Introducing the Credit Card

What is a credit card?

back of a credit card breakdown
  • Help Line: The customer service number for the card brand or the issuing bank, depending on the card.
  • Magnetic Strip: This is a strip of information that a card machine reads to identify one card from another. (Think about a CD player reading the numbers on the back of a CD.)
  • Signature Box: This is the area you are supposed to sign so no one else can use your credit card.
  • Verification: This is a code that further identifies a credit card. It contains the last four digits of the card number, followed by three or four numbers. Those numbers make up the card verification value (CVV), which is also known as the CID for American Express, the CVV2 for Visa, and the CVC2 for MasterCard. You will probably only need this when you’re making payments by phone or online.
  • Card Number: This is the reverse of the 16-19 digit number form the front of the card. Sometimes this is faded, but you will still be able to see the indentions for the numbers.
  • Disclaimer: This is a note from the issuing bank or credit card company ensuring that you know the agreement associated with the card.
  • Bank Address: This is the address someone should release the card to in the event that you lose it. It also acts as an address you can send mail inquiries to. Some banks will add an email address or website to this line for further contact information.