If you’re looking to keep your credit card information safe, signing up for a virtual credit card number is a smart idea. Every time you make an online purchase, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your real credit card information isn’t available to fraudsters around the web. Before you sign up, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the companies that offer this service, what their terms and conditions are, and who has the better offerings overall.
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Who Sells Virtual Credit Cards?
Technically, virtual credit cards are not “sold” anywhere. Virtual credit cards are a service that some banks provide after you obtain a credit card. Virtual credit card numbers are generated numbers that can be used online to mask your real card number. It will protect your credit card information if anyone should try to steal the virtual card number. The virtual card number is not linked back to your actual credit card information, so you can shop online with confidence.
Virtual credit cards are provided by institutions that also sell traditional credit cards. However, not all banks or card companies that offer traditional credit cards also offer virtual credit cards. So, you should first examine what you need a virtual credit card for. If you already have a credit card, you’ll want to look for a service that provides virtual credit card numbers only. If you don’t have a credit card you may want to shop around a bit in order to find the card that best suits your needs.
Keep in mind that you do not have to choose a card company that specifically offers virtual credit cards. You can choose whatever card works for you, knowing that virtual credit card numbers are offered through various third party companies. If you are searching for a new credit card, it’s best not to limit yourself simply due to the fact that you’d like to use the virtual credit card feature. Make sure that you examine all other aspects of cards that appeal to you. You don’t want to be stuck with a card that doesn’t fit well into your financial plan.
Are Certain Banks Better for Virtual Credit Cards Than Others?
A few of the bigger name banks that offer virtual credit cards include: Capital One, Citibank, and Bank of America. In addition, there are smaller, independent providers of virtual credit cards, like Entropay and Final. Each service offered differs a little from the others.
What Services Do They Offer?
For example, with Capital One, you must download a tool that works with your browser. When you’re ready to buy something online, you click on the app and it will automatically create and fill in a single-use credit card number for you to use. Bank of America offers the creation of a virtual card number that is good for a full year, if you so choose. You can choose the limit associated with the card and the expiration date. As for Citibank, certain cardholders can use a generated number for online purchases, but this service is not offered for all credit card holders.
As you can see there are benefits and downsides to each individual offering, so it pays to do your research and decide what ways virtual credit card usage can benefit you. What’s more, if your card issuer doesn’t offer virtual credit cards, you can choose to use a third party provider that does offer the service. Entropay and Final are two companies that offer this service, but they work very differently.
What is “Final”?
Final is a credit card company that is centered around credit card security. They are a fairly new company designed to offer better protection against credit card fraud. In order to gain access to their virtual credit card services, you must first be approved for one of their credit cards. They state that they are looking for credit scores in the “good to excellent range” before a card will be issued. If you are approved, they will offer you a credit card with a limit that they feel is reflective of your credit history and current financial situation.
Once approved, final offers virtual credit card numbers that can be used in several ways. You can create a single-use virtual number or a credit card number that is used for one single merchant, but can be used as long as you’d like. They also offer a smartphone app that keeps track of every card number assigned to each shop. You can cancel any virtual card number anytime you like and you receive a breakdown of the charges assigned to each card number.
How Does Entropay Work?
Entropay, on the other hand, is not a bank. Entropay requires that you already have a credit or debit card. You can then prepay for an entropay card, which is a virtual card, and can use it anywhere you like. By prepaying for the card, you’re essentially setting a spending limit on the card. You can control how long a card stays active and can choose to make a single-us number if you prefer.
The company also has an additional service, which allows you to exchange currency at any time. This is great for travelling or if you just want to purchase something online from a vendor in a different country. Many of their credit card services come with fees. However, most of the fees seem to be lower than what many banks might charge. So, if you’re thinking about using Entropay, I suggest researching your bank’s policies and fees then compare that to those of Entropay to see which services offers the better deal.
What Should I Know Before I Get a Virtual Credit Card?
The biggest issue that you could run into has to do with stolen card information. If your card is actually stolen, you’ll need to know exactly how your bank handles fraudulent claims. Certain banks may shut off your credit card completely until they can solve the investigation. However, with the invention of virtual credit card numbers, some banks will simply deactivate the virtual number and still allow you to use your standard credit card number during the ongoing claim. As such, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of your bank’s policies regarding fraudulent charges before you sign up.
In the end, no matter who you sign up with, you’ll be able to keep your card information safe with a virtual credit card number. Even though virtual credit card numbers are a fairly new invention, more and more companies are catching onto the idea. Hopefully, in the near future, more banks will choose to accommodate this type of service. Nevertheless, if you know the reasons that you need a virtual card number and the ways it can benefit your financial life, you’re sure to find a service that offers adequate credit card protection.
For more information on credit cards, visit our credit card resource and learning center.
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