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What is a Credit Card CVV / CVC Number?

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What the 3 digits on the back of your card mean and how they’re used to protect your finances.

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 CCV or CVC number. These three or four digits are located on the back of your card and are used to help secure your finances when using your card. Use this guide to find out what these numbers mean, what they’re used for and how they help protect your credit card.
What is a credit card CCV / CVC number image

How do credit cards work?

1234 5678 9111 1214 01/01 REBECCA KENNEDY EXPIRY CARD HOLDER CARD NUMBER 1234 5678 9111 1214 01/01 REBECCA KENNEDY EXPIRY CARD HOLDER CARD NUMBER 1212 121 Like the magnetic stripe, the chip contains your credit card number and expiration date. Unlike the stripe, the chip interacts with the machine that is reading it and encrypts the data and authenticate it more securely. 1 2 3 4 The first one or two digits of the card usually represents whether your card is a Visa, MasterCard or AMEX. The following six or so digits are the card number. The second to the fifth or sixth digits signifies the financial institution or bank that has distributed the card. The 16th number is usually the check digit (used to make sure the number is valid). The expiry digits refers to the month and year that your card will expire. 6 5 7 8 On all cards, the CVV number (Card Verification Value) is the three-digit (Visa and MasterCard security number on the back of your card. For American Express it is a four-digit security number on the back of your card.

How do credit cards work?

Hover over parts of the card to learn more about what they do

1234 5678 9111 1214 01/01 REBECCA KENNEDY EXPIRY CARD HOLDER CARD NUMBER Chip Like the magnetic stripe, the chip contains your credit card number and expiration date. Unlike the stripe, the chip interacts with the machine that is reading it and encrypts the data and authenticate it more securely. The first one or two digits of the card usually represents whether your card is a Visa, MasterCard or AMEX. The second to the fifth or sixth number signifies the financial institution or bank that has distributed the card. The following six or so digits are the card number. The 16th number is usually the check digit (used to make sure the number is valid). The expiry digits refers to the month and year that your card will expire.
121 Magnetic Stripe The magnetic stripe on credit cards holds information on a strip containing tiny iron-based magnetic particles. Your magnetic strip transmits your credit card number and expiration to any machine that can read it. CVV Number On all cards, the CVV number (Card Verification Value) is the three-digit (Visa and MasterCard) or four-digit (for American Express) security number on the back of your card.
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Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$0
16.99% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
16.99% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$95
14.99% to 25.99% variable
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Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. Rates & Fees
$450
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$550
None (Charge Card)
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
$0
13.99% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 13.99% variable)
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
$0
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
$0
12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable
0% for the first 18 months (then 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable)
An 18 months 0%% Intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
$0
16.24% to 22.24% variable
1.99% for the first 6 monthly billing cycles (then 16.24% to 22.24% variable)
1% cash back to the nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations of your choice.
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Enjoy a $0 annual fee on the first year and earn up to 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases. Rates & Fees
$95
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$495
16.99% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.99% variable)
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
$195
16.99% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.99% variable)
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
$995
16.99% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.99% variable)
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
$75 annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
23.9% variable
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
$75 annual fee for the first year ($48 thereafter)
29.99% fixed
The First Access Card is a true VISA® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
Up to
19.99% to 25.99% variable
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$35
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A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.

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What is a CVV or CVC number?

Your CVV number (or card verification value) or CVC (card verification code) on your credit card or debit card is a three or four-digit number on your card. 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. If you’re using an American Express issued card, the CVV will be a four-digit number found on the front of your card.

The CVV is an anti-fraud measure used when you’re making a purchase but aren’t required to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. This is why 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 and to avoid people using your card for fraudulent transactions.

As the CVV or CVC 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 the card and keep an eye on your statement to report any fraudulent transactions. The CVV or CVC number is considered a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is commonly used technology which is a digitally provided certification process.

Is a CVV or CVC number called anything else?

The credit card CVC and credit card CCV numbers are sometimes called different things depend on the credit card network or credit card company its issues through. For example, Mastercard calls the code CVC2, American Express refers to it as CID, Discover calls their code CID2, and Visa has dubbed it CVV2. Despite these different names, the codes all serve the same function and are used as a standardized security measure. In the case of ‘contactless’ cards there is generally a chip involved which supplies its own electronically generated series of codes. They are called Dynamic CVV or iCVV.

Are CVV or CVC numbers the same as my PIN?

No, your CVV or CVC number is different to the PIN code you use to make ATM withdrawals of EFTPOS transactions in-store. On the other hand, your CVC or CVV number is used for verifying online or over the phone payments when you can’t use your PIN or signature.

While the CVV or CVC 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 there are still chances that your credit card could still come victim to a scam. That’s why it’s important to only use your credit card on secure sites and keep 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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Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MaheshMarch 23, 2018

    Where is the CVV2 number in a card?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 23, 2018Staff

      Hello Mahesh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      A CVV2 code is a security feature of a debit card that is consisting of 3 digits and is located on the back of the card within the signature area. There may be a longer series of numbers but only the last three digits make up the CVV2 code.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    NileshMarch 9, 2018

    Display CVV number please.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Nilesh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      CVV is an anti-fraud security feature to help verify that you are in possession of your credit card. For Visa/Mastercard, the three-digit CVV number is printed on the signature panel on the back of the card immediately after the card’s account number. For American Express, the four-digit CVV number is printed on the front of the card above the card account number.

      Providing your CVV number to an online merchant proves that you actually have the physical credit or debit card. So, unfortunately, CVV numbers are not to be displayed online.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  3. Default Gravatar
    berylDecember 16, 2017

    I have given all the numbers on the back of my card not just last three is that safe

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldDecember 21, 2017

      Hi Beryl,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      Please note that these are very sensitive information you’re giving out. You have to make sure you’re transacting with a legitimate business or entity. It is our responsibility to make sure we are dealing with the right people. There are lots of fraudulent activities on the internet nowadays and it would be best that we’re always vigilant.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  4. Default Gravatar
    DariusOctober 9, 2017

    How do I get my CVV number

    • finder Customer Care
      JudithOctober 9, 2017Staff

      Hi Darius,

      Thanks for contacting finder, a comparison website and general information service.

      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. On the other hand, if you’re using an American Express issued card, the CVV will be a four-digit number found on the front of your card.

      On the page you’re reading, you may also check the where they are located by viewing the sample pictures.

      Best regards,
      Judith

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