Credit cards have become a staple for most people. They enable access to credit lines, help build credit history and ensure you do not have to carry large amounts of cash. Credit card companies have devised various tools and strategies to help prevent or combat fraud. Most security features are built into the plastic card. Some are machine readable only, while others include a series of numbers. Every credit card has a special three- or four-digit code, typically referred to as a CV2 number, that aims to provide added security.
Card Verification Value
CV2, sometimes called CVV, stands for Card Verification Value and is part of the security features for credit card transactions, especially ones that take place on the phone or Internet. When making a purchase or paying a bill online or by phone, you will frequently be asked to provide the CV2. In most cases, a stranger who has only your card number won't be able to complete a transaction.
Credit card companies differentiate their products a variety of ways. In addition to rewards programs and design, companies seek to maintain a competitive advantage by using different CV2 number formats. Visa, MasterCard and Discover use a three-digit code, while American Express uses one with four digits.
Visa, MasterCard and Discover
To locate the CV2 on a Visa, MasterCard or Discover card, look for the seven digits that are printed in the signature block. There is a group of four numbers that correspond with the last four digits of your card account, followed by a group of three numbers, which is the CV2.
For American Express cards, the CV2 is a four-digit number on the front. It is usually in smaller numbers, placed above the last four digits that constitute the credit card number. It is printed, not embossed in the same fashion as the 15-digit credit card number.
- Discover: Discover Card Identification Features
- University of Pennsylvania Press: CV2 Description
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Dr Jack Gordon, the Chief Technology Officer at Strontium Logistics, is a 20-year veteran of the engineering and marketing business who favors stiff drinks, good debates and developing innovative digital marketing strategies to help companies grow.