Need Help? Chat icon | Call - 1 888 414 7111
Merchant logo
Home > News and Blog

November 16, 2022
by David Goodale

What is a CVV code?

(Edited from video transcript for greater readability)

Hello, David here at Today we're tackling a simple question, What is a CVV code? Stay tuned, I'm going to answer it in one second.

A CVV code, which stands for Card Verification Value, is a three-digit security code on the back of every credit card.

Card Verification Value


A Card Verification Value (CVV), is a three-digit security code on the back of every credit card. It is a great anti-fraud tool to use in e-commerce and telephone-like virtual terminal-based transactions. This encompases any transaction where a customer is not physically present with the card in hand.

The reason it's a good tool to fight fraud is that under the Payment Card Industry (PCI) rules, data security standard, merchants are not allowed to record a CVV code. That three-digit security code is not supposed to be stored anywhere. The only place it's supposed to exist is on the back of a customer's card. If a customer submits that three-digit code, the CVV code, in their e-commerce order, you will a obtain security result from your payment processor.

Validating CVV Codes

The result will indicate that it matched or it didn't match. If it matches, you know, two things, you know that the security code was valid, and you also know that there's not supposed to be any records of that code stored anywhere. In other words, it should be harder for hackers to get their hands on the three-digit security code than it would the card number.

I will admit it is not a perfect practice because nothing stops merchants from recording or storing CVV codes, but they're not supposed to. CVV is a very good tool, it's a very good indicator to look at to determine if a transaction is suspect or if it's legitimate. If you ever have a suspicious order, my strongest advice is always to call that cardholder, and make sure it is a legitimate transaction. We have other content on our channel about how to spot and fight fraud. One of the videos recently that we did was about how to use modern video conferencing technologies such as Zoom or Google Meet to Combat fraud. If you have any questions, you can check that video out.


I hope I've answered the question. Thanks for watching. Have a great day there. If you need any help setting up a merchant account you can always cuntact us for a free quote.

Related Topics
April 19, 2022
A chargeback is a dispute between a customer and the business. In this video we explore what a chargeback is, and some of the reasons that chargebacks occur.
April 07, 2022
If you get too many chargebacks your merchant account can be shut down. In this video we explore what you should do to keep your account in good standing if you've been targeted by fraudsters and suddenly start receiving a lot of chargebacks.
February 07, 2023
Card testing is an increasing problem for #ecommerce merchants. Fraudsters are constantly looking for ways to test cards. It's even a problem for payment processors, Visa and Mastercard. In this video David explains what card testing is, why fraudsters do it, and how to stop it, in addition to advice on how to get some of the fees reversed when it occurs.
January 20, 2022
Hello, David here at Today I'm going to tackle a very frustrating topic. Sometimes it's infuriating. What do you do when you get a chargeback and you lose it and it's completely unfair? What's left? Stay tuned, I'm going to do my best to help in one second.
May 14, 2021
In the past the best way to manually screen suspicious orders was to call the customer on the phone and ask them questions. Now, with modern web based video technologies it's possible to validate customers in a way that was never previously possible.
March 16, 2018
Visa is addressing some of the most common chargeback related complaints from merchants. Going forward, chargebacks are a thing of the past and will now be known as disputes.
March 22, 2023
A positive AVS result is an indicator of a legitimate transaction. In this short explainer video David explains what AVS is, how it works, and things to be aware of when relying on an AVS security result for any particular order.
March 25, 2023
It can be difficult to win a chargeback dispute. David explores different ways to shift the odds into your favour.
March 29, 2023
David explains what two factor authentication is, how it works, and how it shifts chargeback risk for fraud onto the card issuer and away from the merchant.
July 21, 2023
How does Visa and MasterCard chargeback arbitration work? When a merchant has fought a chargeback and lost there is still one more chance to turn it around by taking it to the card brands for arbitration.
July 28, 2023
Merchants with businesses that are prone to disputes need to be careful to stay below the Visa and MasterCard thresholds.
January 10, 2024
There is a strong argument that 3DSecure (version 2) is the single best anti-fraud tool available to any online merchant. In this video David explains what 3DSecure is, how it works, how you set it up on your website, and different ways that it can be configured.

Need professional guidance?
Contact us for a free one hour consultation.

Can I Help Lower Your Processing Fees?

If you found this content helpful, will you give me the opportunity to quote on your business?

View Rates
David Goodale About the Author

My name is David Goodale, CEO at Merchant I launched our business in 2001 and have over 20 years of expertise in the field of online payments. If you have a payments related question or project, and especially if it relates to multi-currency or international e-commerce don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always happy to help with an honest opinion, and enjoy chatting with folks from interesting businesses.

Toll free: 888-414-7111 ext. 5
Direct: (905) 901-2254