CVV Number: What It Is, How It Works and More
When you make an online purchase using your credit or debit card, the card number and the expiration date are not the only information you are asked for. The vendor will also require your CVV number to process your transaction. What is CVV, how to find it, why it is so important, and more – read on to find out.
What Is CVV?
CVV stands for Card Verification Value. It is a 3-digit code, also known as a card verification code or card security code. CVV is printed at the back of a credit or debit card and adds an additional security layer to protect your sensitive data during online transactions.
How Is CVV Generated?
The CVV number is not a random number but is cleverly generated by debit/credit card issuers (banks or other financial institutions) based on the following details:
- Card Number
- Service Code
- Card Expiry Date
- Issuer’s Unique Code
For obvious reasons, the precise algorithms used are unknown.
Where to Find CVV Number on the Card?
For Visa and Mastercard, the CVV is a three-digit code printed on the back of the card, usually inside or just above the signature strip.
What Is the Purpose of the CVV?
All credit card and debit card providers have created a system where every card generated has a unique CVV code. This code is generally required when you are making online or virtual transactions using your card. The purpose of the CVV is to establish the owner’s identity and help safeguard the credit and debit card against theft, fraud, or unauthorized transactions.
How CVV Protects You From Identity Theft?
Debit and credit cards are generally used for virtual payment gateways or online transactions. It is against the law for these portals to save the CVV number of the cardholder. This means that even if the vendors have your card details, they cannot access your CVV. Since the CVV is not stored in the databases, in situations where your card information is compromised, the fraudster cannot use your card because they cannot access the CVV. Hence, CVV acts as a security layer and protects your card against identity theft and other fraudulent activities.
Is CVV the Same as My Card’s Pin?
No. Your CVV is not the same as your card’s PIN.
|User-created personal identification number||Automatically generated and printed on the back of the card by the credit card issuers|
|Mostly a 4-digit number||3-digit code|
|For credit cards, PIN is used for cash advances and
for debit cards, PIN is used for cash withdrawals
from ATM and point of sale (POS)s
|Used for online transactions or for virtual payment
The Bottom Line
All credit cards and debit cards have CVVs to prevent fraudulent purchases made online or on the phone. CVV is harder to access than your other card information, but it doesn’t always guarantee protection. They help prevent fraud, but they are not foolproof. Therefore, it is important that you always take necessary precautions to protect yourself while transacting online or on your phone.