If you’re using your credit card to make a purchase online or over the phone, you’ll usually be asked to provide the name on your card, the account number, expiration date and something called your CVV number, or security code. These 3 or 4 digits are usually located on the back of your card and are used to help protect your finances when using your card.
What is a credit card CVV or CVC number?
Your CVV (card verification value or card verification code) is a 3 or 4-digit number found on the back of your credit card (or on the front of an American Express credit card). It is also commonly referred to as your credit card’s security code.
The CVV is an anti-fraud measure used when you’re not making a purchase in person and you can’t enter a PIN or sign a receipt. You’re often asked to enter your CVV number if you’re shopping online or making a purchase over the phone. This is so the merchant or payee can verify that you are indeed the cardholder, which can avoid people using your card for fraudulent transactions.
Where do I find my credit card CVV number?
If you have a Visa or Mastercard branded credit or debit card, it’ll be a 3 digit number located on the back of your card next to your signature. If you’re using an American Express issued card, the CVV will be a four-digit number found on the front of your card next to your account number.
How do credit cards work?
How do credit cards work?
Hover over parts of the card to learn more about what they
Since the CVV number is only printed on your card, it’s important that you keep your card safe and secure. If your card is lost or stolen, anyone could use the card to make online purchases or over the phone transactions without your permission. If this does happen, contact your card issuer immediately to cancel or freeze the card and keep an eye on your statement to report any fraudulent transactions. The CVV number is a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is a commonly used technology that has a digitally provided certification process.
Credit card CVV scams
While the CVV number is in place to protect your credit card from fraudulent transactions or phishing scams when using your card for online or phone transactions, it’s important to know that you could still fall victim to a credit card scam. That’s why it’s important to only use your credit card on secure sites and with trustworthy merchants, in addition to keeping track of your credit card statement to spot any suspicious transactions. If you do come across one, make sure to contact your bank immediately to report the issue and protect your finances.
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Frequently asked questions
The CVV number is also sometimes referred to as the CVC number (card verification code).
Additionally, the CVV number is sometimes called different things depend on the credit card network or provider. For example, Mastercard calls the code CVC2, American Express refers to it as CID and Visa has dubbed it CVV2. Despite these different names, the codes all serve the same purpose and are used as a standardized security measure.
No, your credit card CVV number is different to the PIN code you use to make ATM withdrawals or electronic payments on a debit/credit terminal. Your CVV number is actually used to verify online or over the phone payments when you can’t use your PIN or signature.
Since the invention of contactless payments or “tap & go”, there is a chip involved which supplies its own electronically generated series of codes, which is why you don’t have to enter a CVV number when you tap. These codes are called Dynamic CVV or iCVV.
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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