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Infographic: The Secret Code Behind Your Credit Card Number

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Take a look at your credit cards. Seemingly just a random assortment of digits, right? Well, at the risk of turning everyone into a bunch of John Nashes, there actually is a code behind your credit card number. And you can even use this code to confirm that you have a valid credit card.

Budget assistant and maker of a handy iPhone/Android app, posted an infographic detailing the algorithm that companies like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express use to compose credit card numbers. For example, all Visa cards will begin with 4, AmEx cards with 34 or 37, and MasterCard with numbers between 51 and 55. The first digit will determine the outfit that issued the card: 1 and 2 are airlines, 3 is travel and entertainment, 7 is petroleum, etc. And the final digit is known as the checksum, which validates the entire credit card number against an equation known as the Luhn algorithm.

But what you no doubt will want to try is the equation to determine if your credit card number is valid. Simply follow the instructions provided in the infographic and if the end result is divisible by 10, congratulations. You're not wanted by federal marshals.
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