How credit card number is generated?

Have you ever used a credit card? You were curious what are those numbers. On this post I am going to explain to you how credit card numbers are generated. If you have used a credit card, you would have seen the 16-digit number written on the front of the credit card. Even on the debit cards also, you will find the 16-digit number written on them. What do you think about these 16 numbers written on the credit card? Are they the random numbers which are just written like that? Or are they following a specific format or series?

Most of us feel that the 16 digits written on the credit card are random numbers. Some people who try to do theft using a credit card, try using random 16-digit numbers, without knowing that these are not random numbers. All these numbers have a particular meaning and they are being written in a proper format.

In truth is, those numbers are generated using a checksum called MOD10 or Modulus-10. Mod10 is also known as Luhn Algorithm. Below in which Luhn Algorithm is derived and how the 16-digit credit card number is generated.

Luhn Algorithm

Luhn Formula

  • Remove the last digit from the number.
  • Reverse the number series
  • Multiply the digits in odd positions (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and so on) by 2 and then subtract 9 to all any result higher than 9
  • Add all the numbers together
  • The check digit (the last number of the card) is the amount that you would need to add to get a multiple of 10 (Modulo 10)

The long set of number is usually displayed in the set of fours on the credit card. This number is very important, as you use this number only for making the online payment when you purchase anything or when you pay bills. Also, when you have to make the credit card bill payment, then also this 16-digit number is required.

During the tele-verification also while talking to customer care, you need to tell them this 16-digit number along with the other details, so that they can verify that you are using this card. This credit card number not only just helps one in knowing the credit card holder but it also helps one in knowing about the issuer of the credit card. There are some credit cards which do have 19 digits number instead of 16 digits number.

Why you need those card numbers?

The credit card number is known as the account number for that particular credit card, or you can also call it the unique account number for that particular credit card. You should know that no random 16-digit numbers are being used in the credit card. The financial institutions which generated the credit card and the company of the credit card follow a complete pattern for providing one with these numbers. We will read about this below.

Are these credit card numbers generated randomly?

This question is in the mind of most of the people who are using the credit card. You should know that; these numbers are assigned to your credit card and they are very important for you as well as for the issuer. So, what do you think, will they just choose the number randomly? No, they are not generated randomly, as I have stated above it needs MOD10 checksum to generate a unique card number. Here at we use that formula to come up with a valid credit card number each time you click the "generate button".

The number is properly uniquely assigned to every credit cardholder. This 16-digit number on your credit card is a unique number which is generated with the help of the coding. They are being arranged in a complex pattern, with the help of the coding.

A proper algorithm is being used in assigning and creating these numbers for your credit card. These numbers are being generated using a complicated method of Mathematic which was introduced by an engineer, Hans Peter Luhn who was in IBM when he invented this method in the year 1954.

Why the credit card numbers are created using this complex algorithm?

Do you want the thief or the fraud persons to know your credit card details and credit card number easily? We know that your answer is ‘No’ because neither the cardholder wants this to happen. Nor the card issuer wants this to happen. That is why they use this complex algorithm to create and generate these credit card numbers. This helps in saving the credit card from any kind of fraud and theft.

Many times, people try to do some kind of theft or fraud by generating fake credit card numbers. But they are unaware of this algorithm which is being used by the credit card company for generating the credit card numbers. Every single person who is making use of the credit card has a unique number assigned to their card. Other than the theft and fraud, the credit card number also helps in identifying the name and details of the account holder, the financial institution which assigned the card, and the credit card company.

INFO: Credit card number generated are valid but DOES NOT WORK like an actual credit card. They do not have any actual REAL VALUE. They are for data testing and verification purposes only.