We will not run out of credit card numbers – really?

Sometimes odd bits of news catch me by surprise. A recent CNBC report shared the scoop on why we’ll never run out of credit card numbers – it’s math!


Americans have lots of credit cards – about three per person. We also have debit cards and gift cards – all of them have 16 digits. Will we have enough numbers for the future? This report from CNBC shares why there’s no need to worry:

The potential 16-digit credit card combinations provide far more account numbers than could ever be used, according to Cris Poor, a mathematics professor at Fordham University. Poor says the 16-digit card numbers has a quadrillion possibilities.

By comparison, the world population is a mere 7.7 billion.

“So each person in the world could have more than a million potential credit numbers, and I don’t know anybody who has anywhere near that many credit cards,” Poor said.



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