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What is CVV (Card Verification Value)?

You’ve seen it. You’ve used it. But do you actually know what a CVV (that 3-digit code) on the back of your credit/debit card is? Card Verification Value is all about protecting your card. Learn how!


Hello my name is Faisal Khan and I’m a Banking and Payments consultant. And a question I got in the email today was…

Why do we have a CVV on the back of a credit card?

(It’s an expired card so if you’re trying to zoom in and get the number, it will do you no good).

CVV is basically a code a three digit code at the back of the card and it’s basically printed so that it is only accessible via the physical card itself. The CVV code is never printed on any other stationery or in any other packaging that you may get when you receive your card.

It is only and only printed in the card and it is mapped onto a card number. So for example if someone were to steal your card data from online without the CVV, they cannot do the transaction.

A CVV is necessary for a CNP, Card Not Present transactions. It is also that if you know, if you were in a restaurant or if you were using the card and someone were to look at it, or you know just to have very quickly take a picture of your card. The only thing they can get is the numbers, the expiration, your name, but there would still need the CVV. And without that you cannot make a transaction.

There is a disadvantage to this that you know if you are giving a card in a bar or in a restaurant they can very quickly take pictures of it. And not many websites are doing AVS which is the Address Verification System, which is making sure that the card data supplied matches to the address, the building address that you’ve provided for. And that is a bit of an issue. With companies like Stripe are notorious for something like this because they want minimal data. They feel that if they’re ask users to implement or push too much data out they might lose the sale. So CVV is just a protection mechanism, a three digit code that is mapped onto your credit card or debit card and is used only for a CNP, Card Not Present transactions.

I hope I was able to answer that question. If you have any more feel free to ask in the comments below.

Till next time. Have a good one.

This page was last updated on September 1, 2022.