With the high rise in crime rates, virtual account numbers are possibly one of the best way to protect yourself from credit card fraud. A virtual credit card number, also known as a temporary account number or masked account number, is essentially a substitute for your real credit card number that’s used for making payments online. It works like a digital alias, adding an extra layer of security for your financial information.
How Credit Cards With Virtual Account Numbers Work
A virtual credit card number is randomly generated to be used for online transactions. Your credit card issuer, bank, or a third-party service provides the option to generate a virtual credit card number. This is often available through your online banking platform or a dedicated mobile app.
The virtual credit card number is temporary and typically expires after a specified period or number of uses. It is unique to the specific transaction or merchant, providing an added layer of security. Unlike a physical credit card, a virtual credit card number exists only in a digital format. It’s not associated with a physical plastic card and is designed for use in online or over-the-phone transactions. You can use the virtual credit card number for online purchases just like you would use your regular credit card. When making a purchase, you input the virtual number, expiration date, and security code (CVV) provided by the issuer.
Virtual credit card numbers often come with transaction limits, and they may expire after a single use or a predefined period. This limits the potential impact of fraud if the virtual number is compromised. The primary purpose of virtual credit card numbers is to enhance security. Since these numbers are temporary and tied to specific transactions, they reduce the risk of unauthorized use for subsequent purchases. While the virtual credit card number is temporary, it is linked to your actual credit card account. Transactions made using the virtual number are reflected on your credit card statement, and charges are applied to your credit card as usual.
How to Get Virtual Credit Card Number
To get a credit card with a virtual account number, the initial step involves selecting a bank or credit card issuer known for offering this service, typically integrated into its online banking system or mobile app. Providers often allow users to set parameters such as the duration of validity and spending limits during this process. Once the virtual credit card number is generated, you should take note of the details provided by the issuer, including the virtual credit card number, expiration date, and any other pertinent information. Charges made with the virtual number will be reflected in the credit card statement.
It’s important to be aware that the availability and features of virtual credit card numbers can vary between financial institutions. Not all banks or credit card issuers provide this service. If you are having trouble finding information on how to obtain a virtual account number with your specific bank or credit card issuer, consider reaching out to their customer support for guidance.
Credit Cards With Virtual Account Number
To ensure the safety of cardholders, many credit card providers offer virtual account numbers. Credit cards with virtual numbers include the following:
Capital One card provider is offering credit card virtual numbers to their cardholders. Capital One has a service known as Eno which is a virtual assistant. It offers features necessary to create virtual account numbers for all Capital One cardholders.
You can lock and unlock your virtual account number. Each credit card virtual account number works for a single online merchant only. You can access Eno virtual assistant through Capital One online banking, mobile apps, and web-browsers extensions.
Citi is the other credit card with a virtual account number. You can access it by just logging into your account and then searching for Citi virtual account number.
You can generate a virtual account number online, set a spending limit and expiration date. Thereafter, a CVV or CVC will be generated for you.
Once you want to make a purchase, you will just type your virtual account number and then the 3-digit code when prompted to do so. Even when you are making online purchases, do the same thing. Also read our how-to Create a Virtual US Bank Account for Non-Resident
American Express offers virtual credit cards to Amex credit card holders. This feature is called Amex Virtual Card Number. It allows you to generate a single-use credit card number that can be used to make online and in-store purchases without sharing their primary credit card number.
To generate an Amex Virtual Card Number, you can log in to your American Express account online or use the American Express app. Once you are logged in, click on the “Virtual Card & Google Pay” tab. Then, click on the “Generate Virtual Card Number” button. American Express will generate a single-use credit card number for you.
Bank of America
Bank of America provides virtual account numbers through their mobile banking app for online and in-app purchases. You can add your Bank of America credit cards to your digital wallets for Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Samsung Pay, where you’ll still earn all the rewards, benefits, and protections your physical card provides. In addition to these options, Bank of America’s Virtual Travel Card solution generates a one time use credit card number to help companies optimize their travel programs, implement stronger controls, and simplify expense reporting.
Benefits of Virtual Credit Card Numbers
There are several benefits you will reap from using a virtual credit card number. They include:
- Safeguards your real account. A virtual credit card number insulates your real account from data breaches. This ensures that hackers cannot access your real account or linked accounts and as such, they can’t hack.
- Manage subscriptions. Many subscriptions tend to roll over and occasionally, one can forget about having active subscriptions and yet continue to pay for them unaware. With a virtual card number, you can set an expiry of your virtual card and avoid subscription rollovers.
- Avoid billing errors. You can set limits for routine bills and if you are overcharged, then it is easy to know.
- Shopping on unfamiliar sites. If you are about to shop on an unfamiliar site, then it is best to use a virtual credit number. This can avoid the risk of exposing your real account to the potential danger of online fraud.
Read also: What Are Disposable virtual cards
Downsides of Virtual Credit Card Numbers
While virtual credit card numbers are a great way to protect yourself from credit card fraud, they have some limitations. They include:
- Limited Acceptance: Not all online merchants accept virtual credit card numbers. Some may have restrictions or may not be compatible with the use of temporary numbers, which could limit your ability to make purchases.
- Subscription Services: Virtual credit card numbers may not be suitable for recurring subscription services. Since these numbers are typically valid for a short period, they might not work well for ongoing monthly payments.
- Refunds and Returns: If you use a virtual credit card number for a purchase that requires a refund or return, it can be more complicated. The virtual number may have already expired, making it challenging to process the transaction.
- Integration with Some Apps and Services: Certain apps and services may not support virtual credit card numbers, especially those linked to specific financial institutions. This could limit your ability to use virtual card numbers across all platforms.
- Expiration Dates: Virtual credit card numbers typically have a short expiration period, which means you may need to generate new virtual credit card numbers frequently. This could be inconvenient for users who prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their online transactions.
Despite these downsides, many users find virtual credit card numbers to be a valuable tool for enhancing online security. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your personal preferences and usage patterns.
Getting a Credit Card With Virtual Account Number
Credit card virtual numbers is a great way to protect yourself from credit card fraud with a temporary bank account number or a one time use credit card number. Virtual credit card numbers are particularly useful for secure online and in-app purchases, subscription services, or situations where you may be concerned about the security of your credit card information. They add an extra layer of protection against fraud and unauthorized transactions.
Not every credit card provides the option of using a virtual bank account number, so it’s important to inquire with your card issuer to determine if this feature is available. Keep in mind that virtual card numbers may not be universally accepted by all merchants, as some may have restrictions or may not support the use of these temporary numbers. Despite the use of virtual card numbers, transactions made with them will still be reflected on your standard credit card statement.