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What is Virtual Credit Card? Benefits, Limitations & How to Apply Process

A data breach is a serious concern when it comes to your financial personal details. Many people are still skeptical to do online shopping or any other online transactions using their debit or credit card details. If the website you are shopping on is not well protected against a data breach, your card number and details can end up getting listed for sale on the dark web. Therefore, it is important to take all the measures possible for safeguarding your financial data.

One of the easiest ways to protect your card details is by getting a virtual credit card. If you are a person who uses credit cards frequently for shopping online, we think you should look into the concept of ‘virtual credit cards.’

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What is a Virtual Credit Card?

A virtual credit card is a temporary credit card with a pseudo-16-digit credit card number. It is basically an electronic version of your card, but it has a different card number and CVV than your physical credit card. These cards can’t be turned into physical credit cards. Therefore, they can only be used for online national and international transactions.

The card’s credit limit is almost similar to your physical credit card. You can set a maximum limit for it to avoid overspending. However, it is sometimes issued only for a limited period of time and allows only a certain number of transactions in that time period. You should check with your bank to understand more about the same.

You must be wondering how a virtual card is good for security reasons. Let us explain in detail.

How to Generate a Virtual Credit Card Number?

Many virtual credit card generator apps or platforms allow users to create a pseudo-16-digit credit card number for online transactions. These details are valid for a limited period of time.

How to shop using a virtual credit card?

Once you receive details for your card, you can start off by doing both national and international transactions.

  • Put your virtual card details including number, date of expiry, and CVV on the payment page instead of the physical card’s details.
  • Enter the OTP for authenticating the transaction.

And that’s it! Your transaction will go through without putting your primary credit card details online on an unknown shopping portal.

Related read: How to get a credit card without a bank account?

How much does it cost to get a virtual credit card?

Most of the time, these cards can be generated for free. Check with the bank and apps online to know more.

Why is a virtual credit card safe for online transactions?

As discussed above, data breaches can lead to stolen card details. If you opt for a virtual credit card, your physical card’s data remains safe with you. The virtual card is issued for a limited period of time, sometimes for just 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, even if your card details are stolen, they can’t be used for any transactions.

The card gets blocked after a given time period. You can also easily block a virtual card from your end and keep your primary card safe with you for other transactions.

Benefits of virtual credit card

Other than security benefits, virtual credit cards have many other benefits for users.

  • They can be obtained by non-credit card users too.
  • You can set up a virtual credit card for a particular merchant website. Thanks to this feature, the card credentials can’t be used for other websites.
  • In case there’s a suspicion or a threat of data breach or misuse, you can easily block your card without discontinuing your primary credit card.
  • Any unutilized limit on your virtual credit card is transferred to your primary credit card post-expiration.
  • Virtual credit cards in India and abroad can be used for both domestic and international transactions.
  • Given that virtual cards are available online, their details can be easily found online.

The above-mentioned benefits of a virtual credit card almost make them sound too good to be true. However, every coin has two sides to it.

Limitations of a virtual credit card

Virtual credit cards usually work well in most situations, but it still comes with its set of limitations. The drawbacks are as follows:

  • Virtual credit cards can’t be put down for long-term subscription because they expire after a certain period of time.
  • It’s hard to get refunds for payments made using these cards. By the time a refund is initiated, your card might have already expired.
  • You can’t use the card to make cash withdrawals from an ATM.

Other than these limitations, these cards are best for online shopping from both known and unknown merchant platforms. You can also divide your credit limit into different generated virtual credit card numbers for various websites. It will help you keep track of credit usage easily. Most importantly, they keep your confidential data safe and secure.

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You can check with various credit card issuers to see if they provide a temporary virtual credit card. Additionally, choose a credit card that helps you save up to 18K/year! Apply for the newly launched Airtel credit card from Airtel Finance this new year to earn exciting rewards, get discounts, and cash back on all your purchases! Read more about the card online on our official website or on the Airtel Thanks app.