Now let’s see with Mr B what are the technical characteristics of a credit card and the important information connected to these characteristics, which each of us should know.
The credit card
This object so widespread in everyday life, now become familiar to all of us, has a typical dimension that has transformed the uses and customs of many of us over the last decade.
The size of the credit card, for example, has also influenced the design of other objects (wallets, etc.) or has dictated the size of other cards intended for other uses.
But what are the dimensions and what are the technical specifications of this object so widespread?
How is a credit card made?
The credit card is a plastic card, quite rigid, rectangular in shape that has inside a magnetic strip (usually located on the upper part of the back of the card) or a chip to contain the identification data for the recognition of the cardholder and the bank or financial institution that issues it.
The size of a credit card is set in the ISO / IEC 7810 ID01 standard:
- width 85.60 mm
- length 53,98 mm
- thickness of 0.76 mm
The identification data were initially stored in a magnetic strip, to then be transferred (from 1993 onwards) on a chip both for technological modernity, but above all to combat fraud and security problems, making credit cards real smart cards .
While magnetic strip credit cards allow limited functions, such as direct access to the account and / or access to a credit line, smart cards can be used to access multiple services, having the possibility of storing more data (identification, access, points competitions, etc.).
The card must contain the details of the cardholder, the card number and its expiry.
The holder must write his signature in the space provided on the back of the card.
Credit cards are also associated with a secret code of four or five digits, the PIN (personal identification number). The PIN makes it possible both to withdraw cash and payments at automated points of sale, instead of signing.
The usually three-digit security code is widely used in the payment of online transactions.
It is quite clear that some of the technical features of the credit card (such as the identification of the holder, pin and security code) are closely connected with the personal data of the holder. For this reason, utmost care should be taken not to send this information to unknown persons, especially if they are malicious.
What happens if my credit card is lost and cloned?
We have said that the only risks connected to the information contained in the credit card are represented by the possibility of (1) loss and / or (2) cloning of the credit card authentication codes.
These codes can be stolen by hackers through computer attacks or while the credit card holder is making payment through an internet connection or directly on the issuers’ databases.
In the first case (loss of the credit card) obviously the holder of the credit card must make a report of loss and block the operation of the card.
In the second case (cloning of credit card codes) the holder hardly ever realizes that the information has been stolen and it is therefore usually the credit card issuer that sends the notification to the holder through notifications tools / alert of suspicious financial transactions. Also in this case obviously the credit card is automatically blocked by the institution as a precaution.