I have reserved a budget motel in the US over booking.com. I live in Europe. Upon checking in, I was asked for my ID and credit card, like everywhere else.

For a bit of increased security, I've scratched off my CVV from my credit card previously, so the receptionist asked for it. I refused, so they said "wait a moment", then they did a POS transaction, to charge me for my stay. It went fine, the charge for one night showed up on my online banking app, and they handed me my room keys. Turns out they didn't need the CVV after all...

My question: was this a fraud attempt I just prevented, or is it legitimate (and usual) for hotels in the US to ask for CVV, even when a card is physically present?

(In Europe, the rule is that for "card present" transactions, they never need the CVV, and for online purchases they always do.)

  • 2
    I have personally never seen this happen, but won't say it rises to the level of fraud, perhaps misinformed or overzealous. There is no need for CVV in person because your presence and ID are your identification along with your signature, it is online or over the phone that you need to provide it as a double verify if you will to prove you have it in your possession. Oct 12, 2019 at 5:46
  • One can not now. Better tell the police, they'll suspect better than us.
    – 88892
    Oct 12, 2019 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


It is likely that the receptionist reacted to something unusual about your card. Where they expected to see a 3 or 4 digit number next to your signature, they saw that somebody had removed the number.

It doesn't matter that it wasn't needed in this case, your card look unusual, it looked tampered with. While the receptionist was wrong about needing the number, the receptionist knew that this card wasn't like the others they had seen.

There are cases where they do need to use the CVV. If they have to enter the card number in by hand they are required to enter the CVV to prove it is in their hand. I know that is the fraud you are worried about, but the knowledge that they sometimes had to use the number with the evidenced that this card has been modified, made them suspicious of you.

  • 2
    And, 'defacing' part of the card is frowned upon by the card issuer. Oct 12, 2019 at 13:41
  • The card was tampered with, but not in any meaningful way. It's worth noting, though, there is no requirement for the CVV to be on the card in the first place.
    – chepner
    Oct 12, 2019 at 13:45
  • @chepner - I understand that for the process to work, that may be the case. But the issuer may have a rule against altering/defacing the card. Oct 12, 2019 at 14:03
  • Also they probably wanted to have the credit card on file (which needs the CVV) to charge it in case you order room service, pay per view, stay longer, etc.
    – xyious
    Oct 14, 2019 at 15:24

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