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My job is trying to do away with prepaid cards. I however have been having trouble telling them apart from regualar credit cards. How can you tell without running a credit check and ext.

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    Usually, a pre-paid card won’t have a cardholder name printed on it but a regular debit or credit card will. – Mike Scott May 20 '18 at 5:07
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    Curious why? Why wouldn't you want to accept prepaid cards? – gnasher729 May 20 '18 at 8:55
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    @gnasher729 It may be a car hire company or hotel or other business that relies on being able to add excess charges onto the card used for payment. You can’t do that with a prepaid card that’s not got much money left on it. – Mike Scott May 20 '18 at 10:08
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    And that's exactly why prepaid cards are so good under the right circumstances. – void_ptr May 21 '18 at 4:04
  • @MikeScott: but wouldn't the same thing be true with a debit card where there isn't much money left on the checking account? or a credit card with a low limit? – user102008 May 27 '18 at 19:15
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The two pieces of information are different:

  • The name of the person on the front of a prepaid card is usually 'Thank You'
  • The back of the card usually mentions 'monthly maintenance fees'

Calling the number on the back of the card is also a way to verify both the type of card as well as the identifying information associated with it.

  • But my name really is "Valued Cardholder" – xyious Jan 31 at 15:56
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TL;DR: It may be possible to find this information using an online lookup tool (although, as noted in a comment, the specific tool I found may not be very accurate or up-to-date).

The first six digits of a credit/debit card number are the Issuer Identification Number (IIN) – see Payment card number on Wikipedia. The IIN can potentially tell you a lot about the card beyond who issued it: for example, whether it is a debit or credit card, and whether it is prepaid or not. The "master list" of IINs is maintained by the American Bankers Association.

The blog-post "Is There a Way to Tell If a Card Number Is Debit or Credit?" covers some of the information that can be gleaned from the IIN using the free service Binlist.net, including its type and prepaid status. Note, however, that the blog's "bottom line" includes:

Binlist also works to tell if a card is a prepaid debit gift card, but it’s not as consistent at providing [this] information [as indicating whether it is a debit/credit card].

Also note the Binlist site's disclaimer:

Although this service is very accurate, don't expect it to be perfect.


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with either the blog site the above link is taken from, or the Binlist site, nor can I vouch for their accuracy.

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    I just tried 6 US cards on Binlist and 4 were wrong in some way. It even claimed a debit card was credit. Their data Github shows no updates for 2 years. Perhaps a paid service would be more accurate. – user71659 Feb 1 at 4:51
  • @user71659 Thanks for your comment. I only had a couple of UK cards and it was correct on those. I've added a cautionary note to the top of my answer. – TripeHound Feb 1 at 8:24

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