Have you ever wondered, “What is the security card on a credit card?” To answer that question, let’s first go over where the security code is located. For Discover, Mastercard, and Visa cards, the security code is the three-digit code located on the back of the card, furthest to the right from your signature. For American Express cards, it’s the four-digit code located on the right side of the front of your card.

What is the security code on a credit card - Matercard Visa Discover

Security Code on Mastercard, Visa, and Discover

Security Code on Visa

The security code adds additional verification that a customer is in fact the owner of the card they’re using. It’s used in the card not present transaction space, which includes any transaction that occurs without the physical card present—online, phone, mail, and fax orders. The idea is that the more correct information needed to verify a credit card, the harder it is for a thief to match that information. In some transactions, the correct security code may not be needed to run a transaction. Therefore, when a fraudulent charge is made with an incorrect security code, it’s easier for a cardholder to prove that fraud has occurred.

If you’re a business owner, we highly recommend that you don’t store your customers’ card security codes. Not only does this break PCI compliance—it also increases the risk of credit card fraud and defeats the purpose of the security code in the first place.

Now you know, what is the security code on a credit card. Remember to only buy from websites that you trust, and notify your credit card company if anything seems suspicious.