The credit card CVV number is located in a slightly different place depending on the specific credit card company. For Visa®, Discover®, and MasterCard® cards, the credit card CVV number is located on the back of the card, but with American Express® cards, the number is located on the front of the card. In addition, each credit card company refers to the number by a slightly different term: Visa® calls it the CVV2 — Card Verification Value 2, MasterCard® uses the term CVC2 — Card Verification Code 2, and American Express® and Discover® both refer to it as the CID, which stands for Card Identification Digits.
Visa®, Discover®, and MasterCard®
To locate the number on a Visa®, Discover®, or MasterCard®, simply flip the card over and look at the signature strip. You will see a four digit number followed by a three digit number; the four digit number is the same as the last four digits of your credit card number, and the three digit number is the credit card CVV number. You will need to provide those three digits to place online orders.
American Express® and Other Credit Cards
On an American Express® card, the CVV number is found on the front of the card, slightly above and to the right or left of the credit card number. It is a four digit number. For any other credit cards, such as bank issued credit cards, you may need to call the bank and ask where the credit card CVV number is located if you cannot find it on your own; usually it will just be the one number on the card that does not seem to correspond to anything else.
Purpose of the CVV
Card Verification Value (CVV) was added to credit cards when online shopping became more common, because it is intended to verify that the person typing in the credit card number is physically holding the card. The number is virtually never required for in-person transactions at stores. Most websites now require the credit card number, expiration date, and CVV number for all transactions. It is a form of protection for online shoppers to prevent unauthorized transactions if someone manages to steal one's credit card number.
Prevent Credit Card Fraud
It is important to be very protective of all your credit card numbers, but particularly the CVV number. In addition to safe-guarding credit card information, there are many other ways to help prevent credit card fraud:
- only shop online at trusted and secure sites
- save receipts to compare with billing statements
- carefully check over credit card statements each month for unauthorized charges
- do not give out your credit card information over the phone, unless the company is absolutely reputable
- never let anyone borrow your credit card