Card Validation Code (CVC)

What is Card Validation Code?
The Card Validation Code (CVC) is a three-digit security code that is printed on the back of cards. The number appears in reverse italic at the top of the signature panel at the end (see sample). This program helps validate that a genuine card is being used during a transaction. All MasterCard cards, both credit and debit, were required to contain CVC by January 1, 1997; all Visa cards must contain CVC by January 1, 2001.

How does CVC Work?
Card-not-present merchants are being directed to ask cardholders for CVC when cardholders place orders. Merchants ask the cardholder to read this code from the card. The merchant then asks for CVC verification during the authorization process. The issuer (or processor) validates the CVC and relays the decline/approve results during the authorization process. Merchants, by using the CVC results along with the Address Verification Service (AVS) and authorization responses, can then make more informed decisions about whether to accept transactions.