What is the 3 Digit Code on (the Back of an) Amex Used For?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by lsed, May 4, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. lsed

    lsed Silver Member

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    Not refering to the 4 digit CID on the front, but if you notice on the back of your AMEX card, there is an extra 3 digits like Visa / Mastercards do.

    Any clue?
     
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  2. LeeInDC

    LeeInDC Silver Member

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    Interesting question. I can't answer it but hope someone can.
     
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  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    From a credit card forum:
    "They're 2 different security codes for cards. Amex has 2 levels of security: they have the normal CVV (Card Verification Value) and the 3 digits are a CID . CVV is a calculated highly secure 4 digit code based on your card number that is not contained in the card magnetic strip, which is the reason why it's printed on the card itself.

    If someone were to take your magnetic strip or print your card. It would not contain your CVV or CID, so it could not be used for card not present transactions or most high-end merchants, which require CVV, CVV2, or CID as a form of further verification that the card is indeed there.

    CID (Card Identification Data) on the back of the card is similar to Visa/MC/Discover. It's a 3 digit number that again is not stored on the card magnetic strip and is not visible on the front of the card, but again ensures that the card is in your possession at that the numbers have been not tampered with.

    CVV and CID verification process of card numbers is not published or available for many, many reasons, so I have no idea how they verify your card number, but they do somehow.

    To get to your question why does Amex ask for those 3 digits?
    Because they can.

    They require most merchants these days to verify the CVV before processing payment, but for their measures of security they verify the CVV and CID. I think most of us who have had the card for many years memorize the CVV, but I couldn't for the life of me memorize the CID, so that could be the reason to."

    Source
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Don't think I have ever been asked for the 3 digit number on the back of the Amex cards.

    On a semi-unrelated note, what's the point of some merchants typing in the last four digits of the card number after swiping the card? A simple verification that the mag strip actually belongs to the card?

    The last segment of the Amex numbers is actually five digits, which seems to pose a mental challenge for some CVS cashiers.
     
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  5. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    On my Credit Card Processing machine, it usually requires the 3 digit number, even on AMEX, if I get a phone order, I have to use the CID. I also am required to have the numerical Address and Zip of the address the card is billed to in order to process a phone/mail order. I don't need the street name just the numbers. Or the charge will not be accepted (or it will be accepted and I have to pay for any discrepancies, that I ain't gonna do)

    HaveMiles, that is exactly why they have the numbers typed in. To make sure the MagStripe and the Card number are the same. Cloned cards often only have a single number across many cards and the stripe is just copied on the blanks. (this can also be done with a generic gift card or even a hotel card.)
     
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  6. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    Amex asks for this 3 digit number (as well as the four digits on the front) when I redeem Membership Rewards points on my Corporate MR account. That's the only place I've ever been asked for it. BTW, I don't recommend the Corporate MR program, seems to be a subset of the regular MR program.
     
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  7. lsed

    lsed Silver Member

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    very interesting replies guys, thanks!!



    Can I check what is the merchant fee charged by AMEX or Visa / Mastercard to businesses?
    I understand it's about 2 - 3%

    Does it ever go below 2%?
     
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  8. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    My rate is the standard 3.25 % for AMEX. Visa, MC, Discover all are around 2.1%. The rates vary by the classification of the business (Retail, On-Line, Hospitality, Restaurants, etc) It also varies by the dollar amount charged each month. I think the break points are $10K, $50K, $100k, and $500K for Amex.
    Visa, MC, Discover are all over the board and they charge additional fees for Corporate Cards, Affinity Cards, Foreign Cards, etc.

    I have seen rates as low as 1.9% for Visa/MC. but they usually have additional fees such as a $.25 per swipe fee. $10 - $100/month processing fee. $500 sign up fee. The Credit Card Companies will get their pound of flesh from merchants one way or another.

    Fairly Standard Rates when all fees are added in will be 2.5%-3.25% for Visa/MC/Discover. And 3-3.5% for Amex. Anything much higher and there is a problem. Anything much lower, look VERY CAREFULLY at the fine print.
     
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  9. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I had a situation where I was trying to close an account and transfer the credit line to a differnt amex and they asked me for both of them.
     
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  10. lsed

    lsed Silver Member

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    Thanks very much for this. It's very informative!



    --------


    So overall it seems Amex cards are slightly more secure due to this extra 3 digit code
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The interchange rates are published and are widely available.
    Here is the link for Visa: http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/visa-usa-interchange-reimbursement-fees-april2013.pdf
    Interchange is the rate paid to an issuer and is the one that is standard and published, It is also the basis for establishing merchant discount rates.
    Merchant discount rates are the price the merchant pays to their processor (called 'acquirer') to process the payments. These vary quite widely and are not typically published. Some very large, low risk, competitive, highly automated merchants may pay very little above the discount rate while others with high risk characteristics may pay as much as 10%. Their mileage DOES vary.
    For small business the rates are more nearly standardized and some are published. Here is the BA Merchant Services table for Yahoo merchants:
    https://www.b1app.com/NewYahoo/340/Pages/home.htm
     
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  12. lsed

    lsed Silver Member

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    Wow this is awesome!
    I'm learning so much more here than on FT lol

    What's most interesting is that premium cards like Infinite incur higher fees for the merchants.
    (Thought there isint Infinite in the US though?)

    The BAC rate at 2.29% + 0.20 per trans for Master / Visa seems pretty competitive too.

    Sorry if I'm going off topic!
     
  13. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    For AMEX gift cards, you use the code on the back when you're checking your balance online (which screws me up EVERY time).
     
  14. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    Most of the transactions that go directly through Amex require both CVV & CID. I don't ever recall anyone else asking for the CID...
     
  15. ludo.fleury

    ludo.fleury New Member

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    So I post here because I was really interested by the american express case (4 digits on the front, 3 digits on the back).

    Since the internet informations I collected where very controversals, here's the official answer from american express website, it's concerns "gitf cards" but the pattern is the same as regular amex card "4digit / 3-digit".

    "four Digit Card Identification Code (CID) located on the front of the card, the three digit Card Security Code (CSC) on the back of the Card"
     
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  16. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    I did a transaction at Walmart recently using an Amex HH Surpass and had to enter the 3-digit code on the BACK of the card rather than the usual 4-digit code from the front (which I initially did but got me an error) to complete payment. Never had that happen anyplace else. Like others have said, I've only been asked for it by Amex themselves on calls.
     
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  17. marathon man
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    marathon man Silver Member

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    the 3 digit cvc code on the back of an Amex card is for when you think all they need is the 4 digit one on the front so you memorize it and dont have the card with you one day when you call into some over zealous entity that springs the question on you. You cant answer it so they cant let you continue whatever you were doing (like buying something online?) and then when you call back later, the hold time is immense and the item is no longer available. :eek:
     
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  18. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    Interesting topic. So I have an Amex charge card. It was a little bent so i ordered a replacement awhile back.
    Both cards have the exact same account number, same 4 digits code on the front, but the 3 digits on the back are different.

    Both cards still work everywhere we go worldwide (where Amex is accepted). So I guess they don't care if I continue to use both? SO uses the other card sometimes.
     
  19. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Amex has occasionally asked for the number on the back to prove I have the card in my possession.
     
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  20. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    Time to memorize the back of my cards then! ;)
     
  21. chff

    chff Silver Member

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    When doing a MR transfer, it asks for both
     

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