Prepaid cards typically advertise being usable anywhere that (Visa|Mastercard) is accepted, and yet I've noticed an increasing number of places online and physical which accept (Visa|Mastercard), but will not accept prepaid cards. They are able to detect that a card is prepaid, and decline it regardless of balance.

How are 3rd party services able to determine if a card is a prepaid or a credit card?

1 Answer 1


Based on the card number:

The card number prefix identifies the issuer of the card, and the digits that follow are used by the issuing entity to identify the cardholder as a customer and which is then associated by the issuing entity with the customer's designated bank accounts. In the case of stored-value type cards, the association with a particular customer is only made if the prepaid card is reloadable


The leading six or eight digits of the card number comprise the issuer identification number (IIN) sometimes referred to as the "bank identification number (BIN)". The remaining numbers on the card, except the last digit, are the individual account identification number. The last digit is the Luhn check digit.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payment_card_number

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .