Surf the Web has become as common as drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. According to a recent study, 84% of adults worldwide make online shopping regularly. It's impressive, isn't it? But like any medal, that of digital has its downside.
The latest reports show that nearly 16 million people have been victims ofonline scams in 2023 alone, resulting in financial losses estimated at billions.
Faced with this disturbing reality, how to protect ourselves effectively ? This is where the virtual credit card, which turned out to be a real boon for many of us.
Let's see together how this little digital shield could be a game-changer in our quest for online security.
What are virtual credit cards and how do they work?
Virtual credit cards are more than just numbers on a screen. These are temporary digital cards, often meant to be used once, or even for a short time.
They are closely related to your real Bank account or credit card, but they do not reveal your real information during transactions.
How does it work?
When you decide to use a virtual credit card, a card number is randomly generated for you, accompanied by expiration date and a security code (CVV).
Your real information remains hidden, thus ensuring that no one sees or shares your real details.
Imagine this. You are shopping on your favorite site. You have items in your cart. When paying, you choose a virtual card. You enter the details she gives you.
A few weeks later, bad news. Hackers attacked the site. They stole card numbers. But you have nothing to worry about. For what ? You used a virtual card. It expired right after your purchase. Your data is safe.
Why use them?
- Protection against cybercrime : These cards act as a shield, protecting your real data from prying eyes and malicious intent.
- Policy : Beyond security, virtual credit cards guarantee a level of confidentiality that physical cards struggle to offer. Your real information stays with you, out of sight.
How to get a virtual credit card?
As we have seen before, for anyone who cares about their security and their money, the virtual credit card is a tool to consider.
So how do you go about getting one?
Contact your bank
The first step is to turn to your bank. More and more banks now offer this service.
Just contact them and find out.
Explore dedicated online platforms
If for some reason your bank doesn't offer this service, don't worry.
There are other options:
- Payoneer : This international financial platform not only allows you to send and receive money around the world, but it also offers virtual cards for secure payments.
- Wise (formerly TransferWise) : In addition to its low-cost money transfer services, Wise offers virtual debit card solutions.
- Revolut : It is an international mobile bank that offers a variety of services, including virtual credit cards.
- Neteller : Known for its electronic wallet services, Neteller also offers virtual cards for secure online payments.
What are the disadvantages of virtual credit cards?
Virtual credit cards, with their security advantages, are not without limits.
Let’s discover together the main constraints to take into account.
1. Impossibility of physical use
These cards, being virtual, cannot be used for in-person transactions. However, it is possible to integrate them into secure mobile wallets, thus facilitating certain types of payments.
2. Limited lifespan
Designed for security, these cards are often temporary, intended for one-time or daily use.
While this can provide a layer of protection, it also means you should generate new ones regularly.
3. Refund issues
Let's say you order a product online with a virtual card, but it arrives damaged or not at all. If you request a refund after the card has expired, getting your money back can be complex.
4. Incompatibility with certain reservations
Services like hotel reservations can be problematic. If you book with a virtual card without paying in full, and the hotel wants to verify the card upon arrival, you may experience complications if the card has expired.
5. Potential charges
Although not systematic, some virtual card services may charge management or creation fees.
Virtual credit cards vs. Traditional cards
Virtual credit cards, first of all, work almost like our usual cards but in a digital version. They are not only safe, but also simple to use and often affordable.
Plus, they offer protection against hassles such as online scams. However, there is a catch: getting a refund can sometimes be tricky with these cards.
However, for many, the security benefits far outweigh this small inconvenience. Finally, before starting, it would be wise to find out about the common risks of online purchases to avoid any unpleasant surprises.