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You get your first credit card and it’s exciting, you’re ready to go buy something and test it out. Since online shopping is so easy, why don’t you start there, right?
You find something you want, you decide you’re going to buy it and you push the big green buy now button. What a feeling!
A box pops up that ask for your information. You begin filling out. It ask for your credit card information, so you give it.
Then you see a place asking for a CVV Number. What? What is that? Worse, it’s often required.
You find out that you can’t buy anything without it. Bummer.
I know, a little dramatic for a CVV Number but it’s an essential element to your credit card.
CVV stands for Card Verification Value, which serves as an additional layer of security when you’re making purchases with your credit card.
It’s also called a Security Code, CSC, CVV2 or CVC2. This feature appears on both credit and debit cards.
Here’s where to find your credit card CVV:
- The Visa, Mastercard, and Discover security code is three digits long. It appears on the back of your card, to the right of the signature panel. Preceding it, you might see part or all of your credit card account number.
- The American Express security code (also called a card identification number, or CID) is four digits long. It appears on the front of your card, to the upper right of your account number.
Why Do Credit Cards Use CVV Codes?
Your CVV plays a vital role in the security of your credit card. Due to the fact that online merchants can’t authorize your signature, a large percentage of them ask for a CVV code to verify you’re the owner of the credit card.
If someone steals your credit card number, they won’t be able to use it online in most places without the CVV code.
CVV codes play another role, they can also help during data breaches. The reason being is because industry regulations prohibit merchants from storing your CVV codes.
While it’s possible your card number is saved and personal information could be on a merchant’s website, CVV codes are usually not stored.
While these are great security features, there are websites out there that don’t require CVV codes.
Some merchants will only ask for your CVV the first time you order items to a particular address. Once confirmed, they don’t ask for a CVV code again.
Keeping Your Credit Card Number Safe
Since we’re on the topic of credit card security, it’s just as important to keep your credit card number safe too.
While CVV codes offer an added layer of security, you still have to use precautions.
Remember, some online and offline merchants don’t require a CVV number, so you have to always be mindful of who has your credit card number.
Here’s a few more tips for staying safe:
- Don’t Save Personal Data On Retailer Websites: I know this is convenient for most, but dealing with identity theft certainly is not. Don’t save your account information, enter it every time.
- Use A Password Manager: One great tool you should get to know is called LastPass. This free program allows you to create and store unique passwords for each site. Easy to use, easy to start with.
- Virtual Credit Cards: Be sure to ask your credit card issuer if they offer virtual credit cards. It allows you to temporary use account numbers that mask your credit card number. If someone ever uses the card, you can get rid of it.
- Never Click Suspicious Email Links: A popular way for phishers to get access to your CVV is to send an email that looks official. These emails will usually tell you to call a phone number or ask for you to click a link. Afterward, you’re asked to enter your credit card information. Don’t do it! Call your credit card issuer right away.
- Only Use Secure Websites: Before you start shopping online, make sure the website is secured. Secured websites will have a URL that starts with “https://” — this means the site is encrypted and secured.
- Always Watch Your Accounts: While a lot of people don’t check their statements every month, you should. In fact, you should sign up for alerts so you can be noticed if something out of the ordinary ever happens. Always keep a close eye on all your credit cards.
The Bottom Line
In most cases, credit cards have more protection than debit cards. When you’re shopping online, it’s best to use a credit card versus a debit card.
Make sure you’re always using precautions when using your debit card. We want you to always be safe with your credit cards and debit cards.
If you follow the tips outlined in this article, you’ll give yourself the best protection possible.