Primary Account Number (PAN) Truncation Requirements: Suppression of Account Information on Transaction Receipts

Truncation - Protecting Customers’ Credit Card Numbers

With identity theft on the rise, it is increasingly important for you to help your customers protect their personal information – particularly their credit card number. While discussions on preventing identity theft often focus on steps consumers can take, it is essential for businesses to establish responsible information-handling practices.

What can you do to help fight identity theft? One of the best ways is to truncate credit card account numbers. “Card Truncation” is the ability of a terminal to mask or hide all but the last few digits of a card number on a receipt.

MasterCard® and Visa® Establish Truncation Requirements

Both MasterCard and Visa have established truncation requirements. The deadlines for customer receipt truncation for both Visa and MasterCard are listed below:

Visa Account Number Truncation Requirements

Effective April 1 2007, Visa Canada requires that at least four positions of the PAN be disguised or suppressed on the cardholder copy of the transaction receipt at all Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals. Visa strongly recommends disguising or suppressing all but the last four positions of the PAN.

MasterCard Account Number Truncation Requirements

Effective October 1 2008, MasterCard requires that the cardholder and merchant receipt generated by all electronic POS terminals – whether attended or unattended – omit the card expiration date. In addition, cardholder receipts must only display the last four (4) digits of the PAN. All preceding digits of the PAN must be replaced with fill characters that are neither blank spaces nor numeric characters, such as “X,” “*,” or “#.”

MasterCard strongly suggests that the merchant copy generated by all electronic POS terminals, whether attended or unattended, reflect only the last four (4) digits of the PAN and that all preceding digits be replaced with fill characters that are neither blank spaces nor numeric characters, such as “X,” “*,” or “#.”

POS terminals that currently mask the PAN on the cardholder receipts (reflecting only the last four digits) may implement the truncation of the expiration date – from cardholder and merchant receipts – with future software updates, no later than December 31, 2010.