Published on

7,055 Points

The Luhn checksum is often used in analog to digital systems such as

many countries ID cards, credit cards and more.

The purpose is NOT to encrypt the number but prevent simple errors

such as digit misplacement and (usually) single digit errors.

Take the following non-existant Visa credit card number:

This number is correct using the Luhn checksum method, this doesn't mean

you can use it to shop but programmers often use it to perform a preliminary

check prior to sending it on to be approved.

How is the number checked, let's start:

**right** from the digit 1]

As you can see 8 X 2 is written as 7, if the multiplication gives a value of 10

and above always combine the two digits together (e.g. 10 -> 1+0 = 1)

Since the right digit is 0 the number is correct!

Or in programmers language, 80 mod 10 = 0 means the number is correct, that is why Luhn is

also sometimes called MOD 10 checking.

Lets take a look at an invalid credit card number:

So, how do you generate a valid number ?!

The right most digit is the check digit which is why we always begin from the right

as described in the check above.

To generate the number we will begin with the digit 2 instead of 1:

NOTE! If the right digit at this stage was 0, then that would be the checkdigit.

Lets check it:

many countries ID cards, credit cards and more.

The purpose is NOT to encrypt the number but prevent simple errors

such as digit misplacement and (usually) single digit errors.

Take the following non-existant Visa credit card number:

```
4580 4580 4580 4580
```

This number is correct using the Luhn checksum method, this doesn't mean

you can use it to shop but programmers often use it to perform a preliminary

check prior to sending it on to be approved.

How is the number checked, let's start:

```
4580 4580 4580 4580
X
2121 2121 2121 2121
```

[for checking always start on the ```
----------------------------
8570 8570 8570 8570
```

Note that we perform single digit multiplication, top line by bottom line, right to left:```
0 X 1 = 0
8 X 2 = 16 -> 1+6 = 7
5 X 1 = 5
4 X 2 = 8
```

etc...As you can see 8 X 2 is written as 7, if the multiplication gives a value of 10

and above always combine the two digits together (e.g. 10 -> 1+0 = 1)

```
8+5+7+0+8+5+7+0+8+5+7+0+8+5+7+0 = 80
```

Since the right digit is 0 the number is correct!

Or in programmers language, 80 mod 10 = 0 means the number is correct, that is why Luhn is

also sometimes called MOD 10 checking.

Lets take a look at an invalid credit card number:

```
4580 1234 5678 9012
X
2121 2121 2121 2121
----------------------------
8570 2264 1658 9022
```

Again from the right column```
2X1=2, 1X2=2, 0X1=0, 9X2=18=>1+8=9, 8X1=8
```

etc...```
8+5+7+0+2+2+6+4+1+6+5+8+9+0+2+2 = 67
```

---> INVALID!! right digit needs to be 0 to be valid!So, how do you generate a valid number ?!

The right most digit is the check digit which is why we always begin from the right

as described in the check above.

To generate the number we will begin with the digit 2 instead of 1:

```
1234
X
1212
------
1438
1+4+3+8 = 16 -> 10-[right digit] -> 10-6=4
```

THIS IS THE CHECKDIGITNOTE! If the right digit at this stage was 0, then that would be the checkdigit.

Lets check it:

```
12344
X
12121
--------
14384
1+4+3+8+4 = 20
```

YUP! CORRECT!!
Ask questions about what you read

If you have a question about something within an article, you can receive help directly from the article author. Experts Exchange article authors are available to answer questions and further the discussion.