Credit Card CVV Number: Full Form, Meaning, Benefits & Difference
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CVV, or Card Verification Value, is a pivotal security feature on credit and debit cards. It comprises three digits and acts as a robust defence mechanism during online transactions. Also referred to as Card Security Code, this number on the card's back safeguards purchases by confirming the card's physical presence.

It is essential in thwarting online fraud, emphasising the need to shield it from threats like unauthorised access. In digital transactions, safeguarding your credit card CVV number is important to ensure the integrity of your financial interactions.

What is a CVV Number?

In addition to your credit card number and expiry date, there is a number on your credit card known as CVV. Different credit card issuers have different names and locations for CVV. For instance, the CVV for VISA and MasterCard is a three-digit number on the back of your credit card. Some international credit cards come with four digits on the front of the credit card located above the account.

You must enter your PIN to authenticate the transaction when you purchase from merchant outlets. But, for an online transaction, you must enter your credit card CVV number and a one-time password sent to the registered number. It is provided by issuing banks to protect customers against fraud.

In online transactions, you are required to present your name mentioned on the card, credit card number, and date of expiry to initiate the transaction. You must then enter your credit card CVV number to authenticate. It ensures security if someone steals your credit card number and the expiration date.

The below table contains the different names for CVV:





Card Identification Number



Card Validation Code



Card Security Code

Debit Card


Card Verification Value



How is a CVV Number Generated?

No, that we know what CVV number means, it is also important to know how it is generated. CVV numbers are systematically generated by banks using specific information. This process involves the primary account number, a four-digit expiration date, a pair of DES (Data Encryption Standard) keys, and a three-digit service code.

The precise algorithms employed are undisclosed for security reasons. This approach ensures the uniqueness and unpredictability of each CVV, adding a layer of protection to credit and debit card transactions online.

Where to find CVV Number on your Credit Card?

Wondering where the CVV on a credit card is? Well, the CVV number and its location will depend on the kind of credit card you have. For instance:

  • The CVV number of VISA and MasterCard is printed on the back of the card above the signature panel.
  • The CVV is a three-digit number printed on the credit card rather than embossed in raised lettering.

Components of a CVV Number

There are two components of a CVV number on a card:

  • The first portion is encased within a striped magnetic strip, housing crucial and unique credit card data.
  • The second part comprises digits that require entry during online or telephonic transactions.

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The purpose of a CVV number on your credit card

Merchants store your credit information so you do not have to re-enter your credit card details every time you purchase. However, it is worth noting that if your credit card information is stored somewhere, it is prone to theft.

All the best credit cards in India have the CVV number that adds an extra layer of protection during a transaction. Merchants are not allowed to store CVV numbers. So, even if the merchant's database is breached, the hackers will not have your CVV number. With your credit card CVV number, they cannot use your credit card.

You might have observed that whenever you buy something from websites like Amazon, Flipkart, etc., you need to enter your CVV number even though your credit card details are stored in their database. It enables you to remain stress-free even if your credit card information gets stolen.

Difference Between a CVV Number and PIN Number


CVV Number


Full form

Card Verification Value

Personal Identification Number

Length of digits

Three to four-digits

Four digits or more for some cards


Online transactions

Cash advances through credit cards or cash withdrawals through debit card


Permanent; designated with the card and cannot be changed by the user

Temporary; generated by the bank and can be changed periodically by the user

Ways to protect your credit card’s CVV

With the rising number of frauds and scammers in the online market, it is imperative to take some measures to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud. Treat your credit card CVV number as any sensitive financial information.

Here are the top tips to prevent your CVV number from falling into the wrong hands:

  • The first thing you need to do is install antivirus software on your computer. The software will scan for viruses, keyboard-logging software, and other online tools hackers use to steal your data.
  • Never leave your home WI-FI without a password. Anyone with access to your internet can monitor your internet traffic and track all the information you send. So, ensure you have a password-protected WI-FI network.
  • Identify trusted websites before entering your credit card information. Avoid using websites without “HTTPS:” in the address. You must also avoid websites that do not have a padlock in the browser window.
  • Whenever you are on the go or using public WI-FI, it is better to use VPN software to protect your personal information.
  • Never share your credit card picture on social media or with your friends. Someone could make unauthorized purchases with your compromised credit card.
  • If you receive emails or text messages requiring credit card information, be wary of such requests. They could be scammers. Inquire about the reason for their request. If it is an unsolicited request, it would be wise to ignore such emails.
  • A golden piece of advice would be to review your transactions online daily. Also, when you receive your account statement in your email, confirm the legitimacy of each transaction. If unfamiliar charges arise, promptly notify and seek clarification from your bank.

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Understanding the significance of CVV is helpful for secure credit card transactions. This three-to-four-digit code serves as an authentication layer, safeguarding online purchases. Recognising the CVV meaning in credit cards and knowing where to find it empowers users to enhance their financial security during digital transactions. Stay informed to ensure safe and protected online transactions with your credit card.


Q1. Do all credit cards have a credit card CVV number?

Yes, virtually all credit cards possess a CVV number, a vital security feature for online transactions.

Q2. Is it safe to share my credit card CVV number with merchants?

No, it's not safe. Avoid sharing your CVV with merchants to prevent unauthorized transactions and enhance card security.

Q3. Can I use my credit card without the credit card CVV number?

In many cases, the CVV is mandatory for online transactions, ensuring an added layer of security.

Q4. Is the credit card CVV the same as the card's PIN (Personal Identification Number)?

No, the CVV and PIN are different. The CVV is for online transactions, while the PIN is for physical card usage.

Q5. Is the credit card CVV number required for every transaction?

No, but it is essential for online transactions, enhancing security and preventing fraudulent activities.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein. Tax laws are subject to amendment from time to time. The above information is for general understanding and reference. This is not legal advice or tax advice, and users are advised to consult their tax advisors before making any decision or taking any action.