Entries tagged with “data”.


Credit card numbers have presented a bit of a mystery to many people.  In fact, it is not uncommon for someone to ask how long we have before we run out of card numbers.  After all, there are only so many combinations of 16-19 digits, right?  What do the numbers mean?  Are they all random?  Hopefully, this post will provide some quick answers to those questions.

Are card numbers random?  The answer is, “sort of.”  The first six digits in the account number are the Bank Identification Number, or BIN.  Of those, the first two numbers represent the type of card – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Diners’ Club.  For example, a card that begins with 37 is an American Express card. The account number follows the first six and is usually comprised of 7-12 digits and the last number is called a check digit.  The structure of the account number is determined by ISO 7812.

Will we run out of credit card numbers? The short answer is “no.”  While it might seem that the information above limits the number of accounts numbers that could be issued by a single card issuer, the fact is that it is sufficiently flexible to allow for a very large number of cards to be issued with unique numbers.  For example, if we assume that each issuer provides a 9 digit account number, that means that for each BIN (and an issuer may have many) they can issue 1,000,000,000 unique numbers.  So if an issuer has 6 BINs, that is a range of approximately 6,000,000,000 unique numbers that could be issued.  Failing all else, if we find that we are running out of numbers within the current constraints, the account number itself could be lengthened by one or more digits.

While it may not always seem so, almost every aspect of the payment card (a generic term for both credit and debit cards) is very carefully standardized to ensure greater acceptance.  The size of the card, the length of the account numbers and even where certain elements are placed on the card, are carefully prescribed so that the card can be accepted at the largest number of merchants possible.

As we are all returning to work after a holiday season it is important that users carefully check their credit and debit card activity.  If many readers are like me, they spend too much on their cards over the holidays and have difficulty keeping track of receipts.  Scammers and credit card thieves are very active during the holiday season for this very reason.  They are aware that many people will probably not recognize a suspicious charge until it is too late, if at all. 

If you see a transaction that you are sure you did not make, contact your card issuer using the number on the back of the card and dispute the charge.  Remember that under federal law you are limited to $50 in liability and under major card brand rules you have $0 liability for ’signature’ transactions.  As stated in a previous post, PIN based transactions may not be afforded the same protection.  Unfortunately, some issuers may direct you to talk to the merchant in question.  If you did not make the purchase than this is a ridiculous suggestion.  Simply explain that it was NOT your card or transaction and dispute the charge as unauthorized.  It is possible the bank may require you to fill out an affidavit while they investigate the charges.  Either way keep in mind that you have limited liability for any charges that are fraudulent.  Also be aware that if there are fraudulent charges it is likely the issuer will cancel your card and reissue a new card to you. 

Have a happy new year!

You’re a mobile merchant on the move, or in other words, a mobile sales professional, ProPay provides a powerful suite of mobile processing options. Over the next few months you’ll see even more mobile offerings from ProPay. Today, ProPay offers the following mobile payment processing options.

 ProPay Mobile – Merchants with a Smartphone and a ProPay Account can now process credit and debit card transactions virtually anytime, anyplace. ProPay Mobile is automatically available to all ProPay merchants. Merchants can log-in to http://m.propay.com/, with their ProPay credentials, begin processing payments, check account balances, or move funds. ProPay Mobile enables merchants to accept credit or debit card payments anywhere their Smartphone’s can connect to http://m.propay.com/. With ProPay Mobile merchants can:

  •  Process credit or debit cards in real time
  • Transfer funds from their ProPay accounts to a validated bank account
  • View account balances, transactions in process, and total monthly amount processed

In addition to the ProPay Mobile optimized browser, ProPay offers merchants additional mobile solutions that enable merchants to accept and process credit and debit card payments on the go including:

 MicroSecure™ Card Reader – The MicroSecure Card Reader is a small, easy to use swipe device that provides real-time credit and debit card processing and authorization when connected to an internet enabled computer. If internet access is not available, the MicroSecure Card Reader provides store-and-forward capabilities for capturing the payment data and processing those transactions later. The MicroSecure Card Reader encrypts payment card data at swipe to ensure that it is secure through transmission and processing. Merchants also have the option to store the payment data in ProPay’s secure data storage service for other transactions such as repeat billing.

 ProPay/VeriFone PAYware Mobile™ Bundle – Recently, ProPay partnered with VeriFone® to offer a mobile processing bundle that includes a ProPay Merchant Account and VeriFone’s PAYware Mobile device. Merchants receive a robust merchant account and the ability to accept and process credit and debit cards using their iPhone 3 or 3GS.

 IVR Phone Processing – ProPay’s IVR Phone Processing service provides a simple, secure, and cost-effective credit and debit card processing option which is accessible 24 hours per day, 365 days per year via a toll free number. This solution is ideal for any mobile business that needs a real-time credit or debit card authorization. Transactions are immediately approved or declined.

 Create your opportunity to make a sale with ProPay’s suite of mobile payment processing options. To learn more click here.

The holiday season is upon us.  Consumers are all a commotion in finding the best prices, the greatest toys, electronics, and clothing for their friends and family.  What most people do not consider are the threats dealing with credit card fraud, scamming, identity theft, and even now your children are at risk.

A large number of households have computers.  Your teenagers are constantly searching for the latest gadget on the market and in doing so, clicking through web pages.  What they most likely do not realize, other web pages pop up and are immediately clicked.  These pages, appealing to the eye, with the possibility of winning free merchandise, may just be a scam.  “So what happens if your teenager does start giving out his name, email address and other personal information? His data is then sold to marketers and in worst case scenario it could be used for identity theft,” stated Stacey Bradford (http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-111267-7371-6-holiday-scams-targeting-kids?ywaad=ad0035&nc).  

Overall, inform your teenagers and children to never give out their personal information.   Once a data thief has certain information, they will immediately put it to use and possibly steal your identity.  If you or your children receive an email or asked to provide information in order to receive a product, beware, this may be phishing.  The ProPay Resource Center is a valuable tool to help educate on what to look out for, what red flags may signify a possible attack.

This morning I was reading on Yahoo! Finance and came across an article informing of the most risky places to give out your social security number.  According to Kiplinger.com, the top ten most dangerous places to give out your social security number are listed below:

  1. Universities and colleges
  2. Banking and financial institutions
  3. Hospitals
  4. State governments
  5. Local government
  6. Federal government
  7. Medical businesses
  8. Non-profit organizations
  9. Technology companies
  10. Health insurers and medical offices

This ‘top ten’ list is based on breaches from January 2009-October 2010 involving Social Security numbers.  What’s more startling is that Social Security numbers are required by law or by the groups’ policies in order to receive services.  Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Identity Theft 911 said, “It’s obvious there is no slam-dunk 100% way to protect yourself.  Everywhere you turn, you’re going to run into an organization looking for information from you.” (http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/111238/10-riskiest-places-to-give-your-social-security-number?mod=bb-budgeting)

So how can consumers relieve themselves from the headache of the possibility of their personal information being breached?  Although  the vast majority of stores try to pull some information from you, whether it is signing-up for a new credit card, or simply requesting your zip code upon check out at retail stores.  Adam Levin suggested a few ways to save yourself from the hardship of identity theft,

  • Don’t be so quick to give out your number
  • Lock away your social security card
  • Protect your number from cyber thieves
  • Control the damage

Overall, ask yourself before giving out sensitive information, if the information is really required or needed.  Do not quickly hand over your social security numbers, or other sensitive information, and make sure to keep your SSN, account numbers, or any other personal information in a safe environment.

Travis Allen | Marketing Coordinator, Emerging Markets