What is CVV on Credit Card?

In the world of online transactions, security is paramount. Whether you're purchasing a product, subscribing to a service, or booking a flight, ensuring the safety of your financial information is crucial. One essential aspect of this security is the Card Verification Value (CVV). But what exactly is CVV, and why does it matter? Let's delve into this vital component of credit and debit card security.

What is CVV?

CVV, short for Card Verification Value, is a security feature found on credit and debit cards. Also known as the Card Verification Code (CVC) or Card Security Code (CSC), CVV is a unique set of digits added to the card to enhance transaction security, particularly in card-not-present (CNP) transactions. These are transactions where the cardholder is not physically present, such as online or over-the-phone purchases.

How Does CVV Work?

CVV is typically a three- or four-digit number located on the back of VISA, MasterCard, and Discover cards, while it's on the front of American Express cards. It serves as an additional layer of authentication alongside the card number, expiration date, and cardholder's name.

When you make an online purchase or provide your card details over the phone, the merchant will request the CVV along with other card information. This ensures that the person making the transaction physically possesses the card or has access to the card details. Since the CVV is not stored in the magnetic stripe or embossed on the card, it's challenging for fraudsters to obtain it through skimming or other means.

Why Does CVV Matter?

  • Reduced Fraud Risk: CVV helps mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions, especially in CNP scenarios. Even if a fraudster manages to obtain the card number, expiration date, and cardholder's name, they would still need the CVV to complete the transaction. Without it, the transaction would likely be declined.
  • Enhanced Security for Online Transactions: In an era where online shopping is ubiquitous, CVV adds an extra layer of security, instilling confidence in consumers to transact online without fear of unauthorized access to their card details.
  • Compliance Requirements: For businesses processing card payments, adhering to industry standards such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) often mandates collecting and securely handling CVV data. Compliance ensures that businesses maintain robust security measures to protect sensitive cardholder information.
  • Protection Against Card-Testing Attacks: Fraudsters often use automated bots to test stolen card numbers on e-commerce websites. CVV verification helps thwart these attempts, as the bots would need valid CVV numbers to proceed with fraudulent transactions.


In summary, CVV plays a pivotal role in securing online and other card-not-present transactions. Its presence adds an extra layer of authentication, reducing the risk of fraud and enhancing consumer confidence in the digital payment ecosystem. Whether you're a cardholder or a merchant, understanding the significance of CVV is essential for safeguarding financial transactions and maintaining trust in the digital marketplace.