American Express: Only 11 Digits?

I’m doing some data entry my buddy’s family business while they’re out of town. This involves putting in credit card numbers, address, etc.
I’ve had several card numbers that were short one number. Idly curious, I discovered they were all AmEx cards. Do AmEx cards really only have 11 digits, or do their owners universally forget to put that last digit in when ordering books online?

Well, clearly the only way to know is for a representative sample of AMEX and non-AMEX users to post their credit card numbers.

Don’t forget those expiration dates!

Please do not actually do this. Do not post to the SDMB while in the shower. If ingested, do not induce vomiting; contact Poison Control immediately. This bag is not a toy; keep away from children. Professional driver on a closed course. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

American Express card numbers are universally 11 digits, and are always formatted like this:


as opposed to Visa and MasterCard numbers which are universally 12 digits and are always formatted like this:

I think everyone here means 15 and 16 digits, not 11 and 12 :stuck_out_tongue:

Right, 15 and 16. Just like we have 12 Supreme Court justices.
Thanks Hunter and Driver. I am fortified with new knowledge.

Math was never my strong point


Discovers are broken out the same way as Visa / MasterCard. And just as an aside:

All AmEx numbers start with the digit 3, all Visas with 4, all MasterCards with 5, and all Discovers with 6.

I’ve had trouble with this on websites. Once, I was trying to use Amex to pay fo something from a website which claimed to accept American Express. But whenever I would click “Pay” I would receive the following error message: “The card number you entered has only 15 digits. Please re-enter the card number correctly.” :smack:

I work in a call center taking phone catalog orders all day, and it totally baffled me the first time I got an Amex card, I was kinda waiting for the person to say the last number. Takes some getting used to.

Also, while it’s true that all Amexs start with 3, Visas with 4, and MCs with 5, Discovers have even more in common, they all (at least, every single one I’ve encountered, and when you take about 30-40 credit card orders per day for 7 months, that’s a lot) start with 6011.

I have learned way more about credit cards than I ever really was interested in knowing.

Some credit cards have an anti-theft hologram right under the first of the last four digits - which some people don’t seem to see. :eek:

The first 6 digits of a credit card number form the BIN (bank identification number). This number identifies the card type and the issuing bank. Since all Discover cards are issued by the same “bank” (which is Discover itself, unlike Visa and MasterCard – which are issued by member banks), they all start with the 6 - 011 - xx, where xx is a different number for each type of Discover (I think. You’d have to ask Discover for a definitive answer on the xx). My platinum has 00 for the xx, and my non-platinum uses 29. These may differ for you, but Discovers always start with 6011.

Also, another aside – all EBT (electronic benefits transfer (foodstamp)) cards start with 5081, followed by another 4 digits that vary by state – Florida’s is 3900, and then by 8 more that contain the customer’s account info.

Think I’m done now.

MEBuckner, you do know that most people never read the fine print, don’t you? :smiley:

I have had trouble paying on-line with an Amex card . This wasn’t to do with the main number but the extra “security number” which is printed on all credit , debit and charge cards here in the UK. On every card except Amex this number is three digits . When you pay on-line you are asked for this security code alongside such data as the expiry date. The Amex security code is made up of 4 digits and some web-sites are only set up to handle 3 digits. This means you cannot input the number correctly and the payment gets rejected. I have only come across this on some web-sites. Let’s hope that the payment companies update their systems to handle this extra digit.