The ANSI Standard X4. 13-1983 is the system most commonly used by card companies.

The breakdown of the credit card:


The first digit in the card number is the system:

For example:

3 signifies Travel and Entertainment cards

4 represents Visa

5 represents MasterCard

6 is Discover Card

The Bank Number is the entire string of digits minus the very last digit

The Stripe:

The magnetic stripe is often called a magstripe. It contains small iron magnetic particles in a plastic film. Terminals, registers, etc. can read the information on the magstripe. When the magnetic strip is dirty or scratched, it can be more difficult for terminals to read the stripe.


There are 3 tracks on the magnetic stripe.

  1. Track one is 210 bits per inch
  2. Track two is 75 bits per inch
  3. Track three is 210 bits per inch

Your credit card typically only uses track one and two. Track three includes an encrypted pin, country code and currency units)