Each brand has a unique hologram design:

MasterCard: Twin Globes
Visa: Flying Dove
Discover: 4 Images


Security Characters
Cards feature a character, often located adjacent to the expiration date, embossed in a special shape that is difficult to duplicate. These characters should never appear in a plain typeface.

Each brand has a unique hologram design:

MasterCard: M or MC
Visa: V, BC, CV or PV
Discover: n or D


Signature Panel
The signature panel should never appear defaced or plain white. If tampering is attempted, the plastic will either peel or the word "void" will appear.

Either the entire account number or the last four digits of the number should appear within the signature panel. In addition, a special code (called the card validation code) should appear alongside. All numbers should be printed in reverse italics and should match the embossed number on the front of the card.









FI Home