What Is the Hologram on Credit Cards Used For?

Woman using a credit card for a purchase.
Image Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc../Blend Images/Getty Images

With security breaches and personal identify theft on the rise, credit card issuers use various techniques to protect their card holders' money by thwarting the unauthorized use of stolen credit cards. Holograms are one of the tools companies use as a deterrent to theft.



The holograms found on credit cards are made up of several layers of images taken at different angles and stacked on top of one another. The image therefore appears to change when it is moved even slightly. The way the image appears on the credit card makes it appear as though it is raised above the plastic, giving it a look of depth.


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Theft Deterrant

Holograms prevent counterfeiting because the multiple images of a hologram cannot be scanned by an optical computer scanner or copied on a photocopier. In addition, holograms generally have hidden images placed within them to provide immediate authentication and validation.


Security Holograms

Security holograms, originated in the early 1980s by MasterCard International, are used not only on credit cards, but on passports, expensive electronics and even banknotes.