The CVV (Card Verification Value) is a three or four-digit number that exists on the back of your credit and debit cards. It’s a unique number printed on the back of every credit and debit card. The purpose of using this number is to verify that you are the legal holder of your card.
This number is important because it protects your card from online fraud. When you are purchasing through an online merchant, it authenticates your transaction and saves you from cybercriminals. Other people – online merchants can see your card number, but they can’t access your CVV. The banks apply modern technologies and algorithms to hide this number from third-party users. That’s why it imposes an additional layer of security on your card.
Now let’s understand what is the meaning of CVV and how it prevents scammers from stealing your card details.
What is CVV?
You may wonder why it is mandatory to enter the CVV number of your card during online transactions. Every online portal and POS machines ask for it during the transactions. So, what is the CVV?
Well, CVV is a three or four-digit code that ensures your card is physically active for usage. It’s a unique protected code provided by your credit card issuer that you shouldn’t disclose to anyone. Even though the online portals can store the card details, they cannot store the CVV. Hence, it offers the added security required to protect your financial interests from perpetrators.
Different card networks and their terminologies for CVV
Different credit card providers use different terminologies for the CVV. But the meaning remains the same.
- MasterCard – CVC (Card Verification Code) or CVC2
- Visa – CVV or CVV2
- American Express – CID ( Card Identification Number )
- Discover – CID2
- Rupay – CVV
Location of CVV on different card types
The Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Rupay cards have CVV on their backside. It is generally present near the signature strip. For the American Express cards, you can find the CVV on the front of the card, just above the Amex logo. Once you complete thecredit card apply online and get the card, you can check out the number and keep it safe.
How does CVV prevent fraud?
- Verification of card ownership
CVV as an additional layer of security: The additional security of a CVV keeps your identity safe from hackers. Thus the merchants are never allowed to store your CVV. Even if a fraudster came through your card number from a merchant’s database, they can’t access this valuable information.
Protection against unauthorised card-not-present transactions: The card-not-present means cardless or online transactions where the merchants ask for your CVV, card number, and expiry date. These data confirm your identity to them. If a hacker steals your card number and tries to purchase from an online merchant, your CVV will stop him/her from the ultimate transaction.
- Preventing fraudsters from obtaining CVV
CVV is not present on the magnetic stripe or chip: The magnetic strip or chip-enabled cards come with two-layered security protection. They don’t show the CVV on the chip, instead, they encrypt the CVV with magnetic decimal codes. For the second layered protection,you have to enter the CVV present on the back of the card for online transactions. With these protective layers, hackers can never track your CVV.
CVV is not stored in the merchant database: The merchant databases may store your other card details but can’t save your CVV. This is done by the Per Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Thus, it protects your card from any kind of misuse.
- CVV as a fraud detection tool
Verification during online transactions: It verifies that you’re the physical card holder and the transactions belong to you. It ensures nobody else is using your card without your consent. If somehow the criminals get your card number, the CVV will protect you from further financial damage.
CVV checks for recurring or unauthorised payments: The CVV occupies Data Encryption Standard (DES) Keys and other valuable data. So, it easily works as the safeguard of your identity, and that’s why it checks and protects you from recurring or unauthorised payments.
Importance of protecting CVV
- Role of cardholders in safeguarding CVV
Not sharing CVV with others: You must not share the CVV with your friends or any other person. Never respond to unknown requests for CVV and other card information. Also, you need to use a VPN for online transactions when you are in a public place.
Keeping CVV confidential and secured: For an online transaction, always prefer the authorised payment gateways and private networks. Moreover, make sure there’s an antivirus installed on your computer. When the merchants swipe your card on POS terminals, ensure they are processing it in your presence. Also, try to avoid ATMs that lack maintenance.
CVV limitations and vulnerabilities
- Lack of real-time authentication
Due to the lack of real-time authentication, hackers can steal your card details, including the CVV. They can use phishing, keyloggers, and malware to collect your CVV. You should use updated browsers and antivirus software on your PCs and phones for these reasons.
- Vulnerability to theft or skimming
Scammers can steal your card identity from the ATM or POS machines. When you swipe the card at the ATM, they can get all the data, including the CVV. It is known as skimming, and thus it’s better to use e-payment options.
Best practices for CVV protections
- Memorising CVV and avoiding written documentation
It’s mandatory to memorise your card’s CVV and PINs for your online and ATM transactions. Don’t write them down in any notebook or documents. It may cause your CVV and PINs to be lost, stolen, or misused by hackers.
- Exercising caution when sharing CVV over the phone or online
Be cautious when sharing your CVV for online transactions. So, always make your payment through the official websites of your merchants. Don’t share the CVV, card number, or OTP with anyone over the phone or email. Beware of these spam calls and other communications.
Now you know what is the meaning of CVV. It has outstanding features to prevent your identity from hackers. But you should handle your CVV as per the safety measurements discussed above. The vital thing is taking precautions to retain your card and bank accounts details. Never share this code with anyone, and keep a strong password for your card to avoid being a victim to fraud.