6 Things You Should Know About Virtual Credit Cards

As we’re passing the golden age of e-commerce, Cyberattacks, hackings are also happening more often. People are sharing their credit card information with websites while purchasing something and becoming the victims. But, what if you could hide the card information but still be able to shop with the same credit card? Yes, there are services available with which you can hide the actual credit card; and, VCC is the first thing to consider. 

You can go for a Virtual Credit Card and associate your actual credit card with it. Then, you can use the VCC card instead of the real one for online shopping or transactions. Just like PayPal accounts, you can use the VCC card a lot easier and, most of all, a lot safer. In this article, I’ll get you through the things if you’re wondering what’s a VCC, how to get and use one. 

6 Things You Should Know About Virtual Credit Cards

Virtual Credit Cards (VCC) are the next level of securing your online presence with financial information. While keeping the credit card information became almost impossible, taking the security a step further is necessary, and a VCC card brings you that. Here are the things you must know about Virtual Credit Cards if you’re planning on getting one lately: 

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What’s a VCC, and how does it work?

A Virtual Credit Card number is similar to the real card you have, but it doesn’t have a physical appearance, and the number is randomly generated. Using a VCC is easy; you associate your real credit card to the generated card number and use the VCC instead of the real one. While purchasing something, you complete the transaction as you do it regularly, and the merchant will get the payment. The payment will be complete from the real card’s balance, and nobody is getting the real number to scam you. You can generate the random number with a controlled expiry date of up to 1 year. 

Not every credit card has VCC 

Although you can associate the real credit card to the VCC, you cannot get every card issuer’s service. Most of the renowned credit card issuers are still providing VCC services, including the all-new PayPal key (only for US accounts). Citibank Virtual Account Number, Mastercard VCC service, and some other small card issuer companies are other available options. However, American Express has discontinued its AMEX virtual card, Bank of America also discontinued its ShopSafe VCC service. Discover also halted the service after Mastercard bought their technology.

There are online VCCs if your bank doesn’t have it

If you’re using a credit card that the issuer doesn’t have the VCC service, you can also avail of your VCC from other services. There are online services that are doing great with VCCs, such as Blur, from Abine, a Boston-based company. Other popular online services for VCC service are Eno from Capital One, Wells Fargo Wallet, Chase Pay, and so on. You can use these online services to input your present physical credit card number and generate a new VCC number. Some of them are free of cost, but I’d suggest you get a premium service if you want the best out of the VCC service. 

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If you want to make recurring payments

As the VCC numbers are not permanent credit card numbers, you might think these cards are not ready for recurring payments. However, the truth is, you might be able to start a recurring payment for a longer period using your VCC number instead of the real card. As I mentioned earlier, you can opt-out for a VCC number with a customizable expiry period from a day to a year. Another feature you can get is a spending limit or a limitation on the number of transactions. You can go for the maximum expiry period, set 12 transaction limits (for 12 months), and set it for recurring payment or a subscription. 

The obtaining process may vary 

The process of getting a Virtual Credit Card will vary from one card issuer to another as they all have distinct features. Depending on which card issuer company you’re using, you can always start by going to their webpage dedicated to VCC. Some VCC issuers have a full-fledged online interface to apply for the card number, link your existing card, and generate a new number. You can also find some services that will download dedicated software to your computer that generates the number. There are also issuers who use browser extensions to generate a new number every time you tend to get a VCC number. 

Regardless of which method or which provider you’re going for, your safety comes first. Be sure that you’re not accessing a fishing site; check the URL, and use a trusted browser like chrome to do the job.

Returning might become complicated 

While you purchase something using a Virtual Credit Card, you get the billing to your regular card as usual. However, as you’re using a disposable, one-time number for a specific merchant, that might become completed for that merchant. The number was valid for the purchase time, but it’s no longer viable that you can accuse the merchant. When you put a dispute or return the product, the merchant tries to use its automated system to return the amount to the same number you used for purchase. As the number is disposed off, some banks cannot process the return; so, they end up giving you a store credit or a gift card. 

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Final thoughts 

Using a Virtual Credit Card can be a big advantage at keeping your online transactions safe and secure. You can limit the transaction numbers, total transaction amount, set a period for the card number to become obsolete, and so on. Once the period or the transaction amount reaches its limit, the number will automatically become obsolete and expire. All these features take the VCC card to a new height, ensuring the maximum convenience of online transactions. Although the online-only feature itself may become a little issue for some, it’s still a great option to have for greater security reasons.

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