Do Credit Cards Have Account Numbers?

It may sound like a simple question, but if you're new to credit cards or are trying to make a payment, you might ask yourself whether credit cards have account numbers.

Credit cards do not have account numbers. The long credit card number on the front is the number to use for your credit card account and this is the number you need to use to make payments or to contact your bank.

Account numbers and sort codes are features that only apply to bank accounts and credit products including credit cards don't have these. Having said that, there are a few key things you may want to know about how credit cards and account numbers link up so we thought we'd clarify on some of these points below.

What account number do I use if I want to pay into my credit card?

Most people pay off their credit card by either setting up a Direct Debit or by logging into the credit card company website or app and making the payment there. To do both of these you will not need any account numbers to process the payment.

One other way to make a payment is to log into your current account instead and make a direct payment from there. These payments have the benefit of going through Faster Payments which means the payment could reach your account immediately, or at the very least the next working day depending on your credit card provider.

When you try to make this payment, your bank will ask you for an account number and sort code to make the payment. This account number is NOT your credit card number. Each bank has one account they use for these types of payments for all of their customers.

You can usually find the details of this account at the bottom or on the back of your statement. You can also usually get these details if you log into your credit card account and go to the Payments area. Often these accounts are very simple - some even have account numbers made up of all zeros - 0000 0000!

You need to use this account number and sort code combination when making the payment and make sure you read the instructions your credit card company provides carefully. You'll need to add a reference for them to identify your account. In the majority of cases, the reference will be your credit card number but make sure you check before making payments.

Does a part of the credit card number represent my account number?

The long 16-digit credit card number is actually made up of a few different constituent parts. Knowing this can be interesting, although it won't necessarily help you with any account queries as the credit card company and other services will never ask you for only a part of your credit card number.

The first 6 numbers of all credit cards are part of an international payments standard and are known as the Bank Identification Number (BIN). The first digit will identify the issuer - for example Mastercards always start with a 5 and Visa with a 4 whereas American Express credit cards start with a 3. That number will usually identify your bank or credit card company, although some might use more than one.

The next 10 (or 12 on some rare credit cards) digits are your specific account number with your credit card company. These will be unique to your credit card but are not a unique account number for your account. Each time you change your credit card if you lose it or to replace an expired one, your credit card number will change.

Your account stays the same despite these changes and it's simply the reference to that account that changes over time.

How to find your credit card account's number

By far the easiest way to find your credit card number is to look on the front of your credit card. The long number on the front that we talked about above is the number you'll need to use for everything from buying things with your credit card to making payments into it and contacting your credit card company's customer services.

If you can't find your card, you may find it difficult to get your credit card number via other means. For security purposes, the statements you receive and all other communication will not include it and usually just print the last 4 digits of the account instead.

Even if you log in online, it is rare for your credit card provider to show you the entire credit card number. This is changing with some statements now printing the entire number and even credit card apps having features which show you your card details.

If you need to find out but don't have your credit card to hand, you'll need to call the provider and ask for a new card to be issued.

Why do some credit cards have an account number printed at the bottom?

You'll notice that some cards have an account number and sort code printed at the bottom of the card, alongside your name, the expiry date and other details.

These are not credit cards. Only debit cards have associated account numbers and sort codes and some banks choose to print it on the card to make it easier for you to use your account and make payments.

Some people will mistakenly call all plastic cards credit cards, but having an account number printed on them is a sure way of telling that they are in fact a debit card.

The only numbers you will find on a credit card are the long credit card number, the expiry date and the three digits on the back used for transaction verification. Some credit cards may also have a FROM date - indicating when the card was issued or an issue number which stands for the number of different credit cards you've had as part of the same account when they get reissued.

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