What is a CVS number?

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A CVS number refers to a credit card’s security value or number.  Some credit card companies refer to this security value as a CVV or card verification value while others use CSC or card security code. Some people also equate a CVS number to other terms such as card code verification number or the signature panel code number.  Regardless of the term used, though a credit card’s CVS number is used by various banks and card-issuing companies to put additional security on the card especially when the cardholder is making an online, mobile, or phone transaction.

The basic concept of having a CVS number, or verification number, on every credit card is to ensure that the person making a transaction online or over the phone is in possession of the actual credit card to be used to pay for such a transaction.  In standard practice, only the credit card number, card name, and/or expiration number may be required from the cardholder when making a purchase over the Internet or via phone.   These simple card details, though, may easily get stolen, and some people may make fraudulent transactions out of them. To improve the level of transaction security, many credit card-issuing banks now require cardholders to declare their CVS number for every online or phone transaction made.  This is done to ensure that the person doing the transaction is actually in possession of the credit card and not somebody else.  This particular process will at least eliminate some unauthorized and fraudulent transactions involving the same card.

Most credit cards have a three-digit CVS number or security verification number.  As for cards issued under Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB, and Diners, the CVS number can be found on the back of the credit card near the signature strip or panel.  American Express cards, meanwhile, have the CVS numbers printed on the front and contain four digits.

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