Black Light Check for Credit Card

Woman with Card

A black light check for credit cards will reveal a security feature not many people know about. Most major credit cards feature images on the faces of credit cards that can only be seen under a black light.

Security Features

The use of black light check for credit cards and currency is a common practice. Place an authentic dollar bill under a black light and a security thread will glow under the light. The location of the security thread depends on the denomination of the bill. This can be one of the quickest methods for discovering counterfeit bills.

The same method can be used for credit cards. Images that are not visible to the naked eye exist on the face of credit cards to immediately reveal whether a card is an authentic card or if it is a fake. While this method does not reveal if the account attached to the card is active, it does indicate whether or not the card itself originated from an authentic source. A black light conveniently located near a merchant's register allows a customer service representative to quickly scan the card.

Hidden Images

The images visible under black light depend on the type of credit card. It is important for merchants to become familiar with what images correspond to each major credit card. The mere existence of an image under a black light on a credit card does not guarantee its authenticity. Merchants should also question the authenticity of a credit card if an image appears under black light but appears damaged or otherwise incorrect from what the image should look like.

Black Light Check for Credit Card Images

Each major credit card company has its own special security image that shows up under a black light. They are as follows:

Visa Cards

Place a Visa card under a black light and the image of a dove should be visible near the center of the card. If the dove is not centered on the face of the card, or if the image is distorted, the card may be counterfeit.


MasterCard places the letters "MC" on the face of their credit cards. These capital letters should be clearly visible under a black light.

American Express

Authentic American Express credit cards placed under black lights should spell out "AMEX" with a globe in between the letters "AM" and "EX." This image is placed in the center of the card. Different placement, or the absence of the globe image in the center of the text, may indicate a fake card.

Discover Card

Discover used to place the text "NOVUS" on the face of cards to be visible under black lights. It has since made the switch to placing the word "DISCOVER" across the front of the cards, visible only under a black light. Cards with either image can be considered authentic as some cards issued before the switch to the new image have not yet expired.

Buy Black Lights for Security Checks

Several merchants offer black lights for security use. These black lights can also be used to determine whether a written check is authentic or fake. A few of these merchants are:


It is important to remember that the existence of a black light image on a credit card does not guarantee that the card is authentic or that the card is not a stolen credit card. The images are meant to simply be additional security features to help merchants quickly recognize counterfeit credit cards.

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Black Light Check for Credit Card