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How to Protect Yourself Online with Virtual Credit Card Numbers

October 11, 2021

Have you heard of virtual, or disposable credit card numbers? Making purchases online can be risky—here’s how virtual credit card numbers can protect your information.

Nowadays, a good portion of our purchases are done online. While this alternative to physical shopping saves time, energy, and in many cases, money, it also presents a new host of risks and bait for cyber criminals. Learn how a virtual credit card number can help protect your online security.

What is a virtual credit card number?

A virtual, disposable or single-use credit card uses temporary numbers that you use for one purchase and then throw away. By using a disposable card, you can effectively mask your credit card details in the event of a cyberattack. The temporary number is linked to your actual credit card and pulls money from that account when you purchase something with it.

What are the benefits of virtual credit card numbers?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were over 390,000 incidents of credit card fraud in 2020 alone, making it the most frequent form of identity theft for that year.

Virtual credit card numbers offer many benefits including:

  • The seller never sees your real card details.
  • You can give it a specific expiration date
  • You can freeze or cancel it anytime.
  • If you’re unsure of a website’s reputation or if you’ve never purchased anything from there, a disposable number protects your information.
  • Since there is no physical card, it cannot be stolen
  • You can set a limit on how much money is on the card

Any drawbacks to virtual credit card numbers?

  • You cannot use single use cards for in store purchases
  • Since the number on your physical card and the disposable card do not match, this can pose a problem if you need to return something. You will run into the same issue renting a car.
  • It is not a good idea to use disposable numbers to purchase airline tickets or any purchases where you have to present your physical credit card to acquire the purchase.
  • The numbers only last for a limited time, so keep in mind you will have to update them regularly if you’re using them for automatic bill payments, for example.

How do you access virtual credit card numbers?

Many banks and major credit card companies offer this service. Some virtual credit card issuers include Capital One Eno, Citi virtual account numbers, Abine Blur Premium and American Express Go.

Virtual credit cards can save you the stress of a potential breach. It’s wise to consider the benefits of this helpful service.

Questions? Contact us.

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