Anyone who has ever completed purchases online and paid with a credit or debit card knows what the CVV code, which is required by any website to enter in order to authorize the payment, means. Whereas it can be found on the reverse side of the most popular bank cards (such as Visa or MasterCard), some companies – notable American Express – place the code on the observe side of the cards.
What Is Essentially the CVV Code?
The CVV code, known also as the card verification value, is usually used solely for buying goods and services online. You could notice that when you make purchases online, you are not asked to enter the PIN code, as it usually happens when you pay at shops or withdraw the cash at ATMs. On the contrary, you are asked to enter the CVV code.
You can find the code on the reverse side of the cards that has been issued either by Visa or MasterCard. Typically, the code is located to the right side of the magnetic stripe. However, American Express and several other, less recognized companies place the code on the obverse side, right above the logo and/or the credit card number.
Structure of the CVV Code
Indeed, considering that the number of digits in the CVV code is either 3 or 4, the code can have noticeably less variations than the credit card numbers. Despite this fact, every digit in the code bears a certain meaning anyway.
The digits range from the most significant digit (the first digit) to the least significant one (the last digit). The first digit stands for the type of payments that can be carried out by using this code: 1 and 2 stand for the international interchange, whereas 5 and 6 stand only for the national one.
The second digit stands for the processing of authorization, even though there are only a few options: 0 (the authorization is given according to the present rules), 2 (the authorization is given by the issuer who should be online), and 4 (same as 2 except of the cases when there is a bilateral agreement).
The last digit points out what goods and services are available as well as whether the PIN code is required.
How to Generate a CVV or CVV2 Credit Card Number
You get a CVV code once the bank has issued your credit or debit card. In order to calculate the code, the bank uses a certain algorithm that includes a couple of CVKs (known also as DES keys), an expiration date, a service code, and a PAN (Primary Account Number).
By including all these values into the computations, the system provides you with a CVV or CVV2 for making online purchases.
You may ask, indeed, whether a holder of another credit or debit card may have the same CVV code that you have. And the answer is yes, considering the small number of digits in the code.
Yet, you should take into account that the credit card number – as well as the expiration date which you have to provide for making purchases online too – are different, and so there is barely any threat to you. CVV is just a code by entering which you let the system authenticate that the purchase is made by you, thus avoiding an online fraud.
Of course, you can generate a CVV code, if you know that values that are specified above. However, that number will be valid just seemingly and so do not enter it on any websites – the code will not pass verification, indeed.
What Is the Difference Between CVV and CVV2?
The difference between the both types of codes, indeed, exists, yet it does not show up so easily to a typical user of credit & debit cards. The one and only difference between CVV and CVV2 codes is that banks use more sophisticated algorithms for creating CVV numbers, thus reducing the chance of the credit card user to be a subject to a financial fraud.
This way, CVV/CVV2 code protects the safety of your funds when you make purchases via the internet, whereas the PIN is a safety measure in the cases when you are present with the card (i.e. shops or ATMs, where you get physical goods or cash).