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Financial Dictionary - CVV code

CVV code

The CVV (Card Verification Value) code is a number usually found on the back of credit, debit and charge cards. It is used in transactions where the credit card is not physically present, usually in on-line transactions.

The CVV comprises three digits and is located on the back of MasterCard and Visa cards. The code is located on the front of American Express cards and has four digits.

The CVV security code has several names: CVD (Card Verification Data), CVV (Card Verification Code), CSC (Card Security Code) and CVVC (Card Verification Value Code).

What is the CVV on a card for?

The main function is to enhance the card's security in online payments. It verifies that the person making the purchase has the card in their possession. This is a form of online verification used to authorise or reject purchases.

Unlike the other the data on the card, the CVV code is printed flat. This stops it being copied if the card is cloned using carbon copies or other methods.

There are two types of card verification codes:

  • CVV, type 1
    This verification code is used in transactions where the card is used physically. This is encrypted on the second track of the card's magnetic strip, with the code being sent to the issuer when the card is passed through a card reader. The operation is accepted if it is valid; if not, the transaction is denied.
  • CVV, type 2
    This is the code we use when purchasing online or by phone. Entering this code represents the holder's authorisation to charge the card.

When we block a card due to loss or theft, we receive a new card with a new number, new PIN, new expiry date and also a new CVV. These elements are not changed when we request a duplicate card, when our existing one stops working or is damaged, for example.


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