What does CW mean on credit card

CVC and CVV code: The card security number

What is the card security number?

The card verification number is a 3 or 4 digit security code printed on the credit card. It must be entered when shopping online to ensure that the buyer has the physical credit card and is not just using stolen credit card information.

Card verification numbers can only be found on credit cards. They do not exist with the Girocard or Maestro, as they are normal bank cards.


  • Visa’s credit card verification number is called the CVV number. The abbreviation stands for "Card Validation Value" (CVV) and means "value for card validation" in German.
  • The equivalent of Mastercard is the CVC number - written in full "Card Validation Code", translated as "card verification number".
  • American Express uses the term "Card Identification" (CID, "credit card identification") for its security codes.

Other names for the security codes on credit cards are:

  • Card Verification Number (CVN)
  • Card Security Code (CSC)
  • Card Code Verification (CCV)
  • Card verification number (KPN)

Where is the verification number on the credit card?

The credit card verification number always consists of a three- or four-digit combination. It is not embossed on the card, but printed on and therefore cannot be read by machines.

CVV code on the Visa card

The CVV code has three digits and can be found on the back of the Visa credit card at the right end of the signature field.

CVC code on the Mastercard

Like the CVV code, the CVC code also has three digits and is located on the right edge of the signature box on the back of the credit card.

CID code on the American Express Card

Unlike Visa and Mastercard, the CID code is printed on the front of the credit card - to the right above the credit card number. The CID code has four digits.

Difference to credit card number and check digit

The card security number should not be confused with the security code or the general card number.

  • The credit card number - for example the Visa card number - is always on the front of the credit card. Unlike the verification number, the card number is embossed and consists of 12 to 16 characters.
  • The check digit is the last digit of the credit card number.
  • The card number of debit cards is used far less often than with credit cards.

What are CVV and CVC used for?

All codes mentioned have the same purpose: They are intended to ensure security for distance selling. The codes are only checked if the buyer cannot show the card to the seller; for example, when paying by credit card on the Internet or by phone. When paying in-store, it is sufficient for the buyer to verify himself with his signature or personal PIN.

Stolen credit card numbers cannot be used for online shopping without the CVV or CVC number, because without this the purchase cannot be completed, even if the credit card number is correct. Because the CVV code cannot be derived from the credit card number and is only known if the card is actually physically present.

When are CVV and CVC used?

Providing the security code is only one step in a comprehensive security check. During a telephone transaction or on the Internet, the cardholder must authenticate himself in several steps:

  1. with the name
  2. with the credit card number
  3. with the expiration date of the credit card
  4. with the card security number

The disadvantage: If the credit card is stolen, online transactions are possible without any problems as long as the holder does not block the card. That is why there are additional safeguards for credit cards. For example, cardholders can use the 3D secure process, which requires an additional password to be entered during the ordering process.

In addition, online shops that ask for the CVC or CVV number for ordering purposes are not allowed to note the numbers anywhere in writing or even to print them on an invoice or the like for data protection reasons. This is to ensure that the security code is requested again with each order.

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