How To Choose The Best Virtual Credit Card Service

Credit card fraud isn’t just a hassle for cardholders. It also hurts businesses, banks, and credit card issuers.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows it’s rising and continuing to get worse. 

With the wide impact of credit card fraud, it’s no surprise that  everyone is looking for ways to reduce credit card fraud. One way to do that is with virtual credit cards.

Virtual credit cards in general are becoming more popular. According to Affiliated Market Research, the global virtual card market was valued at $281.22 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $1,893.1 billion by 2031. 

What Is A Virtual Credit Card Service?

Virtual credit card numbers are created for specific purchases. They are connected to a bank account, debit card or credit card. A virtual credit card works pretty much like a physical card. You receive a 16 digit credit card number, security code, and expiration date that can be used to make online purchases or purchases by phone. You may be able to use them to make in-store purchases with certain retailers or by using a digital wallet. 

Virtual card numbers can be designed to be used multiple times, to pay for a subscription for example, or as a one-time use card. 

The reason they are helpful for preventing fraud is that their individual use is limited, either to the assigned merchant, as a one-time number, or with a specific credit limit. If a hacker were able to get ahold of the card details, it would be hard for them to do a lot of damage. (That doesn’t mean they are completely fraud-proof. However, if the card is tied to a credit card account you are protected against most fraudulent transactions under federal law.) 

There are two ways to get a virtual credit card:

One is through your credit card issuer, if it offers them. This is the ideal scenario; once you are approved you can then create virtual card numbers and any charges will be tied to your credit card. 

But if you can’t qualify for a credit card that offers virtual card numbers, you may want to choose a virtual credit card service which will offer virtual credit card numbers tied to a bank account or debit card.

Pros and Cons Of A Virtual Credit Card Service

While the reasons that someone may want to use a virtual card in place of their regular credit card for their online checkout process have been briefly mentioned, it is important to look at the pros and cons of virtual credit cards and virtual card services as a whole. 

Pros:

  • Great for trial subscriptions to avoid renewals

  • Easy to cancel or stop further charges

  • Less security risk overall

  • Set spending limits for each card

  • Open and close them without impacting your credit scores

  • Virtual card services may be available without good credit

  • Small businesses can assign to cards employees

Cons:

  • May miss out on bonuses/points if not tied to a rewards card

  • Mostly limited to online payments or online shopping

  • May cause issues with some types of returns

  • Limited number of providers offering them 

  • Card services may charge fees

What To Look For In A Virtual Credit Card Service

Credit card providers are in some ways in the best position to step into this space and provide customers with virtual credit and debit cards, but not all banks and credit card providers have decided to provide these services to individuals or small businesses. Perhaps with the rise of digital wallets, digital currency, and the surges in ecommerce sales, more card companies and financial institutions will be offering virtual cards, but in the meantime third party businesses are stepping up.

Virtual credit card services provide virtual cards that will then be tied to a bank account or debit card for payment. There aren’t many of these businesses out there yet,  some and it is important that consumers look at their options before deciding on a virtual credit card service. 

There are many factors to keep in mind when you look for a virtual credit card service:

  • Number of virtual credit cards you can create

  • Monthly fees/pricing

  • Bonuses/rewards

  • Security measures 

  • Terms and fraud protection

Security measures are especially important here if these virtual card numbers are associated with a bank account or debit card. Credit card purchases are protected under a federal law, the Truth In Lending Act, that limits responsibility for most fraudulent transactions to $50. 

Debit card transactions are covered by a different law, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, and liability can start at $50 and go up from there. That law does not apply to business debit cards. Federal law offers limited protection for compromised business bank accounts. 

Again, virtual credit cards are usually created for specific purchases with limited spending limits, but it’s still wise to be careful when choosing and using these services. 

Best Virtual Credit Card Services

Privacy

Privacy is a third party virtual credit card number service and is the most well known in this space. It offers three different pricing plan options ranging from $0/month to $25/month each with its own features. The free account offers up to 12 numbers per month, for example, while the Pro account ($10 a month) allows you to create up to 36 card numbers a month and offers 1% cash back for eligible purchases up to $4500 a month

You can connect a checking account or debit card from a US bank or credit union as a funding source for your Privacy card account. 

US Unlocked


With US Unlocked you can create virtual cards for online shopping with specific merchants. You can create merchant-specific cards or one-time use cards. In the US you’ll use a bank account to load the card. Other countries offer other options. 

Pay attention to fees, though. There is a 50 cent transaction fee, $3.50 monthly maintenance fee, and $11.50 unload fee. The load fees vary. 

Wise

Wise is known for its international wire transfer services. It also offers a virtual card, the Wise digital card, that works from your phone. You can add it to Apple Pay, Google Pay or other digital wallets. You can have up to three virtual cards and you can freeze them after each purchase. 

