What is a CVV number on a debit card and why is it important?

‘CVV’ stands for Card Verification Value and is an important extra security feature you will find on your debit card – it’s a good idea to know where to find it, because you might need to enter it especially when shopping online.

On a MasterCard® debit card it is a three-digit number. You will also find a three-digit CVV on Visa® and Discover® branded cards, while on American Express® cards the CVV has four digits.

Some card providers call it a CSC, for Card Security Code, and you’ll also sometimes see reference to CVV2 codes – the ‘2’ on the end just means that these are generated in a way that aims to make them more secure, and more difficult to guess.

What is my CVV?

Every Arro Personal Account comes with a MasterCard® debit card, and every Arro Business Account comes with a Business MasterCard® debit card – in either case, your card should have a CVV.

To find the CVV on your physical card, turn it over and look at the signature strip on the back. You should recognise the last four digits of your card number (which should match the big number printed on the front of the card).

Look immediately after those for your three-digit CVV. You’ll usually find it in the furthest top-right corner of the signature strip, and in a sense you can think of it as your card’s own ‘signature’.

How do I use my CVV?

It’s easy – when you are buying something online, if you are asked to enter your CVV, just type in the three digits. Remember the card’s CVV is the number on the signature strip – not your PIN number that you use at cash machines or to authorise chip and pin purchases.

You should never reveal your PIN number to anyone, and you should only enter your CVV in places where you’d expect to be asked for it, such as when making a purchase, and keep it secret from other people apart from that.

Like your other card details, as long as you remember your CVV you don’t need to have the card physically in your possession – for example when you open a new Arro Personal Account, we send you your debit card details via SMS so you can type them into websites to complete checkout purchases, even before the physical card reaches you in the post.

Why is CVV good?

A debit card carries lots of details. The big card number, cardholder name, the sort code and account number the card is linked with, and the expiry date are some of the common card details, usually along with an issue number or start date – and you might be asked for different combinations of all, or nearly all, of those when you make a purchase.

But the point of the CVV is to keep it secret. You usually won’t need to provide it when using the physical card in person, so there’s no risk of other people overhearing it or seeing what you enter into a keypad.

Unlike your PIN number, the card’s CVV cannot be changed – so again, there’s less risk of anyone other than you being able to find out what it is, and especially not influence what it is.

Finally, because it is on the back of the card, your CVV is secure against anyone managing to take a photo of the front of your card, making it an important extra layer of security where it is used.

Get a MasterCard® debit card

Every Arro Personal Account comes with its own MasterCard® debit card, which you can use to make ATM withdrawals, in-store purchases and online shopping too. Every Arro Business Account comes with a Business MasterCard® debit card.

In either case, your new debit card comes with the added security of its own CVV number, giving you that extra peace of mind when buying things online or over the phone, where you need to prove that you are the cardholder of the physical card, even though you are not there in person with the card itself.

We understand that waiting for the physical card to arrive in the post might not be practical – especially if you want to take full advantage of our quick three-minute application and approval process, and the fact that we guarantee to approve all eligible applications for an Arro Personal Account or Arro Business Account.

That’s why we send you all of your debit card details immediately via SMS when you open your account – and that means you can start shopping with your virtual MasterCard® debit card even before the physical card reaches you.