What is a Credit Card CVV / CVC Number?
What the 3 digits on the back of your card mean and how they're used to protect your finances.
We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .
If you're using your credit card to make a purchase online or over the phone, you'll usually be asked to provide the name on your card, the account number, expiration date and something called your CCV or CVC number. Otherwise known as your security code, the three or four digits are located on the back of your card and are used to help secure your finances when using your card. This guide tells you what these numbers mean, what they're used for and how they help protect your credit card.
What is a CVV or CVC number?
A CVV number (or card verification value) or CVC (card verification code) on your credit card or debit card is a three or four-digit number on your card. If you have a Visa or Mastercard branded credit card or debit card, it'll be a 3 digit number located on the back of your card. If you're using an American Express issued card, the CVV will be a four-digit number found on the front of your card.
The CVV is an anti-fraud measure used when you're making a purchase but aren't required to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. This is why you're often asked to enter your CVV number if you're shopping online or making a purchase over the phone. This is so the merchant or payee can verify that you are indeed the cardholder and to avoid people using your card for fraudulent transactions.
As the CVV or CVC number is only printed on your card, it's important that you keep your card safe and secure. If your card is lost or stolen, anyone could use the card to make online purchases or over the phone transactions without your permission. If this does happen, contact your card issuer immediately to cancel the card and keep an eye on your statement to report any fraudulent transactions.
Where can I find my CVV code?
Your card's security code is usually found on either the front or the back of your card. If you've misplaced your card, you may be able to contact your bank issuer to confirm what this code is. However, if your card has been lost or damaged, you'll need to order a replacement card which will come with a new CVV code that you can use.
Is a CVV or CVC number called anything else?
The credit card CVC and credit card CCV numbers are sometimes called different things depend on the credit card network or credit card company its issues through. For example, Mastercard calls the code CVC2, American Express refers to it as CID, Discover calls their code CID2, and Visa has dubbed it CVV2. It may also be referred to as a security code. Despite these different names, the codes all serve the same function and are used as a standardised security measure. In the case of 'contactless' cards there is generally a chip involved which supplies its own electronically generated series of codes. They are called Dynamic CVV or iCVV.
Are CVV or CVC numbers the same as my PIN?
No, your CVV or CVC number is different to the PIN code you use to make ATM withdrawals of EFTPOS transactions in-store. On the other hand, your CVC or CVV number is used for verifying online or over the phone payments when you can't use your PIN or signature.
While the CVV or CVC number is in place to protect your credit card from fraudulent transactions or phishing scams when using your card for online or phone transactions, it's important to know that there are still chances that your credit card could still come victim to a scam. That's why it's important to only use your credit card on secure sites and keep track of your credit card statement to spot any suspicious transactions. If you do come across one, make sure to contact your bank immediately to report the issue and protect your finances. See our guide on how to shop online safely with your credit card for more tips.Back to top
Picture: Shutterstock, Infographic: finder.
Ask an Expert
Credit Cards Comparison
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.