If you shop online regularly, you’ll know that most stores ask for a three-digit code—the CVC—to validate the payment when you’re paying for your order by credit card.

But have you ever wondered what the CVC on your credit card is and what it’s used for? Then keep reading!

What is the CVC on cards?

CVC stands for card verification code. It’s a three-digit numerical code printed on the back of credit, debit, and prepaid cards.

Although this number is usually found on the back of the card, including on cards from Visa and Mastercard, on American Express cards it’s on the front.

This code is simply a security measure to verify the authenticity of the card in transactions where it’s not being used physically, such as online purchases, and to demonstrate that it’s the cardholder using it in order to avoid fraudulent transactions. Each card has its own unique and non-transferable CVC or CVV.

Some banks offer options such as a dynamic CVC, which is generated randomly for each transaction. This is a safer alternative because it doesn’t reveal the CVC of the physical card.

Types of CVC on credit cards

Did you know that credit or debit cards have more than one CVC or CVV? Depending on the type of transaction you’re doing, you’ll use one or the other.

These are the two types of CVCs:

  • CVV type 1: The CVC is located on the magnetic stripe of the card and is used for physical transactions such as payment at a store using the POS. In this case, it’s not necessary to provide the CVC, since the POS terminal reads it through the magnetic stripe. Normally, the CVC corresponds to the last four digits of the card number. 
  • CVV type 2: This is the CVC used to pay for online purchases. The CVC is randomly generated by an algorithm and is then printed on the back of the card. This is a three-digit code to verify card ownership in online transactions.

There are also other names for the CVC depending on the type of card being used:

  • CSC: for Mastercard debit cards.
  • CVC2: for Visa cards.
  • CID: for American Express cards.

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How to use a card’s CVC

As mentioned above, the CVC is a security measure to verify the authenticity of credit or debit cards used in online transactions and to prevent fraud.

To use the CVC of the card, all you have to do is make a purchase online and then provide the CVC in the payment window once you’ve entered the number and expiration date of the card.

Once the process is completed, you may need to authorize the purchase via text message or your bank’s mobile app.

What happens if a card doesn’t have a CVC?

All credit, debit and prepaid cards have a CVC, although often it can’t be read due to wear and tear on the card.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact your bank to request a new card so that your CVC can be read easily.

How to recover the CVC

In case of theft or loss of a card, or if the CVC has simply been erased due to wear and tear, the CVC can’t be recovered, since it’s a unique code. 

In these situations, you can request a duplicate card from your bank with a new CVC.

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What is the CVC for?

The CVC is a three-digit numerical code used to verify the authenticity of the credit or debit card in transactions where physical payment isn’t possible.

This is a security measure to prevent fraud during online purchases.

Where can the CVC be found?

The CVC is typically printed on the back of any credit, debit, or prepaid card, usually below the card’s magnetic stripe.

Remember that the code is found on the front of some cards.

How can I find the CVC on a credit card?

To find your CVC, just check the back or front of the card! Depending on the type of card you're using, the CVC will be printed on it as a three-digit numerical code.

In case the CVC has worn off or can’t be read correctly, contact your bank for a duplicate card.

How is the CVC generated?

The CVC is generated at random by an algorithm. This code is usually issued by an authorized agency, which then communicates it to the bank that owns the credit or debit card.

Is the CVC secure?

It’s essential that you don’t share your CVC along with your card number and expiration date, as you would be giving third parties the opportunity to use the credit or debit card without your consent.

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