Credit Card Verification Information

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It is important to protect your credit card verification information.
It is important to protect your credit card verification information. (Image: credit card image by jimcox40 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Credit card verification information is used to protect consumers against fraud and identity theft. Verification information is required to be assessed before a merchant accepts a credit card as payment for services or goods. There are also software programs designed to verify credit card information. Legislation has also been drafted to further protect credit card users from fraud.

Card Verification Value (CVV)

In order to help prevent fraud, credit card companies use what is known as the card verification value (CVV) or the credit card verification code (CVC). The CVV is made of two codes, according to SearchFinancialSecurity. A magnetic stripe containing the first code runs lengthwise along the back of your credit card. The second code is a three-digit or four-digit numeral printed on the card that is separate from the account number on the front. Most credit cards have the CVV printed on the back, however, some have the number printed on the front.

Credit Card as Age Verification

Websites with content inappropriate for minors commonly use a credit card to verify a person’s age. However, using a credit card to verify age is not a sure way to be certain the website viewer is of majority age, since minors are also allowed to carry credit cards. This became problematic when the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 was passed. This act suggested the use of credit cards for age verification on the Internet. Since then, the act has been deemed unconstitutional due to violations of free speech.

Credit Card Check Software

There are many software products on the market that are designed to verify credit card legitimacy. Most will check the number of digits is correct for the specific card type. Then, it checks the leading digits to ensure those are correct. The software may also check the validity of the number structure against the internal checksum. The internal checksum is a count of the number of bits in a transmission unit, according to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Preventing Fraud as a Merchant

It is important for retailers and merchants to ensure credit card transactions are legitimate before processing orders. You should carefully check photo identification before accepting the credit card for payment. You should also compare the signature on the receipt with the signature on the card, while recording the customer’s billing address as well as the billing phone number. You should call the cardholder’s bank directly to verify information if you are suspicious of any specific individual.

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

In 2003, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) created new laws designed to help protect consumers against credit card fraud and identity theft, according to PrivacyRights.org. The act prohibits merchants from using credit card and debit card receipts that contain full account numbers and expiration dates. Card issuers must verify the address of a change of address form by contacting the cardholder. This ensures that scammers have not filled out a fake change of address form in order to obtain your credit card verification information.

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