Validation Code

Reviewed by Sujaini | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is a Validation Code?

Validation code is a sequence of three or four numbers given at a debit/credit card's front or rear side. The code helps provide an extra layer of security when making a purchase online or over the phone using a debit/credit card. Often called security codes or card verification values (CVV), validation codes are also referred to as CVV, CV2 or CVV2 codes.

Breaking Down Validation Code

A validation code is different from PIN; the latter can be used to withdraw money using a debit card or with a credit card to get a cash advance. Cardholders have to be careful to secure their PIN numbers. Even if the validation code for a card is accessed by an unauthorized group, they probably will not have access to the PIN.

How Does a Validation Code Protect Customers?

When making a purchase online, you will be required to enter the name as displayed on the debit/credit card, the billing address, card number, card expiration date, and the CVV. If the CVV is incorrect or missing, the transaction cannot be completed.

After a customer makes a purchase, merchants are not allowed to store card validation codes to provide extra protection against theft of debit/credit cards. Also, validation codes can be compromised as fraudsters can secure the validation code of a card just as they can access the card number and expiry date.

The validation code is a key piece of data that can enable thieves to make fraudulent transactions with someone else's card. However, if a thief does use another user's card, it's unlikely that the cardholder will be held responsible for the charges.