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What are virtual cards?

Virtual Cards Explained: Understanding what virtual cards are, how they work, and their potential benefits.

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The financial industry has seen significant growth within its digital sector due to the adaptation required during Covid-19. With the increased interest in digital payments has come the rise of virtual cards.

Shopping online and online purchases continue to break barriers that traditional financial institutions never predicted. While these institutions do allow users to do online shopping, there are still a lot of limitations and risks to be wary of. 

Every time you shop online, you risk your account number and details being stolen and used against you. Credit card companies have had to evolve, and one way they have done that is through the introduction of an actual account-linked virtual card.

How do virtual credit cards and debit cards work?

Virtual cards are stored on your mobile device and can be used to make contactless payments in store or online. A virtual card has its own unique card number, CVC, and expiration date. These virtual cards are simply a copy of your physical card, linked to your bank account, and stored on your application or phone. Think of it as an online account and card.

Virtual cards are very similar to an actual credit or debit card, with the main difference being that they only exist digitally, and can not be used to withdraw physical cash. Virtual credit cards provide the same features and mechanics as traditional credit and debit cards. 

A virtual credit card still has an expiry date and 16-digit account number, and CVV codes. They are connected to payment networks like Visa and Mastercard and are generally accepted by merchants who use physical card machines, similar to Apple and Google Pay. 

Your virtual card information and virtual credit card number are stored digitally, eliminating the risk of someone stealing your card and simply entering your details when shopping online. 

Virtual credit cards act as digital wallets, providing more advanced security and ease of online access. Virtual cards are created for one-time use or act as a temporary account number, but what are the benefits of a limited-use virtual card number? Let’s get into it.

Benefits of a virtual card

The first and foremost virtual credit or debit card feature benefit that you can expect is an enhanced layer of security. To combat fraudulent activity, a data breach, and account information being stolen, virtual cards have randomly generated and disposable card numbers. This makes virtual cards one of the safest payment methods, eliminating physical and confirmed details, meaning your temporary information can not be stolen or lost. If your info is compromised, you can cancel it without having to create a new bank account or waiting for a new card in the mail.

Control and customization is an additional layer of benefits users can expect from using virtual cards. Users can customize how many virtual account numbers they want, set spending limits, choose their preferred currencies, and more. Similar to a normal debit card account, you can also create recurring payments with merchant details, as tailored to the amount, time, and so on.

Some virtual credit cards provide users with point-earning rewards or store credit when used. Credit card companies can also easily access your information to improve your credit score based on your recurring payments set up. 

Creating multiple virtual cards allows you to distribute, allocate, and track funds with ease. This means at the end of the day, you have more visibility of your funds going in and out and can create a dedicated virtual card for a specific area of your financial responsibilities.

Getting your virtual card number

Whether you are trying to manage your funds with your debit or credit cards accounts, a virtual card can make matters easier. All you need is a debit or credit card account and you can create your unique virtual card at the click of a button. With some traditional banks you can even create multiple cards if you want, each with its own unique account number and expiration date. 

These digital wallets and accounts provide ease when you want to shop online, avoid physical wallet and card theft, as well as easier fund management.


This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice or a recommendation of any kind whatsoever and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the content of this article (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content), or any content of any other material referred to or accessed by hyperlinks through this article. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.


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