Instead of paying cash, we all just tend to use our beloved plastic bank cards. We use them everywhere, everyday.
We use them to pay for food and to pay our bills, we withdraw money from the ATM, and we transfer money to our friends.
However, there are a few things about these bank cards that you probably never knew about.
1. The meaning of the 16-digit number
Although most bank cards have a 16-digit number on them, some go up as far as 13 or 19. The first digit in the system is a number identifier, 4 is for VISA and 5 for MasterCard. The next 5 digits represent the issuing bank. So only 6 digits will give you information about the type of the card you have, the system, and the bank that issued the card. The following 9 digits are used only for the bank because they identify the owner of the card.
2. The check digit and the magic of numbers
The card number is determined by digits 9-15, which are created by a special algorithm. Two different cards can almost never have 7 identical numbers because the number of possible arrangements of 7 digits is more than the number of people currently alive. Furthermore, the number is calculated with the so-called Luhn algorithm, which prevents unintended mistakes that are likely to appear in case the numbers are typed manually.
3. A bank card in UV light
This is when it gets even more interesting- bank cards are protected with watermarks that can be seen in ultraviolet light. On VISA cards, you will see a “V”, on MasterCard an “M” and a “C”, and on American Express, an eagle.
4. Credit or debit card?
As you already knew, bank cards can be either debit or credit. But what you probably did not know so far, is that they can be either associated to the bank or the cardholder. If you own a credit card, the money belongs to the bank, and if you own a debit card, the money belongs to the cardholder.
5. A technical overdraft
A “technical overdraft” is when a sum that is bigger than the regular limit is charged from the account. It appears in cases when you pay in another currency or if you replenish the account from a different bank and then withdraw money right after. However, it disappears right after the money is in the account and no interest is calculated.
6. The back side of the card
At the back of your card, you can see another safety measure. The CVV code (for VISA cards) and the CVC code (for MasterCard). CV stands for Card Verification, and obviously it verifies your card. CVV allows you to make transactions without the actual card, for example, when paying online.
On the other hand, here is a list of various safety measures you should definitely remember.
1. Whenever you buy something from the internet, use only secure and trusted websites that will protect your data from being leaked.
2. Always keep your card information safe.
3. If you somehow lose your card, or someone steals it, call the bank immediately in order to have it blocked. That way, no one can transfer money from it, and you will eventually get a replacement card.
4. If you have any unanswered questions about your card, visit the bank’s website- they will have a 24/7 customer support.