Q:

Why would anyone want to generate credit card numbers?

A:

Quick Answer

One reason for using generated credit card numbers is bank account security, explains Bank of America. Banks generate the numbers to use for online shopping, so the account holder is not providing personal banking information. The temporary number works like a real credit card, but expires within a designated time.

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Full Answer

The other legitimate reason is computer system testing, notes PayPal. Large payment processors have pre-established credit card numbers that software developers can use when making sure that their systems process credit card data correctly. Before any computer system is ready for public use, it requires careful testing for multiple types of uses. Financial computer systems require testing for accuracy and usability, and also to assure that they meet various regulations and processing agreements.

Credit card numbers themselves have particular forms that have meaning, explains Gizmodo. Aside from codes indicating the type of card and issuer, they also contain security checks in the number. The credit card issuers themselves use software to generate the card numbers, since the process and amount of data is complex.

There is, of course, a less savory reason that someone might generate card numbers, which is to try to illegally use those numbers to steal from online shops. Fortunately, modern security practices provide some amount of protection against using these numbers for purchases, states Gizmodo.

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