How to activate a mastercard

Updated March 23, 2017

MasterCard is the brand name used on millions of credit and debit cards worldwide. The original company was formed in 1966. MasterCard licenses its name to banks and financial institutions. The company does not issue cards. All aspects of account management are dealt with by the bank that issued your card. The process of activating a MasterCard is the same, no matter what type of card or bank issuer. Activate your MasterCard by calling a toll-free number. Your card cannot be used until it has been activated.

Activate a MasterCard by calling the toll-free number from the sticker on the front of your card. The activation system is automatic, so listen carefully to the instructions.

Enter or say the full card number displayed on the front of your card when prompted. Enter or say the expiration date. Enter or say the three-digit CVC security number on the reverse of your card to continue to activate your MasterCard.

Answer a personal question that only you would know to verify your identity. This may include the last four digits of your social security number, your date of birth or the full address where the card is registered. Your MasterCard will be activated and ready to use.


Use your home phone to call to activate your card. The automatic system will recognise the number you are calling from. This forms part of the security measures for card activation. The personal question requested by the automatic activation system may be slightly different, depending on the card issuer but will typically be information you supplied at the time you applied for your card. If you make a mistake during the application process, you will be asked to provide the information again. If you continue to provide information that does not match your records, you will be transferred to a call centre assistant. Further personal details will be needed to confirm your identity before your card can be activated. If you have registered for online card management, you may be able to activate your MasterCard online. Log on to your card issuers’ website. Click ”Activate my card” then follow the simple online instructions. Your card will be activated.

Things You'll Need

  • MasterCard
  • Telephone
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About the Author

Stephen Benham has been writing since 1999. His current articles appear on various websites. Benham has worked as an insurance research writer for Axco Services, producing reports in many countries. He has been an underwriting member at Lloyd's of London and a director of three companies. Benham has a diploma in business studies from South Essex College, U.K.