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Credit Card CVV Number

What is the meaning of CVV? It is an acronym for Card Verification Value. It is a short code that generally consists of three numbers. The companies that create bank cards like debit cards and credit cards provide a CVV for every card issued. This includes Visa, Mastercard and American Express, among others. You can generally find the CVV on the back of a card, although some bank cards may have the CVV on the front side. If you are making a transaction using your debit or credit card online, entering the CVV is mandatory to approve the payment or purchase.

What is a CVV Number on a Credit Card?

CVV is an acronym that stands for Card Verification Value. It is a three-digit or a four-digit number that you can typically find on credit cards. The primary purpose of a CVV number is to protect the cardholder from fraudulent and unauthorised transactions. 


When you use your card to make payments, you may be asked to enter the CVV in addition to other details on the credit card. Unlike the other details on the card, the CVV is not stored anywhere. This makes it extremely hard for unscrupulous individuals from using your credit card to make unauthorised transactions in situations where the credit card is not physically present with them. 


This effectively means that even if an individual has access to your card’s details like your card number and its expiry date, unless they have the CVV, which is present only on the card, they will not be able to use it to make any payments whatsoever. 

Where to Find CVV On Your Credit Card

A lot of people often get confused between a credit card number and CVV number. A credit card number is a 16-digit number located on the front of your credit card along with your name, card expiration date, and type (Visa/Mastercard). On the other hand, Visa card and MasterCard holders can find their CVV printed on the back of the card. The placement might be different for an American Express credit card, where the CVV would be a four-digit number located on the front side of the card.

Components of a CVV

Now that you know what is the meaning of CVV and where to locate it, let us understand what are the two primary components of a CVV:

  • The first component is a small magnetic strip located at the top-side of your credit card. This magnetic strip contains digital data that is unique to the cardholder. When a credit card is swiped for making transactions, it is the data from this magnetic strip that gets stored.

  • The second part of the CVV is a three-digit number mentioned below the magnetic strip. This number acts as a security pin while making mobile/online transactions.

What is the Purpose of a Credit Card CVV Number

  • Protects Against Cyber Fraud

A credit card CVV number acts as a security feature and adds a layer of protection against cyber fraud when you use the card for purchases using the credit card payment as an online method. The card verification number is not a combination of random digits. Instead, it is a carefully generated number using a special, undisclosed, and precise algorithm. This makes the CVV number on the card both unique as well as safe.

  • Keeps Your Money Safe

As the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) security standards prohibit the storing of card verification value, it needs to be entered every time an online purchase is made. This allows your funds to remain safe from any suspicious activity.

  • Protects From Hackers

As credit card numbers and CVV go hand in hand, hackers cannot use a credit card without a CVV code even if they get access to other information related to the credit card.

How Does Credit Card CVV Work

The CVV code verifies that the credit card was physically present with the cardholder while making the transaction. The code acts as a verification to process the payment. Online payment gateways can save details of your credit card such as the name or card number. However, as per the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), they aren't allowed to store your CVV data. This feature protects your card against any credit card fraud as it is nearly impossible to carry out any online transactions without submitting your CVV number.


Upon entering the CVV, you receive an OTP on your registered mobile number. Thus, even if you misplace your ATM card and the CVV is entered, you will be informed of the initiated transaction via the OTP message.


Even in the case of offline or Point of Sale (POS) transactions, the CVV of a credit card cannot be copied or replicated, which means that you will remain protected from fraudulent or unauthorised transactions. 


That said, although the CVV is a good safety feature to have, it does not offer complete protection from fraud. Unscrupulous individuals may still be able to use your card to make unauthorised transactions at merchants and online websites that don’t require a CVV to authorise a transaction. 

How is CVV Generated

CVV number is automatically generated by the credit card issuer. You need not follow a separate procedure to generate it for your card. Each new credit card is assigned a CVV by the issuer before dispatching it to the customer.

Difference Between CVV in Credit Card and PIN



  • You need not submit your CVV number for ATM transactions

  • CVV is required for online transactions

  • CVV cannot be changed and is unique for a particular card

  • CVV are generally 3-digit numbers and are printed on the back of the credit card. The only exception is American Express which has a 4-digit CVV on the front.

  • You need to enter your PIN number for ATM cash withdrawal, doing balance check, or any ATM transaction

  • PIN is generally not required while making online transactions

  • You can generate new PINs after periodic intervals

  • Credit Card PIN is usually 4-digits. It is advised not to mention your PIN anywhere on the card for security reasons

How to Protect Your CVV Number

In order to protect yourself from any credit card fraud, you need to protect your CVV. Here are ways in which you can keep your credit card CVV number safe:

  • Do not share your CVV or other credit card details with anyone

  • Do not write down your credit card CVV number or store it in an online or desktop folder

  • Do not leave your credit card unattended

  • Use your credit card for purchases only on trusted websites that have https:// and SSL padlock

  • Do not enter your credit card details on unknown or unprotected WiFi networks

  • Install anti-virus software to scan your computer from any malware or threats

  • Protect your devices with a password

  • Do not share sensitive financial information over the phone

  • Keep a tab on your credit card activity and look out for any unauthorised transactions on your credit card

  • If you’re using a Wi-Fi network, use a strong password to protect it from getting hacked or accessed by unauthorised individuals 

  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to the internet if you’re using your computer while travelling

FAQs on Credit Card CVV

Where is the CVV number located on a credit card?

For MasterCard, Discover, and Visa, they are located in different places. While the credit card number is located on the front of the card, you will find the credit card CVV number on the back in the form of a three-digit code. For American Express credit cards, however, the four-digit card verification value is mentioned on the front of the card along with other credit card details.

What is the use of a CVV number?

A credit card CVV number acts as a security feature and adds a layer of protection when you use the card for online purchases. As the Payment Card Industry’s security standards prohibit the storing of card verification value, it needs to be entered every time a purchase is made.

Where can I use a credit card without the CVV numbers?

A credit card number and CVV goes hand-in-hand and you cannot use a credit card online without a CVV code. If you do not have a credit card yet, apply for a credit card at Bajaj Markets now!

What is the meaning of CVV?

CVV is an acronym for Card Verification Value and is either a three or four-digit number that’s present on a credit card. It acts as a layer of protection from unauthorised credit card usage.

Is CVV the same as my card’s PIN?

No. The CVV is different from your credit card PIN. A CVV is usually only used when attempting to make online transactions, whereas your PIN is generally used for offline transactions such as at ATMs and POS machines.

How Does CVV Protect Your Transactions And Credit Card Against Fraud?

The credit card CVV number is required to make transactions online. This number is usually not stored anywhere, which makes it hard for unscrupulous individuals to gain access to it unless they have physical possession of your credit card.

Therefore, even if hackers gain access to the other details of your credit card such as its number and expiry date, they won’t be able to use it to make online transactions without the CVV.

Why do credit cards have CVV codes?

The primary reason why credit cards have CVV codes printed on them is to prevent unscrupulous individuals from misusing the card. Without access to the CVV, which is only present on the card and nowhere else, fraudsters will not be able to use the card to make any unauthorised transactions online.

Is CVV number 3 or 4 digits?

Credit cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, RuPay, and Discover come with a 3-digit CVV number printed on their back. In the case of cards issued by American Express, you can find a 4-digit CVV number printed on the front of the card itself.

What is a dynamic CVV?

Unlike a regular credit card CVV number, a dynamic CVV changes often and is delivered either via a phone call from your bank to your registered mobile number or via the bank’s smartphone application. Dynamic CVVs make it even harder for fraudsters to make unauthorised transactions using your credit card.

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