BACK

Cashing In Q&A columns

Anatomy of a credit card

Summary

Ever wonder what all those numbers mean, or what’s on that black stripe? Find out here.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The long string of numbers, the magnetic stripe, the signature strip and the hologram all play roles in making credit transactions work.

See related: Understanding your card’s ID number

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Cashing In Q&A columns

Be cautious about store credit cards during the holidays

Store credit cards may be appealing to shoppers looking to save money, but there are a number of reasons that initial 10% savings may not be enough to make having such a card a winning proposition.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 28th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.50%
Cash Back
15.85%
Reward
15.75%
Student
16.12%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more