Virtual Cards in Europe: A Guide for Non-Residents

Virtual cards have emerged as a convenient and secure solution for non-residents in Europe, providing access to online transactions without the need for physical presence. In this article, we explore the concept of virtual cards, their advantages, and the top providers of virtual cards for non-residents in Europe.

What is a Virtual Card?

A virtual card is a payment card that exists only in digital form. It is not a physical card that you can hold in your hand. Virtual cards are typically used for online shopping and making payments through apps. It comes with a unique card number, expiration date, and security code, providing an added layer of security for online payments.

Benefits of Virtual Cards

There are many benefits of using a virtual card in Europe for non-residents. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Euro balance: You can hold a balance in Euro even as a non-resident.
  • Security: Virtual cards are more secure than physical cards because they cannot be lost or stolen. The card number is not stored on your device, so even if your device is hacked, the hacker will not be able to access your card information. They are designed for one-time or limited use, reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorized transactions
  • Convenience: Virtual cards are more convenient than physical cards because you can use them anywhere that accepts online payments. You do not have to carry a physical card with you, and you can easily generate new card numbers as needed.
  • Flexibility: Virtual cards can be used for a variety of purposes, including online shopping and making payments through apps. This makes them a versatile payment option.
  • Affordability: Many virtual card providers offer free virtual cards or have low fees. This makes them a cost-effective way to make online payments.
  • Easy to get: Virtual cards can be easily obtained online, even if you are not a resident of the European Union.

Top Providers of Virtual Cards in Europe for Non-Residents

You can easily get virtual cards using virtual bank accounts for non-residents in Europe or fintechs. Virtual banks and financial technology companies offer unique features and benefits, including virtual cards.

Revolut Virtual Card

Revolut is a virtual bank in Europe that offers virtual credit card, multicurrency accounts, free foreign currency spending, budgeting tools, and cryptocurrency trading. They have a free plan available, as well as premium plans with added benefits and fees.

Revolut allows you to have 20 active virtual and 1 disposable virtual cards linked to your Revolut account at a time. However, you can only create a maximum of 4 new virtual cards every 30 days. To apply, you can download the Revolut app, complete the registration process, and verify your identity. The card type (Mastercard or Visa) depends on the country of residence, and Revolut supports various countries in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and more.

Go to Revolut

N26 Virtual Card

N26 provides virtual cards for all account types. The cards can be used for contactless payments in stores by adding it to Apple Pay or Google Pay. With N26, you can have one virtual card at a time, while premium members can also add a second virtual card to their accounts. Your extra virtual card has its own card number and can be locked without affecting your main card.

N26 virtual cards are Mastercard, and they are supported in most European countries. When you register for an N26 Standard account, you will receive a complimentary virtual card at no cost, provided you activate the card with a one-time minimum balance of €10. Additionally, N26 Smart, You, and Metal customers can request a free virtual card along with their premium membership, in addition to the free physical card they receive.

Go to N26

Wise Virtual Card

Wise (formerly TransferWise) offers a non-resident bank account in Europe, which comes with a multi-currency account, international money transfers, and multi-currency virtual cards. Their fees are transparent and competitive for currency exchange and transfers. To apply, you need to create a Wise account and complete the verification process. The card type (Mastercard or Visa) depends on the currency of the account, and Wise supports numerous countries in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and more.

With the Wise virtual card, you can make purchases using the real exchange rate, whether online, in-store, or during your travels. It holds more than 40 currencies simultaneously, including EUR and GBP. You can convert them in real time using the free Wise app, and you can spend like a local in over 170 countries. Although currently, you need to order a physical card first to access the virtual card, there’s no need to wait for your physical card to arrive before using the virtual card for your spending needs.

The Wise virtual card is free to all customers with personal or business Wise accounts (except our customers in the US or Japan).

Go to Wise

bunq Virtual Card

bunq DigiCards are virtual Mastercards that provide an added layer of security by allowing you to make online transactions without sharing your physical card’s details. With either an Easy Money or Easy Green account plan, you can get 25 free DigiCards. These virtual cards are compatible with popular payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay, making transactions even more convenient.

Beyond their secure nature, DigiCards offer additional advantages. They automatically categorize your spending, enabling you to track expenses more effectively. This feature helps identify areas where you spend the most, potentially leading to saving up to 10% each month.

Creating your very own bunq DigiCard is a simple process. Head to the Home tab in your bunq account, tap the “Add” button, select “Add Card,” choose “DigiCard,” and then proceed to create your DigiCard with ease. The card is primarily available in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Go to bunq

Monese Virtual Card

With Monese, you have the opportunity to create one virtual card per currency account. The best part is, you don’t even need a physical card to get started; as soon as you sign up for Monese, you can set up your virtual card and begin using it immediately. You can also integrate your virtual card with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Setting up your Monese virtual card is easy and completely free. Open your Monese app and navigate to the ‘Card’ tab, where your Monese debit card is displayed. Swipe left to access the ‘virtual card’ option and proceed to create your personalized virtual card.

Monese virtual cards are Mastercard, and they are primarily available in European countries, with plans for expansion to other regions.

Go to Monese

Wirex Virtual Card

Wirex is a UK crypto-friendly payment platform. It stands out as a provider of a virtual debit crypto card, allowing you to spend both cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies, just like a regular debit card. This card enables you to make payments both in physical stores and online, all processed using local currencies. Beyond its support for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Wirex also accommodates fiat currencies such as USD, GBP, and EUR, granting you a broader spectrum of financial choices.

Wirex has a widespread presence, operating in over 130 countries globally. However, the availability of the Wirex virtual card varies depending on the country. Presently, the Wirex virtual card is accessible in multiple regions, including the United Kingdom and various European Union member states.

Go to Wirex

The Rise of Virtual Cards for Non-Residents in Europe

Virtual cards have transformed the way non-residents in Europe manage their finances, providing convenience for online transactions. With enhanced security features, such as one-time use and limited-use options, the risk of fraud is significantly minimized. Moreover, the ability to hold multiple currencies and conduct real-time conversions caters to the needs of travelers and global citizens.

Leading providers of virtual card in Europe for non-residents like Revolut, N26, Wise, and bunq are good options for you. With the added advantage of integrating with Google Pay and Apple Pay, virtual cards offer a wide range of benefits that cater to the diverse needs of users in the digital age.

How many virtual cards can I have in Revolut?

You can have up to 20 active virtual cards and one single-use card linked to your Revolut account at the same time.

How do I use N26 virtual card?

To use your N26 virtual card, you can either add it to Apple Pay or Google Pay or use it manually.

How many Wise virtual cards can I have?

You can create up to 3 Wise virtual cards at a time.

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.