This is the age where most people use debit and credit cards. With most people not willing to carry cash as there is a big chance of it getting stolen, credit and debit cards known as plastic currency is taking center stage.  

With credit and debit cards access to a person’s account has become very easy and the ability to buy things they want has also increased. Adding to this is the coming of online vendors or market places like Flipkart and Amazon who provide a lot of offers to customers who pay using credit cards and debit cards. 

With all these benefits come its own risk. Hacking of credit and debit cards has become rampant across the globe with many cards having their magnetic strip copied and used by hackers.  

In many cases hackers also use the cache or cookies in your browser to get your card details after you use it just once to pay online. So, before you start using your credit or debit card let us first see what each number on your card means and whether disclosing the front face of your card alone has any impact. 

The first thing you notice on your card is the 15 or 16-digit credit card number in which the first digit denotes which credit card provider the card belongs to. If it starts with 3, it is an American Express, Diner’s Club, or Carte Blanche; 4 is reserved for Visa, 5 for MasterCard and so on.  

The next 3 or 4 digits of the card denote the issuing bank and after which denotes your account number or in some cases a “check number”. This check number is used to see if the card is valid or not which is done at the time of entering your card details online. This detail is automatically obtained at a store via the magnetic strip. 

Additional Reading: What Is a Credit Card Number

The other numbers are the card issue date and the expiry date. At the back is the CVV which is a source of validating any transaction. The CVV is one the most important aspect of the credit or debit card and you would be asked for it while making any transaction through the card.  

Banks have become more vigilant as in they have introduced multifactor authentication where one needs to enter the CVV during transaction and authenticate using a One Time Password (OTP) which will only be sent to your registered mobile number. So, it should not be a problem when disclosing the front side of your credit or debit card.   

Even so it is best to do the following to keep your account secure. 

  1. Card transactions – here are a few tips to keep your card transactions safe 

  • Don’t write down your pin – Never write down your pin in your purse or on a piece of paper. Memorize it to keep it safe in case your wallet gets lost. 

  • Check the ATM machine – Before you do any ATM transactions check the machine for any anomalies. Fraudsters may insert a camera above the keypad and a card reader to collect your pin and card details. 

  • Cover the keypad when entering pin – Cover the keypad when entering the pin number when using your card at any place – restaurant, petrol bunk etc. 

  • Don’t give your pin number to anybody – In many places like restaurants and petrol bunks the staff might say they don’t have a card reader that is mobile. Do not give your pin number the waiter or bunk personal, make the effort to go and enter the pin yourself. 

Additional Reading: What is a Debit Card?

  1. Online and Mobile transactions 

  • Change password – Change your password regularly. Similar to pin numbers for cards, do not write down the password or save it in your computer.  

  • Do not auto save password – Many people auto save their pass word in their browser or in the application. Do not do this as your password and username or customer ID number can be hacked using cookies. 

  • Delete cookies – Keep flushing cookies on a continuous basis. Many spywares or trojans get inserted through these cookies or in most cases temporary internet files. 

  • Use only secured portals – Never give your bank details or account details in a website which only has http. Make sure it says https which means the page is encrypted and the transaction are secured. 

  • When changing mobile or PC – Whenever changing your mobile device or PC always format or reset to factory settings to make sure none of your personal files, browser history and temporary files are not available.  

  1. Telephone queries – Many a times people may contact you saying they are calling from your bank and will “phish” for your personal details. Do not give them any details. If they are offering you anything collect the details and go to bank to apply for the schemes.