What is a credit card CVC or CVV number?

A CVC or CVV is a security code that helps protect your credit card when you shop online or over the phone. Here’s how it works.

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If you're using your credit card to make a payment 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 CVC or CVV number.

Also known as a 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. Here, we explain 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.

credit card cvv

The CVV is an anti-fraud measure used when you're making a payment and don't need to enter a PIN or use a card reader as you would in a store.

This is why you're usually asked to enter your CVV number if you're shopping online or making a payment over the phone. In these situations, the CVV helps the merchant or payee verify that you are 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 credit card (or debit 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 CCV (credit card verification) code or 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.

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26 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    graceNovember 8, 2017

    Hi, I was asking a question about the what is CVC number for the student at high school?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchNovember 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Grace,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Your 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 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.

      It’s the same with student credit cards. You can also have a look on this page for student credit cards that you can compare.

      Cheers,
      Rench

    Default Gravatar
    RolexJune 25, 2017

    I have the card number and expiry date and my card name also I need cvv number

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleJune 25, 2017

      Hi Rolex,

      Thank you for contacting finder.com.au. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      If you have a Visa or Mastercard branded credit or debit card, The CVV number will 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.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    ElijahApril 21, 2017

    I activated my American Express card and my tax refund is currently on there , I went to the bank to withdraw money and it said enter a pin and they never gave me a pin . Do I use the 4 digit number on front of the card or the 3 digit on the back as my pin ?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldApril 21, 2017Staff

      Hi Sonicfan,

      Thank you for you inquiry.

      Actually, no, your CVV or CVC number is different to the PIN code you use to make ATM withdrawals or with 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. It would be nice to coordinate with AMEX as they have the direct access to your account.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

    Default Gravatar
    Annoyed&confusedMay 7, 2016

    I have an online account to download games. My credit/debit card expired. I did not update my details and assumed that the company would not be able to access my funds anymore. I had free credits which I can’t use because I use an iPad now and it redirects me to the App Store and it requests payment with no option to use the credits I paid for. Which is why I did not shut down the account. I don’t get notified in my debit account about credit card payments and I can’t add my other card to the ANZ app and my money hasn’t been adding up. I have a new card and CVV is a new one also and there is no expiry date on my file with this company.

    Why is someone able to take money from my credit card with invalid information and no CVV? It’s added up to around $100ish that should have been rejected. I am contacting the company in question also. It seems fraudulent to me. I thought that these were the security measures taken to ensure my online security.

    Thanks.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMay 11, 2016Staff

      Hi Annoyed&confused,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Unfortunately, especially these days, whether we do a transaction in person or online using our debit/credit cards, we can’t really say that we are 100% safe from fraud and theft. Yes, you are correct, your card’s CVV should or hopefully protect your account from those who would misuse your credit by any means possible. So it is important that we are vigilant and extra careful whenever we use our card or enter our account and security number to make any transaction.

      For any transaction on your account that you deemed fraudulent, it is a better idea to report them to your card company/bank so they could do necessary action on how to protect your account.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    JohMarch 22, 2016

    Do I have to give a company my CV number if they are crediting my account with a refund? I say no and wont do it but a few places have said they need it and i have refused. Help please

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SharonMarch 23, 2016Staff

      Hi Joh, thanks for your inquiry.

      Even though the CCV number can be given through the phone/entered in a form, if it does not have a field to enter the number, it is recommended only to provide these details if the merchant is certified and trusted. If the CCV number is given to the wrong parties the card may be used fraudulently.

      Cheers,

      Sharon

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