When making an online purchase with your credit card, you are often prompted to provide your postal code or ZIP code as well as your CVV, or for Amex cards—your CVV2. But why do they ask this?
A credit card ZIP code is part of the geographical identifier associated with a credit card's billing address. This will be the postal or ZIP code you provided when you applied for the card, unless you have since moved to a new address and updated your billing information. It's an important piece of information to help verify your identity, to protect both you and the merchant.
What is a credit card ZIP code or postal code?
A credit card ZIP code is the 5-digit zip code from your U.S. billing address. When you make a purchase, the ZIP code you enter must match the ZIP code associated with your official cardholder address.
The first 2 digits identify the issuer's state while the last 3 digits identify a specific town or city within that area.
Why does my credit card ask for my ZIP code?
Some merchants may ask for ZIP codes as a security measure. It's part of the authorization process when you use your credit card to make a purchase. If your card is stolen and all they have is your name and credit card number, it may prevent an unauthorized purchase from taking place since they likely don't know your ZIP code.
Requiring the ZIP code for a purchase is largely up to the merchant. A merchant may have flexibility on whether they want that additional security check. Some merchants may even require that the shipping address and billing address match. Overall, it may be beneficial to be asked for your ZIP code at checkout because it helps to protect both parties.
Why are postal codes and ZIP codes for credit cards important?
Postal codes and ZIP codes are important for proper authorization. Credit card transactions typically go through a sophisticated series of steps to not only ensure that the cardmember is genuine, but also to ensure that the merchant gets paid by the credit card issuer. Your ZIP code is just one of several identifiers that make the transaction as secure as possible.
A cardholder's ZIP code is an identity qualifier for the credit card transaction process. ZIP codes may help to ensure that your transaction is completed securely. Without entering a valid one, your credit card could be rejected. Most importantly, credit card ZIP code verification helps better protect you from unauthorized purchases.