Blog Home /

Close this search box.

The Real Truth About Credit Card Security Code

Credit Card Fraud

Table of Contents

You’ve been using your credit card and punching in that 3-digit security code for years.  But why?  Is it a safety feature?  And how does it work?

Security code is a series of 3 digits, usually found on the back of your credit card. This number is different from the credit card number. This code gives some higher assurance that the card is in your possession and your information has not been stolen.

What is a Credit Card Security Code?

Card Security Code (CSC) is also known as Card Validation Code (CVC). A card security code (CSC) is a series of numbers that are shown on the back of the card. This important 3-digit number is a security feature for the card that you own while doing transactions. It is not the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and cannot be given by the cardholder. To reduce credit card fraud the banks started providing security codes.

The security code is so safe that it will not be available on your online credit card account. And even when you go for a purchase and do not give your card for a transaction, (like online) the retailer may ask you for your card number and your security code.  However, even though you give them your credit card number, the retailers aren’t allowed to (nor can they) store credit card security codes after completing transactions. It is because there is a chance of hacking into a retailer’s electronic record, but your CSC/CVC number is never stored anywhere.  It is only a trigger to complete the purchase, showing that you hold the card.

Where can you find the Card Security Code?

There will be a three or four-digit number at the back of your card. That is the security code. 

If you are unable to find or read the security code, check with the bank that issued the card. They will provide proper help with the card. You cannot make payments without the proper security code.

Purpose of Credit Card Security code

As the name suggests, the code’s purpose is to protect your account from any fraud alerts. When you enter the card number and expiry date every time, include the code number also.

Every credit card transaction with the code helps in verifying that the card is in your control. 

All the banks that issue credit or debit cards should be provided with a unique CSC code. To complete any transactions, you need to enter the CSC code. The CSC code verifies if the card is available with you now during the transactions.

Protecting against Fraud Alerts

For online transactions or other virtual payments, you generally use debit or credit cards. These portals should not save any information about the CSC number of the cardholder. Since it is against the Security Standards.

Even if the retailer has all the other details of your card, they cannot have access to the CSC. This makes it impossible for anyone to misuse your card information. If there is any violation in the data security of the bank, the CSC is not stored in the databases. Then you cannot use your card for transactions without the CSC.

Need for Card Security Code

As stated already, you will need a credit card security code for online transactions. It is not that all retailers will ask for the code. But they may need it for additional security.

If you’re using the payment applications like Apple Pay or Google Pay for any transactions, then you’ll be giving your credit card information along with the CSC. But it is not required to give the code each time you pay for something with the application. 

You will not be required to give your CSC when you pay in person at a card terminal. If you allow a retailer to save your card information and add charges to future purchases, then there is no need for the CSC.

Keep your Card Information Secure

You, as a cardholder, should know the security code for the safety feature to work. It is important to protect your credit card information and your security code.

You may want to consider the following precautions to protect your card.

  • Don’t lend your credit card to other people or leave it in a public place.
  • Take a look at the websites before purchasing online. Check if it’s secure to use those websites. Check the URL of your website and see if it says “HTTPS” at the start of the address (instead of “HTTP”). This means the website is secure with an SSL certificate. The SSL certificate is used to secure all data that is passed from the browser to the website’s server.
  • Don’t enter your information at a public computer or public WiFi network.
  • Avoid phone calls about your credit card information or security code. Scammers can manipulate caller ID.
  • If you want to pay for something by phone, you should call the bank yourself.
  • Your card shouldn’t be visible in the photos that you post online.
  • If your details are on the phone, then lock your phone in a proper manner. Like protecting it with a strong password or biometric authentication.
  • Take advantage of any security services of the bank regarding your card. Like notifications on large transactions or unknown account activity.
  • If you have any issues with your card information, then contact your bank. They will guide you to solve your issues.

The bank can only solve your credit card information issues. But you can contact The Creditpros for solving any credit repair issues or having any credit repair-related queries.

Sharing your Credit Card Security Code

Consumer protection laws have a certain liability limit for credit card fraud. Security codes help in reducing the risk of fraud.

Keep your security code hidden unless you’re sure if anyone needs it, and only if you make a transaction.

And, finally, it’s you who need to protect your card and be careful in sharing your credit card information. Even though it’s a security code, you’re not completely protected from online fraud. 

Benefits of Security Code

  • The use of a security code is the better choice for banks that do not need a physical card. The banks will check for other security procedures and add another layer of protection. This prevents fraudulent transactions.
  • The security layers prevent the hackers from using them for unauthorized purchases.
  • The security protocols keep you safe and save money for the business. Thus, it reduces fraud and chargebacks.
  • The banks have now improved to chip-equipped IC cards.

Limitations of Security Code

  • The security code cannot protect against phishing scams. If you are a victim of phishing, and you gave out your CSC/CVC code, that’s all on you.  Phishing scams are where someone talks to you as if they’re a co-worker, someone you can trust.  Don’t do it.
  • The bank may not store the CSC for any length of time. If a bank wants to bill a card for a regular subscription, who would not provide the code after the initial payment. Payment gateways must have responded by adding certain bill features as part of the authorization process.
  • Some card issuers do not use the CSC. So the transactions without CSC will now have higher card processing costs. And fraudulent transactions without CSC are resolved in the favor of the cardholder.
  • It is possible for a fraudster to guess the CSC/CVC by using a distributed attack.
  • If there is an identical match for your credit card with the magnetic stripe, then the fraudster has access to your CSC/CVC.

Suggested Reads:

Key Takeaway

Credit card usage continues to grow, but so does credit card fraud. In the same way, security features like a security code can help to protect your credit and your livelihood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can card security code values be stored for card-on-file for recurring transactions?

It is not good to keep your security code values on a specific purchase or recurring transaction. Some service providers offer a concierge-style service. In which the provider retains the cardholder details for future transactions.

Why is there no security code on my card?

Debit cards without CSCs are not approved for online transactions. While credit cards without security codes are not approved for online and international transactions.

Share this Article


About The Credit Pros

Since 2007, TCP has been dedicated to Helping Consumers Get Accurate & Improved Credit Scores

Sign up for Credit Building
Tips & Helpful Information

Your privacy matters! We only uses this info to send content and updates. You may unsubscribe anytime.

Why wait? Get started today

It only takes 90 seconds to sign up. Start fixing errors on your credit report and get help to increase your credit score. Your information is safe with us. We treat your data as if it were our own.

Credit score ranges

Privacy and Cookies
We use cookies on our website. Your interactions and personal data may be collected on our websites by us and our partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions