How do I Find my Credit Card CVV Number?

B. Miller

The credit card CVV number is located in a slightly different place depending on the specific credit card company. For Visa®, Discover®, and MasterCard® cards, the credit card CVV number is located on the back of the card, but with American Express® cards, the number is located on the front of the card. In addition, each credit card company refers to the number by a slightly different term: Visa® calls it the CVV2 — Card Verification Value 2, MasterCard® uses the term CVC2 — Card Verification Code 2, and American Express® and Discover® both refer to it as the CID, which stands for Card Identification Digits.

Many credit cards have the CVV number on the back.
Many credit cards have the CVV number on the back.

Visa®, Discover®, and MasterCard®

To locate the number on a Visa®, Discover®, or MasterCard®, simply flip the card over and look at the signature strip. You will see a four digit number followed by a three digit number; the four digit number is the same as the last four digits of your credit card number, and the three digit number is the credit card CVV number. You will need to provide those three digits to place online orders.

It is important to be protective of all credit card numbers, but particularly the CVV number.
It is important to be protective of all credit card numbers, but particularly the CVV number.

American Express® and Other Credit Cards

On an American Express® card, the CVV number is found on the front of the card, slightly above and to the right or left of the credit card number. It is a four digit number. For any other credit cards, such as bank issued credit cards, you may need to call the bank and ask where the credit card CVV number is located if you cannot find it on your own; usually it will just be the one number on the card that does not seem to correspond to anything else.

Purpose of the CVV

Card Verification Value (CVV) was added to credit cards when online shopping became more common, because it is intended to verify that the person typing in the credit card number is physically holding the card. The number is virtually never required for in-person transactions at stores. Most websites now require the credit card number, expiration date, and CVV number for all transactions. It is a form of protection for online shoppers to prevent unauthorized transactions if someone manages to steal one's credit card number.

Prevent Credit Card Fraud

It is important to be very protective of all your credit card numbers, but particularly the CVV number. In addition to safe-guarding credit card information, there are many other ways to help prevent credit card fraud:

  • only shop online at trusted and secure sites
  • save receipts to compare with billing statements
  • carefully check over credit card statements each month for unauthorized charges
  • do not give out your credit card information over the phone, unless the company is absolutely reputable
  • never let anyone borrow your credit card
CVV numbers were added to credit cards in response to the rising popularity of online shopping.
CVV numbers were added to credit cards in response to the rising popularity of online shopping.

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Discussion Comments

@Pharaoh - Actually I think the system is pretty good for protecting people from credit card fraud. If someone physically steals your credit card, you'll probably find out about it quickly. But if someone obtains your credit card number and you still have the card, it could be awhile before you realize your information has been stolen.

I always find it kind of annoying when I have to enter a credit card number as well as my CVV number when I'm shopping online. It seems like it takes so long to make a purchase when you have to put all that information in.

However, I guess I should be happy since places require the CVV number to protect customers. That way people can't make a purchase if all they have is the credit card number. Although I guess this wouldn't help if someone physically stole the credit card.


@betterment - It is true that most website do put a little explanation about what is a CVV number on a credit card and how to find it. However, I know a few people that are so technologically impaired they have trouble with it every time they shop online. So those little explanations don't work for everyone.

@Glasshouse - Good luck with your customer service call. I was surprised to read in your other comment that they charge you for a replacement credit card. Maybe you could just say you lost it and they would replace it with a new credit card that has the credit card number with CVV visible? It might be worth a try.

I shop online all the time, so I'm pretty good at finding the CVV number on my cards. I remember the first time I had to put it in on an online checkout form I felt a little confused. Luckily, most website have a little explanation about where to find your CVV number.


@ Cougars- You know what...that is a great idea. I get so caught up with the convenience of the web that I forget there is such a thing as customer service. I will call Chase and see...although I dread the long hold times, multiple call transfers, and the automation that comes with a Chase call.


@ GlassHouse- Have you tried to call the company to retrieve the CVV number on your credit card? This is probably your best bet.


Is there any way to retrieve a cvv code from a credit card? A couple of my credit and debit cards are so worn that the code is completely scratched off the back. One card I remember the code, but the other one I have no clue. This prevents me from using the card for online transactions, resulting in a loss of points for my miles certificates. I would like to retrieve the code without buying a replacement card (call me cheap).

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