Fine print, New products

Why is my card printed upside down?!

Sienna Kossman

I’ve noticed that issuers are experimenting with different looks for credit cards these days. Some are printing card numbers instead of embossing them on the cards, while others are moving card information from the front to the back. Some have chips, others don’t.

But when my newest credit card arrived, its design was, well, a bit perplexing as the information on the back is printed upside down.

I recently opened a Citi Diamond Preferred card to take advantage of a long 0-percent APR offer and when the card arrived early last week, I didn’t notice anything odd at first. The card has a chip on the front above my embossed name, card number and expiration date. I thought the card looked particularly sleek, as it has a matte black finish, but I put it aside.

When I got around to calling to activate the card, I was asked to enter the 3-digit security code on the back of the card, so I flipped my card over and, to my surprise, everything on the back appeared to be upside down, including the security code. I could make out the upside down numbers, but if I wanted to read anything else I’d have to turn the card again.

Citicardfront1   citicardbackupsidedown2
On right, the card was flipped to the left, no turning. The security code numbers are covered up but those are upside down, too.

Confused, I entered the security code and finished the card activation process. When I hung up the phone, I was still confused, thinking maybe I was just looking at the card wrong or flipped it over in an odd way.

So I compared it to other cards in my wallet, flipping each card over the same way to compare how the text looks. Yep, the back of my new Citi card looks weird.

This is an example of how all my other credit cards look when flipped over the same way:

usbankcardfront     usbankcardback
On right, the card was flipped to the left, no turning. None of the text is upside down. The security code numbers are covered up but those are right side up, too.

In order to clearly read the information on the back of my new Citi Diamond Preferred card, I have to flip the card over vertically instead of sideways like I’ve been accustomed too.

Odd, right? I’ve never seen anything like it.

I called the Citibank customer service number listed on the back of my card to find out if my card was printed wrong or if this is intentional.

The customer service representative I spoke with laughed when I told her what the back of my card looks like. She said she has no idea why it was printed this way — she’d never really examined the back of this card — and offered to send me a new card, if I would like. I declined, because the card works just fine, I was just wondering why it looks the way it does.

Still curious, I did a quick Google search: “Why is the back of my Citi Diamond Preferred card printed upside down?”

It wasn’t very helpful, but I did find a forum thread from a few years ago where people asked similar questions about a Citi AAdvantage card. Some respondents said its standard for all Citibank cards, but that was it.

So, like a true millennial, I took to Twitter and asked the Citi help account what’s up.

Here’s what Citi had to say:

twitter conversation with citi_edit

Huh, OK. So I don’t have an oddball card. If you open a Citi Diamond Preferred account and notice the upside-down print, know its intentional and not a card production accident. I’ll update this post if I receive any more information from Citibank about this.

Do you have any cards in your wallet – Citibank-issued or otherwise – that have odd characteristics? If so, let me know in the comments below!

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  • MaryJean Stanhope

    O just got my card and my sister was looking at it and saw that it was oddly printed and she was convinced it was a fake card. So I showes her the other ones I found on why it’s like that and she just kinda laughted