While making online transactions using credit cards, you are definitely required to provide the CSC, CVV or CVC of your credit card. You might be confused about the abbreviation at the first glance. What is more interesting is when you have got to know this code, just like your PIN, is a credit card security feature that you are not expected to let strangers know, you become even more confused!
“Is it safe to provide my CSC during online transaction?”
“Will merchants store my CSC for their illegal use”
“Will my CSC together with credit card’s details be on the verge of being disclosed to cyber hackers?”
Tons of questions occur to your mind. No worry, take a deep breath and cool down, as you will find the answers to your concerns right here.
So, what is CSC anyway?
CSC, or card security code, which is also referred to as Card Verification Value 2 (CVV) or Card Validation Code (CVC), is a unique 3 or 4-digit number printed on your credit card. This 4-digit code is located on the front of a Commonwealth Bank American Express card, above the card number on the right hand side. In contrast, the 3-digit code is printed on the back of a Master or Visa card and is very visible as it is placed right on the signature panel.
How does CSC help your credit card security?
Unlike the credit card number and expiration information, the CSC is not captured when a credit card is run through an electronic credit card reader. It is also not visible on a carbon imprint that was made of the card. It is also not shown on either sales receipts or billing statements. In another word, the CSC is only known to you, the card holder, when you look at the card and read the number yourself. This is to ascertain that the person who is making transactions by using credit cards is in physical possession of the card itself. This helps protect card holders from fraudulent use of their own credit card numbers in case the card number is by any means disclosed to strangers.
A question remains, is it safe to provide my CSC during online transactions?
Yes, as long as you are making transactions on through an authorized payment gateway and not on a fraudulent website. This is feasible as merchants are required by the card issuer not to store CSC for any length of time once the individual transaction is authorized, which means CSC is not included in any database of transactions. Therefore, even if a customer service has access to web-based payment interfaces where card numbers, expiration dates and other information are displayed, they still lack CSC to perform fraudulent use of your credit card. The storage of CSC post transaction authorization is even prohibited by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which once again guarantees that CSC is not disclosed to any third party and only known to the card holders themselves for the credit card security.
In short, as long as you are performing online transactions on a trusted website, there’s no need to worry that merchants can store your CSC for their illegal use of your credit card information. Supplying CSC in this case is merely intended to verify that you have the card in your possession. Knowledge of the code proves that you have the card at your side or have an official record of it.
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Is there any take-away tip to protect my CSC, and eventually my credit card and my money?
As a security measure, CSC will definitely help protect you from fraudulent use of your credit card. But it only works if you are not careless enough to disclose the code to strangers. Hence, take these tips with you:
- When making online purchases from your computer or phone, make sure the web address starts with “https://” instead of “http://”
- Stay on alert when making online purchases using a public Wi-fi connection, which is very vulnerable to hackers. Instead, consider using a VPN, which is much more secure.
- Report to your card issuer immediately in the event of the loss of your credit card, as soon as you notice such loss.
- Contact your card issuer immediately whenever there is a strange transaction made with your credit card and reported to via SMS message.
After all don’t worry too much, take these tips with you and enjoy using your credit card!