Browse Definitions :
Definition

card verification value (CVV)

Card verification value (CVV) is a combination of features used in credit, debit and automated teller machine (ATM) cards for the purpose of establishing the owner's identity and minimizing the risk of fraud. The CVV is also known as the card verification code (CVC) or card security code (CSC).

On a typical credit card, there are two components to the CVV. The first code is recorded by the card issuer in a magnetic stripe that runs lengthwise along the back of the card. This stripe resembles magnetic tape and can contain a large amount of data. The code is recovered by sliding the card through a magnetic stripe reader that picks up the binary data in a manner similar to the way a tape drive works. The second code is a multi-digit numeral printed flat on the card, separate from the longer, embossed account numeral. On a VISA, MasterCard or Discover Card, the printed CVV contains three digits and is located on the back near the signature area. On an American Express card, it contains four digits and is located on the front near the embossed account numeral.

When properly used, the CVV is highly effective against some forms of fraud. For example, if the data in the magnetic stripe is changed, a stripe reader will indicate a "damaged card" error. The flat-printed CVV is (or should be) routinely required for telephone or Internet-based purchases because it implies that the person placing the order has physical possession of the card. Some merchants check the flat-printed CVV even when transactions are conducted in person.

CVV technology cannot protect against all forms of fraud. If a card is stolen or the legitimate user is tricked into divulging vital account information to a fraudulent merchant, unauthorized charges against the account can result. A common method of stealing credit card data is phishing, in which a criminal sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. Once the criminal has possession of the CVV in addition to personal data from a victim, widespread fraud against that victim, including identity theft, can occur.

This was last updated in February 2008

Continue Reading About card verification value (CVV)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Fraud??? Never heard of her.
Cancel

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

  • tokenization

    Tokenization is the process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that retain all the essential ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

    The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is United States legislation that defines a framework of guidelines and ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close