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A payment card number, primary account number (PAN), or simply a card number, is the card identifier found on payment cards, such as credit cards and debit cards, as well as stored-value cards, gift cards and other similar cards. In some situations the card number is referred to as a bank card number. The card number is primarily a card identifier and may not directly identify the bank account number/s to which the card is/are linked by the issuing entity. The card number prefix identifies the issuer of the card, and the digits that follow are used by the issuing entity to identify the cardholder as a customer and which is then associated by the issuing entity with the customer's designated bank accounts. In the case of stored-value type cards, the association with a particular customer is only made if the prepaid card is reloadable. Card numbers are allocated in accordance with ISO/IEC 7812. The card number is typically embossed on the front of a payment card, and is encoded on the magnetic stripe and chip, but may also be imprinted on the back of the card.
The payment card number differs from the Business Identifier Code (BIC/ISO 9362, a normalized code—also known as Business Identifier Code, Bank International Code or SWIFT code). It also differs from Universal Payment Identification Code, another identifier for a bank account in the United States.
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