Card Security Code (CVC2, CVV2, CID)

The card security code is a fraud prevention tool for card-not-present transactions.

Every debit and credit card has a card security code (sometimes referred to as CVC2, CVV2, CID, etc). This code is a 3 or 4-digit number that is printed on the card.

  • Visa®: Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2) is a three-digit code printed on the back of the card
  • Mastercard®: Card Validation Code 2 (CVC2) is a three-digit code printed on the back of the card
  • Discover®: Card Member ID (CMID) is a three-digit code printed on the back of the card
  • American Express®: Card Identification Number (CID) is a four-digit code printed above the account number on the front of the card

How the Card Security Code Helps Prevent Chargebacks

Merchants are encouraged to ask for this code during the checkout process. It can help prevent unauthorized transactions and the resulting chargebacks.

The information provided by the shopper during checkout is sent to the issuer for review. The issuer either confirms or denies the code provided by the shopper matches what is actually printed on the card.

A mismatch could indicate the shopper doesn’t have the card in-hand — for example, stolen account information is being used by a fraudster. Card verification data can be used to decline transactions that are likely fraudulent so the merchant can avoid chargebacks.

It’s important to note that if a merchant doesn’t request card security codes during checkout, it will be very difficult to fight and win fraud-related chargebacks — especially Visa allocation disputes.

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