IDEMIA/Adrien Deneu
A Numbers Game

Credit Cards With Constantly Changing CVVs Could Prevent Fraud

They're designed to prevent fraud during "card-not-present" transactions.

Refresh Idea

When you buy something online, one of the last bits of info you enter is often your credit card’s card verification value (CVV).

That’s the three- or four-digit code printed on the back of the card, and it’s designed to prevent fraud during “card-not-present” transactions. In other words, it’s an added security measure for when a merchant can’t actually swipe your card or read the chip embedded in it.

However, sometimes scammers can find out a CVV (or even guess it). To outsmart the scammers, U.S.-based PNC Bank is testing out cards with changing CVVs — ones that refresh every 30 to 60 minutes — and the success of this trial could influence the future of financial transactions.

On the Move

The technology powering these dynamic CVVs is Motion Code, and it’s the work of a tech company called IDEMIA.

The new cards have a small screen displaying a three-digit number, which replaces the usual static code on the back. A small lithium battery powers the system, and an algorithm determines when to change the code on display.

PNC began a 90-day trial of cards featuring IDEMIA’s Motion Code technology in November. The goal of the pilot project, according to an Ars Technica report, is to determine the ideal refresh rate.

Refresh too often, and users might not have time to complete online purchases. However, if the code refreshes too infrequently, the card might not prevent as much fraud. The refresh rate will also affect the life of the card — a 60-minute refresh interval drains it after four years.

Next Steps

Once it nails down the ideal refresh rate through this pilot trial, PNC plans to take the technology wide — according to an IDEMIA press release, PNC customers could have their hands on the high-tech credit cards by early 2019.

And if IDEMIA’s tech is able to prevent card-not-present fraud for PNC’s customers, we could be heading toward a future in which all the cards in our purses and wallets feature constantly changing CVVs.

READ MORE: Pilot Project Demos Credit Cards With Shifting CVV Codes to Stop Fraud [Ars Technica]

More on credit card tech: New AI Could Stop Your Bank From Freezing Your Card When You Buy Something Weird

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