Will a Virtual Credit Card Affect My Credit?
Virtual credit cards are a fairly new addition to the online shopping world. They provide a way to keep your credit card information safe while you’re using online marketplaces. You may have heard of virtual credit cards, but you might be wondering exactly how they work. Before you dive in and apply for a virtual credit card number, you’ll have to know everything that goes on behind the scenes before you can be issued one. Let’s talk about how to be approved for a virtual credit card number, how they work, and when exactly you might need one.
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How to apply for a virtual credit card
Applying for a virtual credit card number varies depending on the card company or bank you choose to go with. You may be able to generate a number using a computer or mobile app or you may need to contact your financial institution to create it for you. However, creating the actual credit card number should be a quick and easy process.
However, in order to use your virtual credit card number, you must first have a credit card. The purpose of a virtual credit card is to mask your current card information when shopping online. This means that virtual credit cards aren’t any easier to obtain than a regular credit card — a credit card is required in order to be able to use the virtual credit card feature.
With that being said, if you are wanting to open up a credit card account, I would suggest shopping around and first checking out the requirements for each card before you apply. You should also know where your credit score currently stands. Depending on the current status of your credit score, your idea of the perfect credit card for you may vary quite a bit. First check your credit score and then start doing some shopping around through different card companies and banks to find the card that best suits your needs. Don’t forget that things like interest, fees, and rewards are a very important aspect to consider when researching credit cards.
Do virtual credit cards require a credit check?
Yes, virtual credit cards do require a credit check. For this reason, those with low credit scores may still have a difficult time being approved for a virtual credit card number. This is simply due the fact that you must be approved for a standard credit card in order to gain the capability of creating a virtual credit card number. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be approved for a credit card if your score is a little bit lower than you’d like it to be. (For more information about credit scores, inquiries, and understanding credit, check out our Credit Resource Center).
What Do I Need in Order to Be Approved?
If you want to be approved for a credit card, it’s imperative that you become familiar with your credit score and credit history. Ask for your free credit report from all three credit bureaus and take a look at everything that makes up your credit score. If you have other debts and/or outstanding balances, they will be reflected on your credit report. Depending on your needs, you may find that working on improving these areas for six months or more can help you boost your score and be allow you to be approved for the card you really want.
The great thing about credit cards, is the fact that a credit card will help you consistently keep a solid credit score with minimal effort. As long as you don’t max it out and you are able to make payments each month, you’re adding positive information to your credit score. As such, getting your credit score in a good place to be approved for the best credit card possible for you is worth the wait. Keeping a card open (and as a result improving your credit score) will make things easier on you when you decide to make other milestone choices, like buying a car or home.
What Happens After I Apply?
After you’ve done some research on cards and your credit score is where you want it to be, you’re ready to apply for a card. The bank will check your credit score and an application for a new credit card will show on your credit history (which may influence your credit score ever so slightly). You shouldn’t notice a significant change in your credit score unless you apply for several cards and if you follow the steps above, you shouldn’t have to apply for more than one card or two.
It’s worth mentioning, you should make sure that your chosen credit card does offer virtual credit card services if you’d like to use it. However, there are other ways that you can obtain virtual credit card numbers even if your card company or bank doesn’t offer them. For your convenience though, it would be best if your card allowed the creation of virtual credit cards.
Nevertheless, once you’re approved for a card, you’ll be issued a physical card, which will be sent to you in the mail. After you have the card, you can start protecting it by creating virtual credit card numbers to use online. Now, every time you make an online purchase, your card information will be completely masked. Even if the virtual card number is compromised for any reason, your real credit card number, and personal information, won’t be.
How long should I keep/use a virtual credit card?
That is completely up to you. When you create a virtual credit card number you have the power to choose how long the number will last. Some virtual credit card creation services allow “disposable” credit card numbers that will deactivate after a single use. However, you can also set the expiration date farther out if need be. Usually you can keep a virtual credit card number active for up to a year’s time.
It truly doesn’t matter how long you keep the card open, it’s completely up to your preferences. As I mentioned, your real card information will be safe no matter what. Another perk to virtual credit cards is that you can keep making new ones as often as you like. You can set spending limits that are attached to certain virtual numbers and every cent spent will still be reflected on your account history. You’ll never have to worry about where your money went or if it will remain safe.
Virtual credit cards are a smart idea for anyone who plans on shopping online. Of course, you should always make sure that buy from reputable sellers, but sadly, sometimes these things are completely of our control. You never know if an online marketplace could be compromised by a hacker or identity thief. Although, with a virtual credit card, at least you’ll always have the peace of mind knowing your personal information is protected.
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Trisha is a writer and blogger from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan, an avid gamer, cat lover, and amateur SFX artist.
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published December 14, 2017.