CVV is the abbreviation of “card verification value”. It is a three or four-digit number usually mentioned on the front or back of the credit or debit card.
A CVV security code is an anti-fraud security feature that provides you safety and security when making purchases online or by phone.
It helps a merchant to confirm that the card owner is in possession of his card in case of online purchases. As per PCI DSS compliance requirements, a merchant cannot store a CVV number.
A CVV number is also called Card Identification Number (CID), Card Validation Code (CVC2), Card Security Code (CSC) and Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2).
How to Find Your Credit/Debit Card CVV Security Code?
The CVV number or CVV Security code is a numerical code that is printed either on the back or front of the card. Visa, Discover, JCB and MasterCard have a three-digit CVV number that is printed on the backside of the card near the signature block. On the other hand, American Express calls it a Card Identification Number (CID number) instead of a CVV number. American Express has a four-digit CID number which is printed on the front side of the card.
The CVV number is not transmitted on swiping, dipping or tapping the card during a card-present transaction.
Why Do Credit Cards Have CVV Codes?
The CVV security code adds a layer of additional security. In card-not-present transactions, that is transactions that are done online or over the phone; there is no way a merchant can check your signature. So, the merchant asks for a CVV security code to verify you are the rightful owner of the card.
The magnetic stripe on back side of the credit or debit card stores all data about your bank account but does not store the CVV Security code. In case a thief steals your card account number with the help of a skimmer, the thief would be unable to make any purchase online that requires a CVV number.
The CVV security code provides an additional way for merchants who accept payments through mobile credit card processing to confirm that it is the cardholder only who is buying from them.
Moreover, as per industry regulations, the merchants are prohibited from storing the cardholder’s data. So, if any data breach occurs at the merchant’s end, even in that case, you are protected because your CVV number is not stored in the merchant’s database.
Also Read – Protecting Your CVV Code While Shopping Online
How to Keep Your Credit or Debit Card Number Safe?
Though CVV security code does provide an extra layer of security, that does not mean you can let off the guard as scammers can use malware to grab your CVV number during online transactions.
The following measures should be taken while shopping online:
- Sign-up for a Password Manager- One way to boost your online security is to use a password manager as it creates strong and unique passwords for each account. Also, the password manager stores password in an encrypted form online. The password managers help you lock your passwords and personal information in a secure vault.
- Shop on Secure Websites- Secure websites use encryption and authentication standards to protect the confidentiality of web transactions. The URL of a secure website begins with “https”, where “s” stands for security. So, whenever you shop, choose a secure website to protect yourself.
- Monitor Your Accounts- You should always review your account statements on regular basis and scan for any suspicious transaction. If you lose your card, then immediately contact your bank to get it blocked. Keep track of deposits, fund transfers, and monitor suspicious activity.
- Do Not Click on Suspicious Emails- Scammers send emails and text messages to trick you into giving them your passwords, account numbers, CVV number, or social security number to gain access to your bank accounts. Do not click on any suspicious email or links to stop criminals from stealing your personal information. Recognise and avoid phishing scams.
When Used Wisely, Credit/Debit Cards Are a Great Tool
Cards have become a widely used source of payment when purchasing online and offer many advantages. The main benefit the card provides is convenience. The security features are constantly updated and tightened to protect you from frauds making it better than cash. If used responsibly, they are a valuable tool.
CVV security codes help to authenticate your identity. Though the CVV security code provides you extra security when making card-not-present transactions, you should still take extra precautions to avoid identity theft or online fraud.