It doesn't matter what you call them – a card security code (CSC), card verification value (CVV or CV2), card verification code (CVC) or even a card code verification (CCV) - those three or four digits provide an additional measure of credit card security when you make purchases online, by mail or over the phone. But, finding them can be confusing, especially if you've never made an online purchase with that specific card.
The card security code “is one in a series of steps that merchants can take to prevent fraud and verify that the order is being placed by the actual cardholder,” says Matthew Towson, director of community affairs for Discover Financial Services, adding that in most cases, the only way for a cardholder to provide the security code is to actually be in possession of the card.
Where to find the security code
Where you find the security code depends on the card. If you have a Visa, Mastercard or Discover, turn the card over. In the signature box or just to the right of it, you will see a series of digits. However long the series, the final three digits are the security code.
American Express cardholders can find their security code on the front of the card, either to the left or right of the embossed 15-digit card number. These four digits are printed in black, not embossed.
Every credit card has a security code used to help verify that the card is in your possession. Here are the codes' locations on American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa cards: