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Why the Credit Card Security Code Matters When Shopping Online

E-commerce has been growing steadily over the last few years; by 2023, it is expected to make up at least 22% of the world’s retail sales. In the United States alone, e-commerce sales are projected to hit the $740 billion mark on the same year and most of these purchases are made through credit cards.

As a consumer, you have the responsibility to use your credit card wisely when making purchases online, especially with the risk of credit card fraud, phishing scams, and skimming on the rise these days. 

Your credit card usually consists of three vital parts: the bank card number, the signature magnetic strip, and the Card Verification Code (CVC) or Card Security Code (CSC), which is crucial for making safe online transactions.

What Is a Card Security Code and Why Does It Matter?

A Card Security Code (CSC) is the three or four-digit number that’s located at the back of your credit card. Unlike the bank card number, the CSC isn’t typically embossed so it cannot be printed. This is because the security code is used solely to protect your credit card when you’re making purchases online.

In most cases, you’ll be asked to key in the Card Security Code (CSC) after you’ve entered your credit card number and card expiration date. You may also be asked for the same information if you’re making a credit card payment over the phone, through fax, or by mail; these methods of payment are usually called “card-not-present transactions.” 

You wouldn’t need this code if you are purchasing from a physical store since you just need to swipe your card.

The Card Security Code (CSC) is very important when paying for online purchases because it helps the payment processing company determine that you really have your card with you while making the purchase. This keeps your credit card secure even if a thief has gotten your credit card number and its expiration date.

How to Protect Your Credit Card During Online Purchases

Online hackers are your biggest enemies when shopping online. So, if you don’t want to go through the hassles of filing a complaint about unauthorized charges and not getting your money back, you need to find ways to protect your credit card when making online purchases.

For one, you need to always protect your mobile device and computer with a strong password. You should also make transactions only on a secure network. Refrain from making purchases when you’re using public WiFi or consider using a VPN for additional security. 

You also need to avoid sharing your CSC with an unknown representative because it could be a scammer posing as a bank employee.

Finally, it’s very important to only use your Card Security Code on verified and legal transactions. Never provide any credit card information over email or through links that you didn’t visit yourself. 

Even the most legitimate-looking emails could easily turn into a scam, so always take extra precautions before giving out your financial information to anyone online.


Protecting Consumers & Businesses from Credit Card Fraud

First Card Payments helps businesses with high-risk merchant accounts prevent fraudulent credit card activity by implementing protocols such as CSC/CVC verification and payer authentication in order to not only protect the business but the consumer as well.


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( Merchant Account Specialist )

Joyce Hope is a writer who specializes in merchant accounts. She has worked for First Card Payments since 2017.

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