2

Why do some credit cards display the 4 last digits of the credit card in the signature blank next to the CVV code?

For example, I noticed that my newly issued Bank of America Travel Rewards card now display the 4 last digits of the next to the CVV code, whereas the old one didn't have it.


In the example below, you can see the 4 last digits of the credit card (3456) next to the CCV code (123):

enter image description here

  • Is your new card an American Express, or something else? – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 10 at 21:37
  • @BenMiller Bank of America Travel Rewards, not American Express. – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 10 at 21:39
  • Ah, thanks for the example image. I thought you were talking about the front of the card, as AmEx cards put the security code on the front (or at least they used to). – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 10 at 22:05
  • 1
    I don't think the intent there is "display part of the card number next to the CVV" as much as it is "display part of the card number on the signature blank". – Ben Voigt Aug 11 at 1:31
  • @BenVoigt Thanks, do you know what the motivation behind displaying part of the card number on the signature blank? If so you're welcome to write an answer. I don't know what the intent is, I was simply trying to describe the location of the 4 digits. – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 11 at 2:47
6

Cards that include the last 4 of the PAN in the signature strip typically also include multi-colored watermark text or images under the numbers, which are printed in black. This acts as a fraud deterrent, since a scammer who melted down the embossed numbers and re-embossed new numbers would also have to change the number without destroying the watermark.

Documentation from card networks about card features (which I have offline at my employer) mentions that merchants should validate the digits when they're checking the signature against the customer's ID. Of course, merchants rarely check signatures, so it's unlikely that this number check is ever actually implemented.

With the advent of chip cards, physical security features are quickly becoming less important, as is evidenced by some newer cards which don't even use embossed numbers, or which feature designs where the number is printed on the back or in other atypical locations.

  • 1
    I only sign the credit card when someone actually checks it and asks me to sign it.... out of 12 credit cards I've signed 1 over the past 4 years. – xyious Aug 13 at 20:48
0

I'm just guessing here, but perhaps the simplest explanation is the right one: It's supposed to prevent you from gluing a card of your own (with your signature on the back) to a stolen card (with someone else's data and chip on the front), so as to use such a stolen card for chip-and-signature transactions.

  • I doubt that there are enough people gluing credit cards together for credit card companies to want to actively mitigate that. – Lawrence Aug 12 at 13:52
  • 1
    What might be more likely is the scenario where someone has two cards flipped over (at which point they can't see the card number), and wants something to distinguish between them. The last 4 digits could work for that. – Lawrence Aug 12 at 15:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.