CVV: Everything you need to know about card security codes

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In 1995 an employee for Equifax named Michael Stone created the first credit card security code (CVV). What no one would have been able to predict is how critical it would become in protecting against fraud twenty years later. Less than two years later Mastercard would be the first company to implement credit card verification values (CVV) to further prevent scams. In the following years after Mastercard’s release of CVV, like dominos, other credit card companies followed suit. This is because CVV helps reduce fraudulent digital transactions. 

What is a CVV

A CVV’s purpose is to verify that the user currently possesses a physical copy of the card. It also helps by protecting the user in the scenario that the card number falls into the hands of hackers and/or identity thieves. A CVV will consist of either a three or four-digit number on your card that adds an extra layer of security.

Where is a CVV located?

The location of a CVV code on a credit or debit card depends on the card. A CVV code for MasterCard, VISA, or Discover is found on the back of the card and contains three digits. An American Express CVV code will include four digits on the front of the card. American Express is different from other cards, they call CVV, Card Identification Number (CID).What Is a Credit Card CVV? - Experian

What is the difference between a PIN and CVV

Both your PIN and CVV help protect your card from fraud. A PIN is used for in-person transactions at locations such as ATMs or in-store purchases. Whereas CVV is used for online purchases. Both have the same common goal to verify and raise the odds that the seller is accepting payment from the legitimate cardholder. 

If a thief that took your credit card is attempting to use it at an ATM or in a store, they will be asked to enter a PIN number for the card which will prevent the thief from being allowed to use the card. If a hacker accessed the credit card number and even the expiration date but doesn’t have your CVV, they will be unable to purchase anything from anyone that requires you to provide a CVV. 

When given a card, the user can create their own PIN, like a verifying signature but numeric. Majority of the time a PIN is four digits, although some banks require longer numbers. This isn’t the same for CVV. A CVV is automatically generated by the credit card issuer. There is no control over your CVV number, however, a PIN number can be customized by the user.  

Why online merchants can’t save your CVV data

Companies have the ability to save your credit card number and expiration date in their data system. Businesses and companies do not have the same ability to save your CVV or CID. CVV is not allowed to be stored after an authorized transaction due to credit card compliance standards. This is thanks to the requirements provided by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) which puts in regulations to prevent credit card fraud. 

Ways hackers can access your CVV

There are two main ways a hacker can gain access to your CVV code. The first is phishing and the other is using a web-based keylogger. Being aware of these two common hacking methods could help protect you from identity theft and keep your CVV safe.

Phishing is a type of security theft in situations where sensitive information is stolen, such as credit card details like CVV. Examples of phishing include trick links that are actually fake URLs. Another example is if an email addresses you as “Dear Valued Customer”, instead of by name. A company you’re in business with should address you by the first name. Staying aware of this will help you avoid any traps set by a hacker attempting to access your private credit card information.

Keylogging is a form of security theft that can be illegally installed on an online website. A keylogger would do this because if done successfully they would have access to a large handful of private information. A keylogger will ensure that all of the data customers submit to a site is duplicated and later forwarded to the attacker’s server. Read more about how to protect your CVV personal information such as anti-virus software here.

Further suggestions for staying safe

It is important to keep in mind that it’s also possible for identity thieves to use malicious software known as ‘malware’ to steal your CVV or CID codes. Thieves could potentially obtain one from you in a phishing attempt if you’re not careful. Plus, if someone steals your physical card, they will have access to it. Some financial institutions are experimenting with dynamic CVVs that change periodically, to make it even harder for thieves to make fraudulent purchases.

To continue awareness of how to protect your credit card information and CVV, here are some more tips for staying safe with your information. 

  • Complete online purchases only with reputable websites that you trust. If a website doesn’t look legitimate, skip the worry and find a different website to purchase from. Take it one step further by reading reviews on the website, and researching if it is trustworthy.  
  • Install cyber security software. Security software protects your private information.
  • Keep a close eye on your bank statement. If something looks off with your recent purchases and/or balance you should call your bank immediately. 
  • Never read your full credit card details out loud in a public space. You never know who could be listening, recording, or nearby that could steal this information. 
  • Be careful providing credit card information over the phone. Analyze if this person is a real merchant or trying to scam you. 
  • Never provide your CVV when processing payment in person. If the salesperson asks you in person you should be highly suspicious. This is because a CVV isn’t necessary for in-person purchase. If they ask for further identification, provide your ID that matches the name on your card. 

These steps are important to be aware of, but there is no way to guarantee protection from your credit card information being stolen. 

How Payline can help protect you from CVV fraud

If you are concerned about protecting your card from identity theft or are interested in learning more about your CVV and card payments, Payline Data can help. Payline has a strong relationship-oriented and is a transparent company with its customers. Check Payline’s homepage to connect right away with their flexible hours today. 
Payline will ensure that your business transactions are quick and easy. Pauline has helped over 25,000 businesses this past year with their credit card transactions in the United States, and by consumer reviews compared to other competitors they have used prior. Don’t miss out on protecting yourself from identity fraud too.

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