Home » What Are Virtual Credit Card & How Exactly They Work?

What Are Virtual Credit Card & How Exactly They Work?

by Julia
virtual credit card

You may use a virtual credit card—a temporary credit card number—while making purchases online. The purpose of these temporary card numbers is to prevent your real account number from getting into the wrong hands.

You may avoid having your credit card details taken in a data breach or through an insecure connection by using virtual credit cards. What you need to know about virtual credit cards and how to use one is provided below.

The Function of Virtual Credit Cards

You can apply for a virtual credit card through your bank’s online account if your credit card provider offers such a capability. When you do, you’ll receive a card number, expiration date, and security code that are linked to your actual account and are generated at random.

The transaction will appear on your account statement as though you had used your normal card details when you use the virtual credit card to make a purchase online.

Can Virtual Credit Cards Aid in Identity Protection?

In a time when merchant data breaches appear to be on the rise, disposable card numbers can provide an extra layer of security. If a hacker gets your virtual credit card information, you don’t have to close your account and start a new one. You can just cancel that card.

virtual credit card

In some cases, a virtual credit card may only be good for one use. If the information is obtained through a data breach or an unsecured internet connection, the card will not work.

Of course, that doesn’t imply you’re totally vulnerable if your credit card provider doesn’t allow you to use a virtual credit card. A lot of credit card issuers provide zero-liability fraud protection on illegal payments, and users have never held accountable for more than $50 in unauthorised transactions thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act.

If your credit card is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised, you’ll still need to go through the dispute procedure, deactivate your card, and get a new one issued to you even if you’re not responsible for any fraudulent purchases. You may skip the entire process if you use a virtual credit card.

Also Check: Best Installment Loans For Bad Credit Cards – Techlion

What Consequences Come With Virtual Credit Cards?

Because virtual credit cards are designed for internet and other card-not-present purchases, there are several scenarios in which using a virtual number may backfire.

A store can demand that the refund be applied to the same account number used to make the transaction if you have to return anything, for example. You can only be given store credit if your disposable card number has already expired.

virtual credit card

If a merchant requests account information verification, you can also encounter a problem. Let’s take the scenario when you book a hotel room or rental car online using a throwaway card number. The business may insist that you pay with the same card that you used to make the reservation when you arrive. You may find it challenging to confirm that the virtual number and your actual card number are associated with the same account because they are different.

Where Is a Virtual Credit Card Available?

Only Capital One and Citi, two of the biggest credit card companies, let consumers ask for a virtual credit card.

However, keep in mind that not all of the cards issued by those institutions may support the function. To find out if yours is accepted, contact your issuer.

One Capital

Using Eno from Capital One, you may generate virtual credit cards. For those who use Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome, the virtual assistant offers a browser plugin.

When you install the extension, Eno will prompt you to create a virtual card exclusively for that retailer while you’re checking out. You can then finalise your order after doing so.


Simply put, the Citi Virtual Account Numbers service from our partner creates a temporary account number you may use while making online or postal purchases. Before using the programme, users must enrol in it.

Checkout: Top 11 Best Business Credit Cards For Startups & Small Businesses

Additional Options for Online Identity Protection

No matter if your credit card company offers virtual credit cards or not, it’s important to take steps to protect your identity when shopping online.

You may make purchases online without providing your card information, for instance, using digital payment systems like Visa Checkout, Masterpass, and American Express Checkout. To finish the transaction, you just need to sign up for one of the services, enter your card information, and log in when you buy something at a participating store.

When accessing a public Wi-Fi network, you should also think about using a virtual private network (VPN). With this service, hackers won’t be able to watch what you do online or steal any private information you give them.

Last but not least, think about using a credit monitoring service that will notify you if anything is off, enabling you to detect fraud and halt it before it worsens.


What distinguishes a credit card from a virtual card?

Both virtual and actual credit cards may be used to make payments, with the main difference being that virtual cards can only be used for online transactions and physical cards can also be used offline. The only benefit real cards have over virtual ones may be that

What does a virtual credit card serve?

A virtual credit card is a 16-digit number that is generated at random and is connected to your actual credit card account. As a way to stop fraud, your credit card company might offer this service when you shop online without using your physical credit card.

Can I make purchases using a virtual credit card?

Virtual credit card numbers cannot currently be used for in-person purchases. However, this might change in the future. A virtual credit card number is not an option if you have to use a physical card to make a purchase.

Can a virtual card be used at an ATM?

The virtual card enables you to make contactless payments, make purchases on the internet, and withdraw cash, just like you would with a physical card. Yes, it is accurate. You may use the virtual card to make contactless withdrawals from ATMs.

Can a virtual card be used at an ATM?

The virtual card enables you to make contactless payments, make purchases on the internet, and withdraw cash, just like you would with a physical card. Yes, it is accurate. You may use the virtual card to make contactless withdrawals from ATMs.

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