What's my card number

Card number

What is the card number?

Each bank card has different features that allow a clear assignment and thus prevent misuse. This includes, for example, the security chip and the magnetic strip, but also the printed card number. This identification number is individual for each card and independent of the account number or the bank code. How long the number is exactly depends on the one hand on the respective card variant and on the other hand on the issuing financial institution.

This article deals with the number on debit cards such as the Girocard (EC card), Maestro and V Pay. For information on credit cards, see the Credit Card Numbers page. Under CVV and CVC you will find information on the 3 and 4-digit card security number.

When do I need the card number?

If the payment card is lost, it is important to act quickly. The card must be blocked immediately to prevent misuse. For such emergencies there is a nationwide emergency call that you can reach at any time thanks to a 24-hour service. The hotline number is 116 116. Like the account number and the expiry date, the card number is one of the data that may have to be given during the blocking. It is therefore advisable to keep the number separately from the payment card.

In addition, the card number can also be used for online shopping, depending on the financial institution and contractual conditions. The dealer uses the sequence of numbers to check whether the account has sufficient funds.

Where is the card number?

With older cards, the sequence of digits is usually on the front. On newer cards, the number is often written on the back. The financial institutions are free to choose where the card number is positioned so that it differs from bank to bank. If, on the other hand, the number is completely missing, it is advisable to consult the bank.

The card number for the Girocard (EC card number)

The usual bank card that German banks and savings banks offer their customers when opening a current account is the Girocard, also known under its old name "EC card". With a Girocard, the card number is primarily used for authentication in the event of a blocking. But some cards are equipped with an online payment function. They have a 13 to 19-digit debit card number, which in most cases can be found on the front of the card. Similar to a credit card, you also need a three-digit check digit known as the Card Verification Code (CVC2) to pay online. This is usually on the back.

What is a Girocard?

Until 2002 "EC" stood for "Eurocheque", then for "Electronic Cash". In 2007, the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (formerly Central Credit Committee) introduced the new debit payment system "Girocard". It is the most widely used cashless payment method in Germany and is also used to pay out cash at ATMs.

Girocard is a system used almost exclusively in Germany. In order to enable the use of the cards abroad, many banks offer their customers payment cards with the additional functions Maestro or V-Pay. In contrast to a credit card, the bank debits payments directly or as quickly as possible from the associated account and not at the end of the month

Maestro card number

Maestro is a payment system from Mastercard. Internet purchases with a Maestro card always require the provision of the 16-digit card number. However, a Maestro card number cannot always be found on the card. You can find out whether this is available from the card-issuing bank. In Germany, Maestro is often only co-branded on a debit or giro card, which means that many cards do not have a number. With the help of Mastercard SecureCode, however, the company also enables these cardholders to pay with it on the Internet.

V-Pay card number

While Maestro can be used worldwide, Visa V-Pay works primarily in Europe. The V-Pay card number also has 16 digits. However, with V-Pay, the card number is only relevant for identification when the card is blocked. A V-Pay card allows cashless payments, but not yet online payments in Germany.

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