Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why Are Credit Card Numbers on the Back Now?

By Jaime Dunaway

If you’ve recently received a new credit card, you may have noticed a change. Perhaps what was missing caught your attention. A growing number of credit cards have a sleek design on their faces without bulky, raised account numbers running along the bottom. Don’t panic. It’s not a scam. Flip the card over, and you’ll see that the numerals have been moved to the back with the rest of the card information.

It’s a trend that has taken off across the industry in the past few years, from elite cards like American Express Platinum to low-cost accounts like Capital One 360. Although it’s difficult to determine exactly when this style started taking off, credit card companies have increasingly modeled their cards in this fashion as they search for new ways to make users feel confident and look classy while using their cards, a spokesperson for credit card manufacturer CPI Card Group told Slate.

The biggest reason for this innovation might be that physical numbers are no longer needed for a card to function. Years ago, numbers had to be raised on the front of the card; when it ran through a card reader, an imprinted image of those numbers would appear on a slip of paper for customers to sign. But traditional magnetic strip cards, which required a customer’s signature for security reasons, have largely been replaced by chip cards that encrypt cardholder information into a unique code that is difficult to copy. The microchip’s added layer of protection renders embossed numbers unnecessary, allowing credit card makers to issue cards that have a decidedly different look.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. It probably has more to do with everyone having a high-definition recording device which can easily read card numbers on the front.

    A friend of mine posted a "funny" pic of his relative holding a credit card to his forehead -- until I pointed out that the number and expiration date were easily visible when you increased the image size.

    Technology adds security, but sometimes it increases threats as well.