A credit card’s security code, also called a CVV number , is usually the 3- or 4-digit number printed on the signature panel on the back of your card. The abbreviation CVV means “card verification value”, which refers to security features used in online transactions where you’re exchanging sensitive financial information with an online merchant’s website.
Security Code Explained
The credit card security code was introduced in the United States in 1996, following a number of cases where fraudulent transactions were made on credit accounts after the details of customers’ cards were stolen from mail-order companies and other businesses that process large volumes of customer credit card transactions.
In its simplest form, the security code is a protection measure to ensure that the details of your credit card cannot be used for online transactions without the correct security code, so they can’t be stolen and misused. So if a thief manages to copy down your credit card number and expiration date from your sales receipt or monthly statement, they will not have access to this 3-digit code, and will not be able to use your credit card online.
But in order for the security code to work effectively, customers need to know where to find it on their credit cards. You can locate your CVV number in one of three places (see below). Make sure you memorize your credit card’s security code since when shopping online, you will sometimes need to provide your security code manually – it’s not always an option you can select from the drop-down menu of components.
Where To Find Your Credit Card Security Code (CVV)?
- On the back of your card. This is probably the most common location for the credit card security code. Locate your credit card’s signature strip on the back of your card, usually located in the upper right-hand corner. Look just above or below this signature strip for a set of three or four digit numbers.
- On Your Credit Card/Debit Card Transaction Receipts/Statements. Many merchants will print your security code on your receipts and monthly statement right next to your credit card number.
- Online, When Shopping At Some Merchants. Not all merchants will ask for your CVV number online, but those that sell big-ticket items such as electronics or jewelry may request this added security feature when you check out with your purchase. The CVV is used to enhance the security of a transaction by verifying that a customer is in possession of a valid credit card.
- Or, You Can Try One Of The Many Third-Party Sites That Offer Free Online Security Code Checking Tools. These sites will allow you to enter your credit card information and automatically show you the security code as it appears on your credit card.
This is a good way of checking your credit card security code without having to have your actual credit card on hand, and can be helpful if you tend to misplace this important detail from time to time. You can also ask a friend or family member for their help since they will already have this number readily available in order to make online purchases.
Remember, the CVV code is just one aspect of protecting your credit card information when shopping online or entering it into websites that request this code.