What Is the Security Code on a Visa Credit Card?

Written by michael wolfe
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What Is the Security Code on a Visa Credit Card?
Security codes are on the back of a credit card. (credit card image by feisty from Fotolia.com)

The security code on a VISA credit card is a three-digit number located on the back of the card. It is part of a longer number, but only the last three digits are part of the security code.

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Function

The security code, which does not appear on receipts, is a feature intended to prevent credit card fraud. Merchants receiving orders online or over the phone will often ask card holders for the number in order to verify the customer's identity and ensure that card is being used by the authorised user.

Location

The code is located on the back of the card, next to the cardholder's signature. A set of 17 numbers, inscribed in grey, will be printed. The last three digits, grouped together, make up the code, whose official name is the "CVV2 code."

Effects

According to Visa, when a customer provides a merchant with the security code, the merchant sends it electronically to company that issued the card. If the number the customer provided is correct, the company will authorise the transaction; if it is not, the transaction will be cancelled. Merchants are not allowed to store this number in their records.

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