Motion Code is designed to prevent credit card fraud

If you are shopping with your credit card on the Internet, you must enter the “Card Verification Value” (CVV) or the “Card Security Code” (CSC) in addition to your credit card data during the payment process. This is a three- or four-digit code, which can be found on the back of the card. You can imagine that this does not make the payment much safer: if you enter the code once, it could be hacked together with the rest of the data.

The French security company  Oberthur  has therefore devised an hourly changing security code to make digital transactions safer:


The concept is taken from PIN generators: Instead of the constant CVV or CSC, there is an integrated number generator into the smartcard. Where the CVV or CSC is usually printed, there is a small e-ink display for credit cards with MotionCode. It shows an hourly changing three-digit number. For example, fraudsters who get credit card data and the current code could only access them in the worst case for a maximum of one hour.

Motion Code: hourly changing security code

For the implementation of the feature, a battery, a clock and a small processor are installed inside the card. The computing unit is responsible for generating a new code every 60 minutes, storing it safely and refreshing the display. Regarding the battery runtime, it is guaranteed that this always exceeds the expiration date of the respective card.

Motion code
E-ink display with motion code. Source:

In a transaction, the entered code is recognized by the server of the card issuer and the card data is passed on to a separate motion code server. There the check is carried out for valisation. If this is confirmed, the card issuer releases the transfer. The new technology has no influence on the use of the card in ATMs or payment terminals. According to Oberthur, the card issuer keeps a free hand on how and where he provides motion code.

Webshops would not have to change. By better safeguarding online purchases, banks and credit card companies will be able to reduce the costs of card fraud. Five banks have so far been involved in pilot trials. With the Société Générale and the Groupe BPCE, two of the largest French banks have begun to take the new credit cards into normal operation and to upgrade all their customers.