PNC Bank testing dynamic CVV codes to combat online card fraud
US-based PNC Bank is in the middle of a pilot project that aims to test out credit cards with constantly changing card verification values (or CVVs) to reduce online credit card fraud. The dynamic CVV is displayed on the back of such a card in e-ink, and changes according to an algorithm supplied by Visa. Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay try to combat online card theft by using tokenization to obscure a person’s card numbers from theft while online.
But if your credit card number has already been stolen (if a cashier’s chip reader is broken and they direct you to swipe your card on a compromised point-of-sale terminal, for example) then even having a chip-based card can’t stop bad actors from buying things on your dime. A static CVV number can provide some protection from online fraud, but sometimes CVVs can be stolen in tandem with the card number. Worse,researchers have shown that Web bots making random guesses on legitimate websites can often come up with the appropriate CVV and expiration date to pair with a card number.
A dynamic CVV should—at least in theory—be far more difficult to guess and use. The idea of a dynamic CVV isn’t new: the cards are being supplied by a company called Idemia, which announced its ‘Motion Code’ dynamic CVV cards in 2016. Since then, Visa has detailed a specification for the dynamic CVV pairing, called dCVV2, and Visa is also a partner in getting this pilot project off the ground.