Whenever you make an online purchase, you need to enter your credit card CVV number to process your transaction. It is also known as a Card Security Code or Card Verification Value. It is a three-digit number at the back of your credit card that adds an extra layer of security while making online purchases. It ensures that you have a physical credit card and protects your transaction against online fraud.

 

So, what is the meaning of CVV on a credit card? 

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, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards is a three-digit number located at the back of your credit card. There are other credit cards that come with four digits on the front of the credit card located above the account.

When you purchase from merchant outlets, you will need to enter your PIN to authenticate the transaction. But, for an online transaction, you will have to enter both 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, date of expiry to initiate the transaction. You will then be required to enter your credit card CVV number to authenticate it. It ensures security in case someone steals your credit card number and the expiration date. 

 

What does CVV stand for?

The abbreviation of CVV is Card Verification Value. It is usually a three or four-digit number found on your credit card and debit card. Different issuers have different names or acronyms for this security feature in the credit card Industry. 

The below table contains the different names for CVV:

Acronym

Definition 

Issuer

CID

Card Identification Number

Discover

CVC

Card Validation Code 

Mastercard

CSC

Card Security Code

Debit Card

CVV

Card Verification Value

VISA

 

Where to find CVV on your credit card? 

The CVV number and its location depend on the kind of credit card you have. For instance:

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

 

The purpose of a CVV number on your credit card

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

The best credit cards in India have this 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 breaches, 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 you have your credit card details stored in their database. It enables you to be stress-free even if your credit card information gets stolen.

 

Difference between a CVV number and a PIN

A PIN is a personal identification number that you create yourself after receiving your debit or credit number. Generally, it is a four-digit number. Your credit card PIN is best used when making cash advances, and your debit card’s PIN is used to withdraw cash from ATMs or initiate a purchase. Your credit card's PIN is different from its CVV. 

Your credit card CVV number is auto-generated by the issuing bank. It is printed on your credit card - either at the back or on the front. Your bank may provide you with a PIN at the time of issuing your credit card, but it is only temporary. You will be required to change your PIN online or from and never share the same with anyone. As with CVV, it comes already printed on your credit, and you cannot change it. 

 

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 that hackers use to steal your data.
  • Never leave your home’s WIFI without a password. Anyone having access to your internet can monitor your internet traffic and track all the information you send. So, ensure that you have a password-protected WIFI network. 
  • Identify trusted websites before entering your credit card’s information. Keep on 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 WIFI, it is better to use VPN software to protect your personal information. 
  • Never share your credit card photo on social media or with your friend. Someone could make unauthorized purchases with your compromised credit card.
  • If you receive emails or text messages that require your credit card’s information, be wary of such requests. They could be scammers. Inquire 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, make sure that you approved each one of those transactions. If you are charged for something that you do not know, contact your bank. 

 

Conclusion

Pay heed to the above-said points to understand what is the meaning of CVV, how to find your CVV, and how to protect yourself against fraud.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. Bank make no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Newsletter. 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 Kotak. Kotak, 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.

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.