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Understanding CVV

The CVV on cards can go by a variety of names depending on which card brand issued the card, the different names are:

  • Visa: Card Verification Value (CVV)
  • American Express: Card Identification Code (CIC)
  • Mastercard: Card Verification Code (CVC)
  • Discover: Card Verification Data (CVD)

No matter what the company calls it, the CVV has one purpose, to verify that the cardholder has the physical card in their possession. Entering the wrong code will almost always result in the transaction being declined.

The CVV is not part of the data stored on the cards magnetic strip, or on the EMV chip, and as a business owner, you are strictly prohibited from storing the CVV information in your database or card vault. If a database was hacked and credit card numbers were stolen, the hackers would not have access to the security code, rendering the stolen information significantly less useful. The best practice for ecommerce websites is that they now require the CVV at checkout.

Related Articles

Card-Present vs. Card-Not-Present
Transaction Types
Types of Credit Card Declines
An Overview of AVS

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