It is available in the US (except Nevada) and other countries. You must have a Wise account. You will need to order a physical card but Wise says you can start using your virtual card sooner. It is free to customers with personal or business Wise accounts. 

Card Issuers

If you are looking for virtual credit cards, your best bet may be a card issuer that offers the option of creating virtual credit card numbers. This allows you to use these card numbers without revealing your main credit card number when you make a purchase. 

Here are some options to consider: 

Capital One

Capital One Eno is a browser extension that allows Capital One members with specific cards to generate virtual credit cards. The main benefit for Capital One members, besides those that come with virtual cards, is that these virtual card purchases still count towards points/bonuses. 

Citi

Citi’s virtual cards are similar to Capital One in that you need to have specific cards to have access to the virtual card option. You have the ability to generate virtual card numbers for online purchases.

Dash.fi

Small business owners looking for a card with unlimited virtual credit card numbers may want to consider dash.fi. You’ll be able to create unlimited virtual cards instantly for specific merchants or even to assign to contractors or your advertising agency. Virtual cards are free with dash.fi. 

Other Options

There are other companies that offer savings accounts along with virtual cards for customers. Revolut, Netspend, and other companies offer this service. However, since many of these require a new savings account to be set up, they were not included on this list. However, if you are thinking about opening a new account anyway, you may want to inquire if the financial institution offers virtual cards.


Advertising

Why TikTok Is So Popular

11 minutes read

TikTok is one of the most popular apps ever. Here’s why, along with the reason why digital marketers are flocking to TikTok.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Ecommerce Website Builders: Design & Development

12 minutes read

Create a successful ecommerce website using these 6 best website builders and grow your ecommerce business with the right tools.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

What is Performance Marketing? Strategies for Success

11 minutes read

Performance marketing can help you achieve your business goals. But how does it work, and is it the right strategy for your company?

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

dash.fi vs. Jeeves Cashback Offer Comparison

8 minutes read

Here is a head-to-head comparison between dash.fi and Jeeves and their cashback offers to help you better decide the best option for your business.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Ecommerce Analytics: Using Data To Drive Sales

11 minutes read

Learn how to use ecommerce analytics to drive sales from five experts who share their top tools and strategies.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Announcement

Crypto, Visibility, and Video Support highlight dash.fi September release

3 minutes read

dash.fi makes it possible for advertisers to amplify rewards and better manage their transactions with industry-leading support tools.

by Ty Kiisel
Read more
Advertising

Omnichannel Advertising Strategy: What, How, and Why

12 minutes read

Omnichannel advertising integrates multiple advertising channels to generate a smoother customer experience and cohesive brand identity.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

Amex Business Gold Card Benefits

9 min read

The American Express Business Gold card provides many advantages over its competitors. Read on to learn more about some of this credit card’s unique benefits.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Marketing Analytics: What, How, & Why

10 minutes read

Marketing analytics can help provide an unbiased look at the results you’re getting from your marketing efforts, uncover areas for improvement, and help you know when to double down on what’s working.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Credit Cards

Business Virtual Cards: The Important Benefits

10 minutes read

Virtual cards offer many benefits for businesses, including enhanced security and spending controls. Learn more about how virtual cards can help your business.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

Travel Inflation

9 minutes read

Travel inflation is a gradual cost increase of travel, which may include a slow devolution of rewards miles and points. Learn more here.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

What is a Virtual Card?

11 minutes read

Virtual card numbers offer an extra layer of security for online transactions and let you do things like set custom spending limits.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

What Is A Virtual Credit Card Number?

9 minutes read

Learn how a virtual credit card number can help your small business reduce risk and better manage expenses.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Advertising During A Recession

9 minutes read

Is the current recession squeezing your business’s marketing budget? Combat budget crunches with these creative advertising strategies.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

What Is A Virtual Credit Card Number?

9 minutes read

Learn how a virtual credit card number can help your small business reduce risk and better manage expenses.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Inventory Costs

7 minutes read

Inventory costs are a big part of managing a product-selling business. Keep reading to learn more.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Here's What The Future of Ecommerce Looks Like

13 minutes read

Ecommerce continues to grow. Five experts share trends that will continue to accelerate ecommerce growth over the next decade. Here’s what to expect.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

8 Ecommerce Metrics to Track to Measure Success

10 min read

Tracking key metrics are key if you want to optimize and grow your ecommerce business. Keep reading to learn more.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Ecommerce Artificial Intelligence: Everything You Need to Know

9 minutes read

Ecommerce businesses can use artificial intelligence and machine-learning to find customers and sell them what they want. Here’s how it works.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

The Top Affiliate Networks in 2022

12 minutes read

For digital marketers looking to create passive income, the top affiliate networks are a great place to find the best affiliate programs.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Newsletter Card

Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest news, articles, and announcements from dash.fi. It’s easy and it’s free.