What is my Card security code?

Card security code

What is my security code?

The Card Security Code is usually a 3- or 4-digit number, which is not part of the credit card number. The CSC is typically printed on the back of a credit card (usually in the signature field).

A card security code (CSC), card verification data (CVD), card verification number, card verification value (CVV), card verification value code, card verification code (CVC), verification code (V-code or V code), or signature panel code (SPC) is a security feature for “card not present” payment card transactions instituted to reduce the incidence of credit card fraud.

The CSC is in addition to the bank card number which is embossed or printed on the card. The CSC is used as a security feature, in situations where a personal identification number (PIN) cannot be used.

The PIN is not printed or embedded on the card but is manually entered by the cardholder during point-of-sale (card present) transactions. Contactless card and chip cards may electronically generate their own code, such as iCVV or a dynamic CVV.

CSC was originally developed in the UK as an eleven-character alphanumeric code by Equifax employee Michael Stone in 1995. After testing with the Littlewoods Home Shopping group and NatWest bank, the concept was adopted by the UK Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) and streamlined to the three-digit code known today.

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Mastercard started issuing CVC2 numbers in 1997 and Visa in the United States issued them by 2001. American Express started to use the CSC in 1999, in response to growing Internet transactions and card member complaints of spending interruptions when the security of a card has been brought into question.

Security code has different names:

  1. “CAV” or “card authentication value” – JCB
  2. “CID”: “card ID”, “card identification number”, or “card identification code” – Discover, American Express (four digits on front of card)
  3. “CSC” or “card security code” – debit cards,[which?] American Express (three digits on the back of card)
  4. “CVC” or “card validation code” – Mastercard
  5. “CVD” or “card verification data” – Discover, sometimes used as the common initialism for this kind of code
  6. “CVE” or “Elo verification code” – Elo in Brazil
  7. “CVN” or “card validation number” – China UnionPay
  8. “CVV” or “card verification value” – Visa
Card security code
Card security code

Types of codes

There are several types of security codes and PVV (all generated from DES key in the bank in HSM modules):

  1. The first code, 3 numbers, called CVC1 or CVV1, is encoded on track one and two of the magnetic stripe of the card and used for card-present transactions, with signature (the second track also contains pin verification value, PVV, but now it is usually all zeroed out). The purpose of the code is to verify that a payment card is actually in the hand of the merchant (thus it should be different from CVV2). This code is automatically retrieved when the magnetic stripe of a card is read (swiped) on a point-of-sale (card present) device and is verified by the issuer. A limitation is that if the entire card has been duplicated and the magnetic stripe copied, then the code is still valid, even though you usually need to sign after that. (See credit card fraud § skimming.)
  2. The second code, and the most cited, is CVV2 or CVC2. This code is often used by merchants for card not present transactions including online purchases. In some countries in Western Europe, card issuers require a merchant to obtain the code when the cardholder is not present in person.
  3. Contactless and/or chip EMV cards supply their own electronically generated codes, such as iCVV or a dynamic CVV. It is described in public standards from EMVCo.
  4. Consumer Device Cardholder Verification code (CDCVM; for example Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, different apps with support for device crypto trust engine) deprecated use for PIN and CVC, now the smart device (smartwatch, smartphone, etc. needs to be unlocked, and the operation with any sum is done without a PIN if the POS terminal supports CDCVM. The amount of operation is also shown on your device before you unlock to purchase. Also, online purchases are supported. The fallbacks to CVC or PIN are supported.

Why Card Security Code Matters In Online Shopping?

Ecommerce is growing fast and credit cards are still the most popular online payment method. Read the full post and see what card security code is and why you need one to pay for the goods on the internet.

A typical credit card holds three information fields: the bank card number, the signature magnetic strip,e and a Card Security Code (CSC). The code is used for online transactions, so it’s important to keep it safe and not share it with others.

This security code may be referred to as your Card Verification Value, abbreviated to CVV2, the signature panel code (SPC), or may be termed as your unique Card Identification Number (CID).

The name depends on the credit card you are using. It doesn’t matter how you call them, the three or four digits make your online purchases more secure.

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What is my Credit Card Security Code?

The Card Security Code is usually a 3- or 4-digit number, which is not part of the credit card number. The CSC is typically printed on the back of a credit card (usually in the signature field).

