The Next Big Credit Card Redesign

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you receive a new Visa credit card that looks mostly blank on the front, don’t worry, it’s probably not a fake.

Visa is trying out a new design on select cards, placing the 16-digit number, expiration date and Visa logo on the back of the card and leaving the front empty except for the name of the cardholder and bank in an effort to boost the visibility of the financial institution issuing the card.

Visa wouldn’t say specifically which cards have been redesigned, but Chase confirmed to MainStreet that its Sapphire card is one of the first – if not the first – to be overhauled. Those who receive a Sapphire card now will notice the back is crowded with all the main account information just below the three-digit verification number, along with the Visa logo in the corner, but the front is clean and features the Chase brand name prominently.

"In an effort to help our financial institutions pursue options to maximize their branding opportunity on Visa cards, while maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the Visa brand, we are evaluating refinements that allow for the alternative placement of account information and security elements through limited market programs," a Visa spokesperson said in a statement.

Laura Rossi, the director of public relations at Chase Card Services, hinted that this change might improve the security of the card in addition to the appearance, noting that the redesign could prove to be “an added security feature for consumers.” She didn’t elaborate exactly as to how.

The credit experts MainStreet spoke with speculated that the new design could, in theory, serve as a modest fraud deterrent for consumers because all the sensitive information is on the back and would face away from the cashier when you swipe, reducing the chances that someone could try memorize your number.