What is a Debit Card Security Code and why is it important?

The numbers on your credit and debit card aren’t just there to beautify or decorate it. They are purposeful and important. The debit security code is the number found at the back and sometimes front of the debit and credit card.

It helps your card perform the functions of making transactions and helps to access your account information.

What is a Debit Card?

 To be able to understand what a debit card security code is, we must address what the debit card is first.

A debit card is otherwise known as a plastic card or payment card. It is an instrument used instead of cash to make transactions.

It is not to be mistaken for a credit card because, unlike the credit card, the money for the purchase must be available in the cardholder’s bank account at the time of purchase and is immediately transferred directly from the account to the merchant account to pay for the purchase.

The availability of the debit card has erased the use of checks and also has had a huge impact on cash transactions.

Credit cards allow you to borrow money from the card issuer up to a certain limit to purchase items or withdraw cash.

It offers better consumer protection against fraud compared to the debit card linked to a bank account. They are identical, each with the 16-digit card number, expiration dates, magnetic stripes, and EMV chips. They are both used to make easy and convenient purchases in stores and online.

Now that we have an insight into what a debit card is let’s get into what debit card security code is all about.

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What Is A Debit Card Security Code?

The debit card security code is an essential internet security feature that is mostly seen on the back of the debit card this code is usually a four-digit number that provides a cryptographic check of the information embossed on the card.

It can be found on the back of most Visa or MasterCard as well as on the front of the American Express cards.

The debit card as well as a credit card has a variety of numbers printed on it you could visibly see the card number of 16-digits and usually appears in front of the card.

Apart from this number the card issued and expiring date is also on the front of the card but the debit security code is a 324 digit number located on the signature box below the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.

It is also called a card verification code or CVC or card verification value or CVV.

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How Does a Debit Card Security Code Work?

As earlier stated, the debit card is a means of payment whereby whenever you make a purchase you are using your own money drawn directly from the bank account the code is linked to.

The fact that this card is linked to your bank account makes it very important it is essential to safeguard it as you would your cash.

Often you may be asked for your debit card security code, especially if you make a purchase over the phone or online by requesting a code alongside your account number and other information.

This is done by a merchant to verify that you are the cardholder or authorized user. That is because we expect you to have the card in your possession to share this code.

  It is important to note that your security codewords are different personal identification numbers. the pin is used to withdraw money from an ATM or make an in-person debit purchase.

Furthermore, make sure. to protect your debit card security code because if it gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for fraud or fraudulent activities even if they don’t have the card in their possession.

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How to Keep Your Debit Card Security Code Safe?

  Fraud is now very rampant in society today especially with the growing use of debit cards. You need to learn how to keep your card and card details safe. Here is a guide to safe-keep your debit card security code.

  • Never tell anyone your pin, write it down or carry it around with you because access to it be dangerous
  • Refrain from using your debit card for online transactions but rather a credit card is a wiser choice. Request to receive email or text messages for your bank or financial institution this way you learn about activities that have to do with your account.
  • Pay attention to your bills, bank account statements, and credit report for any fraudulent activity. For example, withdrawals you didn’t make or purchases you didn’t authorize
  • Report to your bank, credit union, or card issuers immediately if your card is lost
  • Always change your debit card security code regularly as constant change can help you get out of a scam or theft.
  • Have more than one bank account. If your checking account is compromised, you want to be able to access cash from another source to pay for necessities and meet your financial obligation
  • Use Bank ATMs as they tend to have better security (video cameras) than automated teller machines at convenience stores, restaurants, and other places
  • Use firewall, password, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on your computer and mobile devices while keeping it up to date.
  • Beware of Phishing Scams
  • When checking your email or doing business online, make sure you know who you’re interacting with because an identity thief may set up a phishing website that looks like it belongs to your bank or another business you have an account with. In reality, the scammer is looking to get access to your personal information and may attempt to access your bank account.

  Importance of Debit Card Security Code

  • In the case of a merchant, a security code helps to validate the customer placing the online order isn’t pretending to have the debit card in his possession but has it and that the credit /debit card account is legitimate.
  • The security code is only printed on the card. It doesn’t reflect on the magnetic stripe information nor does it appear on the sales receipt or billing statement.
  • The debit card security code is crucial because it adds security to your account. It would be difficult to steal from your account without this code and any other information associated with it.
  • The CVV can be used for card nonpresent transactions as requested by the card issuer or holder. Merchants are expected not to save the CVV for future purposes or reference that way anyone who checks the web-based payment interface has access to every other information except the CVV.

 Limitations of the Debit Card Security Code

  • The CSC is not immune to phishing that is why the cardholder must be careful not to be tricked into rendering fragile information.
  • Fraudulent activities may still be committed without the debit card security code
  • Scammers can guess the CSC by using a distributive attack

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a process of identity theft that relies on individuals unwittingly volunteering personal details or information that can be then be used for nefarious purposes.

It is often carried out through the making of a fraudulent website, email, or text appearing to represent a legitimate firm.

A scammer may use a fraudulent website that appears on the surface to look the same as a legitimate website.

Visitors to the site, thinking they are interacting with a real business, may tender their personal information, such as social security numbers, account numbers, login IDs, and passwords, to this site.

The scammers then use the information submitted to steal visitors’ money, identity, or both; or to sell the information to other criminal parties.

Phishing may also occur in the form of emails or texts from scammers that are made to appear as if they are sent from a legitimate business.

These fake emails or texts may install programs like ransomware that can allow scammers to access a victim’s computer or network.

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Types of Debit Card Security Codes

CVC1 or CVV1 is the first code encoded on track one and two of the magnetic stripe and used for card-present transactions with signature.

It is required to verify a payment card is actually in the hands of the merchant.

CVV2 or CVC2  on the other hand is the second code used by merchants for card not present exchange including online purchases in certain countries

How is the Debit Card Security Code Generated

The debit Card Security Code is generated by the card issuer when the card is issued. It is calculated by encrypting the bank card number and expiration date with encryption keys known only to the card issuer.


Don’t be fooled into giving out your debit card security code and when you do make sure it is to the right source and merchant.



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