Friends, It is alternately located on the back of your credit card or on the front face. It is printed flat, typically in black, not embossed or engraved like the card number. It may be a three or four-digit code.

For example, MasterCard and Visa cards have a 3-digit card security code printed on the back of the card, next to the signature panel. The new cards have placed on a separate panel beside them.

Yet, American Express cards use 4-digit card security codes printed on the front face of the card, above the number. If your code is unreadable, or you have a fear it is unsafe, contact your card issuer for help.

To sum up: use your card security code when you pay online and don’t, under any circumstances, share it with third parties.

Where do I find it?

Visa/Mastercard and Discover Users

Where is my security code

Flip your card over and look at the signature box. You should see either the entire 16-digit credit card number or just the last four digits followed by a special 3-digit code. This 3-digit code is your Card Security Code.

Confirm your identity using your Android device

If you’re signing in from a different location than you usually do, we may ask you to enter a code that you get from your phone. This helps make sure that you own the account. Important: Some of these steps work only on Android 8.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Verify your Google account

  1. On your phone, find your Google Settings. Depending on your device, either:
    • In your main Settings app, tap Google.
    • Open a separate app called Google Settings.
  2. Tap Manage your Google Account.
  3. Scroll right and tap Security and then Security code.
    • If needed, enter your phone password and pick the account.
  4. You’ll find a 10-digit code.
  5. Enter the code on the phone you want to sign in on and tap Continue.

Tip: You don’t need an internet connection or mobile service to get codes.

This code, as the name implies, is a security feature, placed onto your credit card. It is an addition to the bank card number which is embossed or engraved on the card.

It is a decimated value generated by the card issuer and is arrived at by encryption of the expiry date of the card and the bank card number. The encryption keys used to generate it are highly sensitive information available only for the bank.


visa card

Visa / MasterCard / Discover Card
Flip your card over and look at the signature box. You should see either the entire 16-digit credit card number or just the last four digits followed by a special 3-digit code. This 3-digit code is your Card Security Code.

American Express
Look for the 4-digit code printed on the front of your card just above and to the right of your main credit card number. This 4-digit code is your Card Identification Number (CID).

What is the Security Code?

It is an important Internet security feature that appears on the back of most Visa / MasterCard / Discover Card cards and on the front of American Express cards. This new code is a three or four-digit number which provides a cryptographic check of the information embossed on the card.

The security code helps validate that the customer placing the online order actually has the credit card in his/her possession and that the credit/debit card account is legitimate.

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How does my Security Code protect me?

The security code is only printed the card and it is not contained in the magnetic stripe information nor does it appear on sales receipts or billing statements – you must have the card in your possession in order to use this code.

Card Security Codes are not raised, so they are not scanned into standard credit card readers. In theory, these numbers are only visible to you. When you give your Card Security Code to a merchant, you assist the merchant in verifying that the order is being placed by you, the card holder.

Credit cards are convenient and popular payment method used all over the world, with various banks and companies offering competitive packages. Thus, unfortunately, the risk of a credit card scam is rising.

Although, credit card payments are reasonably secure when the card (and cardholder) is present at the point of sale, and it is riskier with online transactions. Furthermore, while there is a unique code on the magnetic stripe of the card, it’s is not fully secure from skimming: if the entire card is duplicated, the code will also be stolen. Thus, the card security code is an extra safety layer to protect your payments from scams and fraud.

When do you need the code?

When you pay online with credit card, you may be asked for your card security code. You need to use it to prove that you have your card with you; and to provide the authority of access to your funds to the person you are paying by your credit card. It is used to prevent online payment scams and frauds.

The card security code must be provided when the card and cardholder are not present in brick-and-mortar, such as by payments through the internet, fax, or telephone. However, the card security code should not be used on insecure web pages or email conversations.

Card security code

Do I have to enter this Security Code?

If this code is printed on your card, YES, you must enter the code. Visa / MasterCard / Discover Card and American Express now require companies to obtain the security code for all cards that have a code printed on them. In order for this transaction to be accepted and processed, you must enter this code if it’s printed on your card. This is done for your protection.

***If your European or Asian credit card does not have a Security Code, you may enter the letter X or call in your request.

What if I cannot read my number?

If you cannot read the number on your card, enter the letter “I” as in “illegible” in the CVV field. This will let your bank know that the number is there, but cannot be read. Entering an “X” instead of an “I” may cause your bank to deny the transaction.

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