American Express Security Code: Where It Is and Why You Need It

American Express Business credit card
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All credit cards have a unique security code to help prevent fraudulent purchases. Depending on the type of credit card, the security code might be three or four digits and found on the front or back of the credit card. So, where is the security code on an American Express® card, and when might it be used?

Where Is the Security Code on an American Express Card?

The American Express security code is the four-digit number located on the front of the card, just above and to the right of the card number. This security code is not the card’s PIN.

This security code is also referred to as a CVV or a CID. CVV stands for card verification value, and CID stands for card identification number.

When You Need Your American Express Security Code

When an American Express® Card Member swipes the physical card at a retailer, the card machine reads the card’s number and CVV code to process the transaction. In these cases, you do not need to provide the CVV in any other way. But when do you need it?

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Activating a New Card

American Express® Card Members are usually asked for this code when activating a new card. This ensures that the card number has not been compromised before the physical card is received by the cardholder.

Online Purchases

For online, phone or other card-not-present purchases, the Card Member must manually enter the CVV code along with the card number. This verifies that the person making the purchase is in possession of the physical card. Online retailers often use the terms CVV or CID rather than security code when requesting credit card information during checkout.

Security

Anyone worried about retailer data breaches of customer credit card data should know that the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which sets the minimum standard for data security, does not permit sites to store credit card CVV codes.

This means that while a data breach might expose credit card numbers, it should not expose the associated CVV codes.

Takeaway

“Where is the security code on an American Express?” is an important question to know the answer to, since that number is required for credit card purchases.

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More important, though, is knowing how to protect your American Express CVV code. Card Members should only shop from trusted online sites and avoid providing card information for any transaction they did not initiate.

American Express CVV Code FAQ

Here are some common questions about the security code on an American Express card.
  • Does American Express have a three- or four-digit security code?
    • American Express has a four-digit security code, whereas Discover, Visa and Mastercard have three-digit security codes.
  • What is the security code for an American Express credit card?
    • An American Express security code is unique to the individual card. To determine the security code for a specific credit card, look for the four-digit number on the front of the card.
  • What is the CVV code on American Express?
    • The American Express CVV code, also called a CID code, is the four-digit security code located on the front of the American Express card.
  • Why does American Express have two CVV codes?
    • All American Express cards have a four-digit security code on the front of the card. Some also have a three-digit security code on the back, but the four-digit security code is the code to use when making purchases. The additional code provides an extra layer of security.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

All information about American Express card offers have been collected independently by GOBankingRates and have not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Andrea Norris has been in the web publishing business for the past 15 years both as a content contributor and a copy editor specializing in personal finance, frugal living, home and auto topics. She writes both short and long-form content and is well-practiced in SEO keyword research and writing.

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