The Real Value of CVV Codes

October 23rd, 2007|| · No Comments ·

If you buy a lot of stuff online or if you regularly pay bills with credit cards online, you’re probably wondering what’s with the CVV everyone asks for now. You probably know it’s a security measure, but you might not understand fully how it works.

CVV stands for card verification value. It’s the 3 or 4 digit number located in or beside the signature bar on the back of your credit card that most credit card processing companies now require to complete transactions. The CVV or other code variations used by different credit card companies are mainly about verifying you actually have the credit card in your possession when you go to make a purchase. If you don’t have the card, you don’t have the CVV code and you can’t make a purchase.

One question that arises is, if you enter the CVV code on a website along with your credit card number, isn’t the combination of the two just as valuable to potential thieves as if there was no CVV in the first place? Another question is, if a credit card processing service is in PCI Compliance, shouldn’t safeguards against fraud already be in place?

Requiring a CVV may not be a comprehensive security solution, but it’s likely that nothing ever will be. In the meantime, at least nobody can use your old statements or receipts to make a purchase as long as a CVV is required by the payment processing company.

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