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What is a CVV Number on a Credit Card?

11:58 AM Mar 04, 2023 IST | APN Live
what is a cvv number on a credit card

In many instances, the CVV number of a credit card is required while making a transaction online. Get the best credit cards for free with no hidden fees. You’ve probably filled in a CVV, or card verification value, hundreds of times, but have you ever stopped to consider what it is? Know more about “what is the meaning of cvv?”  here.


What is CVV?

A card verification value (CVV) is a three or four digit number on your card that serves as an extra security measure when making purchases online or over the phone. So secure your card number and CVV as this feature also ensures that someone else can’t make a transaction using your card. 


CVVs and their Goals

Although using chip-enabled cards has dramatically reduced the incidence of physical card fraud, thieves have turned their attention to online platforms. Internet-based identity theft has taken over the production of counterfeit cards. Banks and credit card companies utilise CVVs to lower the risk of fraudulent online purchases.

Most debit and best credit cards have a pair of CVVs printed on the back. The first is present on the card’s magnetic strip, while the second is shown on the back of the card for online purchases. You’ll need this to complete your transaction on the web.


Where is the CVV located on your card?

CVV is located inside or just above the signature strip on the back of the card. If you don’t know how to identify if it is a cvv number, just focus on the three-digit code present on the back of the card. It is the standard for Visa and Mastercard cards, but for American Express it is four digits and displayed on the front of the card, just over the company’s emblem.

Are CVVs and PINs the Same Thing?

A ‘personal identification number’ (PIN) is a number chosen by the user. While most financial institutions accept only four-digit PINs, others provide extensive codes. PINs are used for cash withdrawals and purchases on cards. And these PINs are not the same as CVVs. A CVV is a unique number generated by the card issuer for each card.

Is the CVV number different on a replacement card?

The CVV number is a unique identifier and for security reasons it is different when you replace your new credit card apply with an old one. In case your card expires and you need a new one, the bank will issue it, and you’ll get a new CVV code. 

How is CVV generated –

CVVs are not meaningless three or four digit codes. Instead, they are generated by the bank using the primary account number, expiration date in four-digit format and a pair of DES (Data Encryption Standard) keys and a three-digit service code. The specific algorithms employed have yet to be discovered and that’s for the best.

What Can You Do to Safeguard Your CVV?

Like any other sensitive financial information, you should keep your CVV secure to avoid being a victim of credit card fraud. If you want to keep your CVV safe from identity thieves, here are seven easy steps.

  • Install anti-virus software on your PC. This checks for malicious software, including viruses, keyloggers, and other forms of spyware.
  • Create a password for your home WiFi network. If you don’t, anyone in range can access your network, spy on your communications, and steal your data.
  • Keep your financial details to just any website. Websites lacking the prefix ‘https:’ in their address should be avoided, as should any that lack a verifiable SSL lock icon in your browser.  
  • When you’re away from home, use a virtual private network. While utilising a virtual private network (VPN) at home could be considered excessive, it is highly recommended when using a public network or a hotel’s WiFi.
  • Only show someone a photo of your credit card, even close. Your credit card information is vulnerable to fraud.

Credit Card Number Verification Value (CVV) and EMV Chip Cards

Using chip-based debit and credit cards has increased security for in-person transactions at both banks and retailers. Its innovation over the magnetic strip allows the card’s internal code to fluctuate with each scan. To no one’s surprise, this has dramatically helped cut down on fraud.

But what about CNP transactions (card-not-present) like those done over the phone or online? There is a CVV printed on your card since a physical chip would be useless. Even though stores aren’t supposed to save CVVs digitally, the most sophisticated thieves still find ways to get their hands on them.

This issue has a proposed solution known as dynamic CVV, allowing the printed code to vary at regular intervals. This would take place on a tiny screen powered by a lithium battery on the back of the card. This may be a sure thing, but while technology has its benefits, it has challenges. Difficulties arise when choosing the code-change frequency, and the cards would likely cost four to five times as much to manufacture as present models. Yet, the potential fraud cost savings may be sufficient to offset any future increases in manufacturing expenses.