First, they added chip technology to our credit cards, which took some time to get used to. Now, credit card numbers are migrating to the back of credit cards.

Do you know why credit card companies have decided to move the card number and expiration date to the back? The various reasons might surprise you.

It’s Simply Easier To Read

Have you ever had a credit card with raised numbers on a background image? These can be extremely difficult to read when manually inputting the numbers. Online shopping has proliferated, and today about 96 percent of Americans shop online at least occasionally. Often, you must manually type the numbers from your credit card into an e-commerce site to complete the purchase.

Numbers on the back of the card become much easier to read. No need to tilt the card and try to get just the right lighting to hit the numbers so you can read them. Just flip your card over and read the black text from the back of the card to complete your order.

Tech Advances

Credit Card Numbers

Even though moving the numbers to the back of the card doesn’t necessarily make the card more secure, the rationale behind relocating the numbers also has to do with massive credit card fraud and the changes credit card companies have made in recent years to protect your information better.

The United States has the second-highest rate of credit card fraud in the world, behind only Mexico. In an attempt to combat this, credit card companies have begun making mechanical changes to the way credit cards function. One obvious way they’ve done this is to use smart chips in their cards.

With traditional magnetic strips, a criminal can skim your card with equipment that only costs around $100. However, a card with a chip is much harder for a thief to duplicate. While the exact security impact of moving the numbers is not yet evident to those not in the industry, experts have suggested that there is a security incentive behind the move.

Competition Among Card Companies

Credit Card

Credit card companies must vie for consumers’ attention. Today, there are numerous financial options, including digital payment solutions such as PayPal and Square. Even small elements can make a difference in whether the consumer uses one card over another payment method. Card issuers take this into account and try to get an edge with things such as design.

A streamlined card with a beautiful design on the front is going to stand out in the consumer’s wallet. Removing the numbers from the front allows a clean overall look for the design on the front of the card. It opens up the possibility to use any color the designer would like because there is no worry about numbers being obscured.

This is a big part of the reason for the new designs with numbers on the back. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, but, as stated, putting everything on the back of the card helps online shoppers who must input their card number, expiration date, and three-digit code. And stores don’t need physical numbers to process payments anymore, so designers have also taken advantage of this fact.

Trends Change

Even though the current trend is to put credit card numbers on the back of the card, this trend could easily change anytime. It boils down to the fact that cards don’t require the same information they once did to function effectively.

Card manufacturers are doing everything they can to stand out from the competition, so if everyone moves to a back-of-card model, you can be certain someone will come along and mix things up. It will be interesting to see where credit card design trends go in coming years.

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Kate Harveston
Kate Harveston is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania. She mainly writes about legal issues and the political realm, but her work has covered a wide range of topics. If you like her writing, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog,