What is CVV in an ATM Card

CVV, in an ATM card, is a multi-digit number at the backside or frontside of any card. CVV stands for Card Verification Value that is vital for any kind of credit or debit card transaction. It is usually a 3 or 4 digit number.

What is CVV in an ATM card and what is its Importance?

CVV in an ATM card is actually a combination of features used to establish a unique identity of the card owner so as to minimize fraudulent activities. CVV or Card Verification is also known by other abbreviations such as:

  • CVV or CVV2 Card Verification/Validation Value
  • CVC – Card Verification Code or Card Validation Code
  • CSC – Card Security Code
  • CID – Card Identification Number

Different cards use different acronyms such as VISA uses CVV2 (Card Verification Value), Mastercard has CVV or CSC, whereas Discover & American Express Cards have CID. Amex cards have a 4-digit CID, which is printed on the front side of the card. The rest of the cards have the usual 3-digit CVV on the back side, near the signature space.

All these codes have the same basic function that is to ensure that the card user is in charge of the transaction and holds the physical card.

Components of CVV

There are two parts of CVV in an ATM card or any other card. The first part of the CVV, or the first code is in the long black stripe on the backside and has the following features:

  • It contains a lot of crucial, unique data about the user’s identity
  • Data Encryption Standard is also used to keep the user’s data encrypted and identity safe
  • This information can be read by a card data or magnetic stripe reader. Once the card is swiped, the card reader recovers this binary data to ensure the owner’s unique identity
  • It prevents fraud and theft as the stripe reader shall indicate an error or damaged card if the magnetic stripe is altered

The second part of CVV in an ATM card is what we have been discussing, the flat printed 3 or 4 digit code. It has the following attributes:

  • This unique code on the magnetic stripe is converted into a decimal code to create a three or four-digit code printed on the card. This is what ensures the physical possession of the card
  • It is generated by the banks or card providers using the user’s primary account number, 4-digit expiration date, and a three-digit service code. However, the exact algorithm is unknown for security reasons
  • CVV in an ATM card cannot be stored or transferred during swiping or online payments. It prevents fraudulent activities as someone can not transact by simply knowing the debit or credit card number but must own the physical card to know the CVV

Note: This cannot prevent the loss that you may have to bear if you are tricked to disclose your personal/financial information on fraud calls/emails, fall prey to phishing or if you lose your card or someone gets to know your CVV. Block the card immediately if you lose it.

Read More: How to Unblock an ATM Card, Reactivate Debit Card
  • No two cards can have the same CVV and that confirms the uniqueness of the code as well as the user
  • Some merchants check the CVV in an ATM card even when the transaction is done in-person to confirm that you own the card or you are the right user

Importance of CVV in an ATM Card

CVV in an ATM card is generated by the card-issuing bank or institution to act as a security for your theft, fraud, or unauthorized transactions. CVV is asked when doing online payments to ensure that the card user possesses the card. Once you enter the CVV, you get an OTP (One Time Password) on your registered mobile number to complete the transaction. This further enhances the security as one may not be able to do payment without OTP. However, if you lose your card, then it can be misused by swiping at any payment gateway.

Difference between CVV in an ATM card and a PIN

You must not confuse CVV in an ATM card with a PIN (Personal Identification Number). CVV is not required at ATMs but for online payments or swiping cards, while the PIN is required for ATM transactions. Also, you can auto generate the PIN and not CVV. The PIN is usually a four-digit number that acts like a password to do a transaction from your account.

How come my ATM card does not have a CVV number?
All debit and credit cards have CVV numbers. If your ATM card is purely an ATM card and not a debit card, then it may not have a CVV. Otherwise, you will find a CVV on the backside of your card.
Does CVV protects from all kinds of fraud?
CVV protects from frauds such as unauthorized transactions and theft. However, you need to be cautious against cyber crimes like phishing as well as fraudulent calls where you willingly share the information.
How can I generate a CVV in an ATM card?
You can not generate CVV in an ATM card because it is generated by the card providers. Just like the card number or the expiry date, the security code (CSC) is also generated.
How can I protect my CVV from being disclosed?
Do not share your CVV number, any personal information, or share photos of cards. Password-protect your WiFi or internet connection that you use and have an antivirus installed on your computer or mobile device. Also, enter the card details only on trusted sites and apps and ignore the requests from unsolicited ones.
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