What does Primary Account Number (PAN) mean?
Pertaining to credit card terminology, the primary account number is actually the series of numbers which appears embossed on the card itself. Its primary role is to give indication as to the issuer (banking institution) of the card and cardholder related information. It usually is a series of numbers containing 16 digits, and besides being embossed on the card this information is also to be found (encrypted) in the magnetic stripe of the card. The first digit usually gives information about the issuer institution whether it is a bank or another agency/institution/company (usually 4 or 5 denote the respective card is issued by a bank).