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What Is a Credit Card Issue Number?

Updated April 17, 2017

The credit card issue number is another name for either the three or four digit set of numbers that identifies your credit card type and account.

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Three Digits

Visa and Mastercard cards have a three digit issue number located on the back of the card either on or near the signature strip.The issue number is also commonly referred to by Visa as the CVV or Card Verification Value and by Mastercard as the CVC or Card Validation Code. Discover refers to their three digit code as The Cid or Card ID.

Four Digits

In contrast to Visa, Mastercard of Discover, American Express cards have a four digit issue number. This four digit number can be found on the front of the card, on the top right of the card number.


The purpose of the issue number is for identification and for protection when you use your credit card for transactions, especially when online. When you are prompted to provide the issue number or CVV, CVC or CID, doing so proves that you are actually present at the time of the transaction. The code is never stored, however, is transmitted to your credit card issuer's gateway, where as a result of its input, a validation code is received by the vendor.

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About the Author

Valerie Lenon entered the writing profession in 2000 as a freelance proofreader. Her work has appeared in religious publications such as "The Max" newsletter and "Change" magazine. Lenon honed her writing and editing skills through professional-development courses at Troy University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in writing and linguistics from Georgia Southern University.

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