Your Visa card number and security code help verify the card’s authenticity. You need them, along with the card’s expiration date, to make purchases online or over the phone. Luckily, your Visa card number and security code are easy to distinguish once you know what you’re looking for.
How Visa card numbers and security codes work:
Card number: A Visa credit card number can be 13-to-19 digits long. It’s usually printed right on the front of your card. But some cards have begun to put the number on the back as an extra security measure. Either way, you can’t miss it. Your card number is completely unique. It’s the primary piece of information merchants use to identify your account.
Security code: A Visa card’s security code is a 3-digit number printed on the back, to the right of the signature box. It plays a big role in online and phone transactions, since you can’t just swipe, tap or insert your card. The code helps confirm that a card is legitimate. If someone just has your card number but not the security code, they can’t use it.
Expiration date: The month and last two numbers of the year in which your Visa credit card expires are printed on the front of your card. It might say “08/24,” for example. It’s the date through which the card remains valid. In other words, your card will work through the last day of the month listed. This is the last big piece of information you’ll need to make purchases online or by phone.
When you swipe, tap or insert your card at a store, you won’t have to worry about your Visa card number and security code, as the computer system deals with them automatically. But it’s good to know where everything is when you need to make a purchase manually. For example, the security code for Visa, Mastercard and Discover is 3 digits on the back of your card. For American Express cards, it’s 4 digits on the front.
The code on the back of a credit card is a three-digit number known as a Card Security Code (CSC) or Card Verification Value (CVV), among other names. This code is on the back of credit cards because it helps to prevent fraudulent purchases from being made online or over the phone. You’ll need to provide it whenever you make a so-called “card not present” transaction – such as a purchase from an online merchant. A … read full answercredit card’s security code is not always three digits long or on the back of your card, however. American Express cards are the exception – they have a four-digit security code on the front.
That’s the simple explanation, at least. But there are a few other important things you should know about your security code.
Here's some more info about the code on the back of your credit card:
The CSC is also known as a Card Verification Code (CVC) or Card Verification Value (CVV). It is usually a 3- or 4-digit number printed on a credit card, not embossed like the card number.
When you make a “card not present” purchase, either online or over the phone, you will have to provide the code. This confirms you are in possession of the card and the transaction is most likely legitimate.
You don’t have to provide the code on the back (or front) of your credit card when you make purchases in person. The CSC is read when the card is swiped, dipped or tapped.
The length and location of the security code on a credit card depends on the card’s network. On a Visa, Mastercard or Discover card, it is a three-digit number on the back of the card, to the right of the signature panel. With an American Express card, the code is four digits on the front of the card, above and to the right of the card number.
The security code on a credit card is not the same as a card’s PIN. A PIN, which you might use to do a cash advance or verify an in-person purchase with some card readers, is not printed on your card. You generally have to request one by phone.
Remember, the code on the back (or front) of a credit card is a safety feature, so be sure to protect it. Never provide your code to anyone but a merchant when you’re paying them. And never send it in an e-mail, which is almost always an unsecured transmission.
If someone has access to your card number, expiration date, and security code, an online merchant would have no reason to suspect a purchase is fraudulent. The good news is that credit cards all give you a $0 fraud liability guarantee. As long as you report any unauthorized purchases to your card’s issuer, you won’t have to pay for them.
Credit cards starting with 4 are on the Visa network, which means they can be used to make purchases from more than 40 million merchants in 200+ countries and territories. A credit card starting with 4 also gives you access to Visa’s standard benefits, including fraud liability protection. Individual card issuers may elect to provide additional Visa perks for certain types of accounts, too.… read full answer
The first digit in a card number isn’t the only one with significance, though. The five digits that follow are especially important, as they correspond with the issuing bank.
Yes, contactless credit cards are secure because they use the same security standards for transactions as EMV chip credit cards. Whether you’re using a tap-to-pay card or inserting your EMV chip card, the sensitive information sent to the card reader is encrypted. Both contactless and EMV chip credit cards create a unique, one-time-use code for the transaction instead of sending your name, billing address, CVV code, or zip code. This is called “tokenization.” So, even if a thief intercepted your contactless transaction, they couldn’t do much with the information.… read full answer
Top 4 Safety Concerns About Contactless Credit Cards (and Why You Shouldn’t Worry)
Can someone intercept my card info from a distance? No, it is not possible for someone to read your card from a distance as the technology behind contactless credit cards is based on a short-range RF (radio frequency) antenna that only transmits digital data within a very small range. It simply requires the card to be within a very short proximity (1-2 inches) of the payment terminal, rather than inserting the card into a chip reader.
Is short-range skimming a possibility? Although Mastercard acknowledges the existence of phone apps that can pick up some of the data from contactless cards, the thief would have to be in extremely close proximity to the card, and the app could only read the account number and the card’s expiration date. A typical card transaction requires the account number, the expiration date, the security code on the back of the card (CVV) and/or the ZIP code from the billing address. So, even though it’s possible for fraudsters to collect some data from your credit card, the information they would be able to capture is not enough to complete a purchase.
Can contactless credit cards be duplicated? The contactless and EMV chip technology makes it harder for fraudsters to duplicate your card. When you make a credit card payment, it provides the reader with a unique, one-time code that identifies the transaction. This number is dynamic and cannot be copied. However, since contactless credit cards still have a magnetic stripe, the info from the magnetic stripe can be cloned and used by others. But the stolen information would only work for swiped purchases. Keep in mind that even in cases like this, an issuer’s fraud liability guarantee protects you from having to pay for unauthorized transactions made with your card.
Can someone use my lost/stolen credit card for purchases? Although contactless credit cards are secure in terms of technology, there is a downside for lost and stolen contactless cards. Usually, when making a contactless payment, no PIN or signature is required for small purchases. So, if your card is lost or stolen, it could be used by someone else without easy detection. In this instances, make sure to contact your credit card issuer right away. You don’t need to worry too much about it, though, as you will not be hold responsible for fraudulent and unauthorized charges.
Ultimately, it is worth noting that both EMV chip cards and contactless credit cards are more secure than swiping your card’s magnetic stripe.
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