What is a Virtual Account Number and How to Get One?

A virtual account number (VAN) is a temporary number connected to your bank account. It allows you to make online or phone payments without revealing your real bank account details. Your bank creates these numbers, and they are active for a specific duration, like one month, functioning like regular account numbers for payments. A virtual account number can be considered a temporary bank account number in most cases, although it’s more accurate to say it’s a temporary access code.

Virtual account numbers and disposable virtual card numbers are getting more popular around the world because of numerous data breaches. Using one-time only, disposable account numbers help you against online fraud.

How Virtual Account Number Works

A virtual account number (VAN) is a temporary, single-use bank account number that is assigned to a customer for the purpose of making a specific payment. The VAN is linked to your real bank account, but the merchant does not have access to this information.

To get a virtual account number (VAN), you can request it from your bank or a financial institution that offers this service. Once requested, the bank will generate a unique VAN for the specific transaction or set of transactions you plan to make. Each VAN is typically valid for a limited time. The VAN is linked to your primary bank account, so when you make an online payment, you provide the VAN instead of your actual bank account number.

How to Get a Virtual Account Number

To begin, you should check whether your bank offers virtual account numbers. Once you’ve confirmed that your bank offers this type of temp bank account number, you can proceed with the request. Some banks enable you to request a VAN conveniently through their online platforms or mobile apps, while others may require you to contact their customer service.

When initiating a VAN request, you’ll typically be asked to furnish specific information, including your name, account number, and the intended purpose of the VAN. These VANs typically come with an expiration date. After the designated period lapses, you’ll need to request a fresh VAN if required. To use your virtual number, simply provide it to the merchant when making a payment. The merchant will then use the VAN to process the debit from your bank account

Banks With Virtual Account Numbers

Here are a few banks that offer virtual account numbers around the world:

Virtual Account Numbers in US

  • Ally Bank
  • CitiBank
  • Capital One
  • USAA
  • Discover Bank
  • Charles Schwab

Virtual Account Number in Europe

  • Société Générale (France)
  • Deutsche Bank (Germany)
  • HSBC (Global)
  • Standard Chartered Bank (Global)
  • BNP Paribas (France)
  • Barclays Bank (UK)
  • Lloyds Bank (UK)

Virtual Account Number in Canada

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Scotiabank

Virtual Account Number in Asia

  • Bank BCA (Indonesia)
  • DBS Bank (Singapore)
  • ICICI Bank (India)
  • State Bank of India (SBI)(India)

Virtual Account Number in Australia:

  • Westpac (Australia)
  • National Australia Bank

Virtual Account Number in Africa:

  • Standard Bank (South Africa)
  • First Bank of Nigeria (Nigeria)

Pros of Virtual Account Numbers

Virtual account numbers are essential for safe and secure transactions. They reduced the chances for fraud for credit card payments. Providing a merchant with your credit card details like credit card number and security code increases the chances of him using it to make his personal purchases or their system can get hacked.

It is safer to buy from large and established stores like Walmart compared to small and new stores. However, there are still some risks associated with it. This necessitates the use of virtual account numbers for transactions.

Most global merchants’ store their data in a single database. This is not safe, and it is always a target for hackers. This leaves credit cardholder information at the risk of hackers. As such, it is crucial to have a virtual account number for transactions while the banks retain your real account numbers. It is not 100 percent safe, but it provides increased security for your banking data.

Cons of Virtual Account Numbers

While it is safer to use virtual account numbers for transactions, it also comes with a few downsides. They include:

  • Limited Merchant Acceptance: Not all online merchants support virtual account numbers. Some websites or services may not be compatible with the use of temporary numbers, restricting your ability to make purchases in certain places.
  • Subscription Services: VANs may not be suitable for recurring subscription services. Since these numbers are typically valid for a short period, they may not be practical for ongoing monthly payments.
  • Refunds and Returns: If you use a virtual account number for a purchase that requires a refund or return, the process may be more complicated. The virtual number may have expired by the time a return is necessary, making it challenging to process the transaction.
  • Additional Steps: Generating and managing virtual account numbers can add complexity to your online shopping experience. If you prefer a more straightforward approach, the additional steps involved in using VANs may be seen as a drawback.
  • Expiration Dates: Being a temp bank account number, virtual account numbers typically have a short expiration period. This means you may need to generate new numbers frequently, which could be inconvenient for users who prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach to online transactions.

Despite these downsides, many users find virtual account numbers to be a valuable tool for enhancing online security. It’s crucial to evaluate these drawbacks in the context of your personal preferences and the specific use cases for which you intend to use virtual account numbers.

Virtual Account Number: A Secure Way to Make Online Payments

Virtual account numbers (VANs) are temporary bank account number securing your online payments. They help protect your financial information by not revealing your actual bank account number. VANs are available from many banks around the world, and they can be used for a variety of purposes, including recurring payments and single-use payments.

If you are looking for a way to protect your financial information when making online payments, VANs are a good option. However, virtual account numbers are not available from all banks.

Virtual Account Number FAQs

What is a virtual account number example?

Here is an example of a virtual account number: 1234-5678-9012-3456. It is a 16-digit number that is randomly generated and linked to a bank account.

How do I create a virtual account number?

Creating a Virtual Account Number (VAN) involves contacting your bank, supplying your bank details, and receiving the generated VAN information, including the VAN number and expiration date. The specific steps can vary depending on the bank you use.

How do I use a virtual account number?

To use a virtual account number (VAN), you will need to provide the VAN number and expiration date to the merchant or person you are making the payment to.

Our goal

We want to inform you about the latest banking trends and developments, by providing comprehensive reviews of banks around the world offering virtual banking services and bitcoin based banking.

Our aim is to help you know the best bank accounts, how to open a bank account, best banks to invest and buy bitcoin, how to apply for payment and virtual cards, how to open a non-resident bank account in the US or EU, how to earn a passive income with your crypto, obtain a loan with your crypto deposits, and many other banking-related topics.