People use credit and debit cards to purchase online and at physical stores. Those who buy items online or via phone calls are usually asked for their CVC.
However, most people do not know what CVC means or what it stands for. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of what CVC stands for and how it’s used to help protect your financial information and prevent fraud.
What Does the CVC Abbreviation Stand For?
The CVC abbreviation means Card Verification Code. This is the name for the three or four-digit security code on either side of a debit or credit card.
Other institutions also call these digits Card Verification Value (CVV or CVV2), Card Identification Number (CID), Personal Security Code, or Card Security Code (CSC).
Companies dealing in credit and debit cards have their terminology for referring to these digits. For instance, the CVV number on the front of American Express cards is four digits, whereas the CVV2 number on the back of VISA cards is only three digits.
Unlike the card number, you will not find the CVC on receipts, and is, therefore, secret to all but the cardholder.
As an added layer of protection, you require the CVC when you input your card details to buy an item or service. Secure socket layer (SSL) connections transmit all the data you enter. Hence, there is no fear of a data breach and your CVC leaking to others.
Purpose of CVC
When making purchases on the internet or through other electronic means, the vast majority of customers pay with either credit or debit cards.
It is against the law for these websites to store any cardholder information, including the CVC. This is due to the notable number of potential data breaches that could occur.
Therefore, even if the retailer can view all the card details, they still would not have access to your CVC. Due to this, it will be impossible for another person to use your card without your authorization.
Also, the firm responsible for issuing credit and debit cards does not store CVC. This reduces the chances of a data breach occurring.
Ultimately, if you do not have the CVC number associated with your card, you will no longer be able to use it to make purchases. So, you might need to get a replacement.
The only issue is that if the magnetic stripe on your credit card is cloned and the thief also gets access to your CVC code, another person will easily be able to use your card.
How Financial Institutions Create CVC
Banks do not generate CVCs randomly. Instead, they make them using four pieces of information: a four-digit expiration date, a pair of DES (Data Encryption Standard) keys, a three-digit service code, and the primary account number. Due to security reasons, the exact workings of this algorithm are not public knowledge.
In addition, for security reasons, two cards cannot have the same CVC. Therefore, when you register for a new card or replace an old one, you will get a new code.
This rule also applies if your card expires and you need a new one. Even if your card number remains the same, your CVC will change.
Difference Between a CVC and PIN
A Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a number the user chooses. It is usually made up of four digits, but some banks may require more than four digits. You need a PIN for cash advances on credit cards, cash withdrawals from debit cards, and purchases made with debit cards.
PINs differ from CVCs because the company that gives out credit cards will make a CVC and put it on the card. On the other hand, a (PIN) may be given to a debit or credit card when you first receive it. However, most of the time, you’ll need to replace it with different digits of your choosing. You can’t change a CVC whenever you want to.
How to Protect Your CVC
Your CVC is a vital piece of information that you should protect at all cost. Here are some measures you can put in place to protect your CVC against identity theft.
- Use a strong password to safeguard your Wi-Fi. If you don’t, anyone within range can access your network, listen in on your conversations, and steal your data.
- Don’t put your credit card information on any shady websites. You should stay away from sites that don’t start with “https:” in their URLs and don’t have the SSL lock icon in your browser.
- Utilize a virtual private network when you’re away from home. VPN software is a great way to keep your personal information safe when you’re on the road or using a public network.
- Check the status of your account often. Before buying something, check your online account or paper statement to ensure everything is correct. If you see a charge you don’t know, feel free to call your bank. You might need a new card.
- Avoid showing a picture of your card to anyone, especially on social networking platforms, because anyone could easily take your card information and steal money or your identity.
- Don’t answer requests for information about yourself. If someone calls you or emails you and asks for your credit card information, ask them why they need it. If you need to give someone private financial information via email or text, it’s best to talk to them first.
A Card Verification Code (CVC) is essential for credit and debit cards. These codes are used to make online purchases via the web. Due to how sensitive these codes are, sites are not allowed to store them. Therefore, you require them for every purchase you plan on making.
Furthermore, you must protect your CVC. Hence, it would be best to take specific measures to keep it safe to avoid fraudsters stealing your money or identity.
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Paul Martinez is the founder of EcomSidekick.com. He is an expert in the areas of finance, real estate, eCommerce, traffic and conversion.
Join him on EcomSidekick.com to learn how to improve your financial life and excel in these areas. Before starting this media site, Paul built from scratch and managed two multi-million dollar companies. One in the real estate sector and one in the eCommerce sector.