#FinancialBytes: All you need to know about virtual credit cards
Credit cards have become a popular cashless payment method because of the convenience they offer, especially for online transactions. Though making online transactions using credit cards is convenient, card details are shared with merchant sites which might put the user's card information at risk of being compromised. And, this is where virtual credit cards come in. Here's everything to know about virtual credit cards.
What exactly are virtual credit cards?
Simply put, virtual credit cards are like credit cards with no physical existence. These are either linked to the cardholder's physical credit card or bank account. With features similar to those of credit cards, virtual credit cards are designed to protect one's original card/account information.
A few things to know about virtual credit cards
Just like a credit card, a virtual credit card comes with all the details required for making online transactions, including card number, user name, expiry date, CVV number, etc. However, unlike traditional credit cards, virtual credit cards are generated by users. Also, the VCCs are generally provided for free by banks; these come with no joining or annual fees.
Virtual credit cards come with a specified limit
If the VCC is linked to one's credit card as an add-on credit card, its credit limit is either decided by the cardholder or the concerned bank (depending on the individual's eligibility). If the VCC is linked to the user's savings account, they should load the card with an amount of their choice. However, VCC's limit is usually small compared to regular credit cards.
Validity of the virtual credit cards
Virtual credit cards are generally meant for one-time use. The validity of VCCs is less; these usually expire within 24-48 hours. Even if the balance isn't used, the VCC expires after a specified time and the remaining balance is credited back to the original source.
VCCs, one of the most secure online payment options
Virtual credit cards are one of the safest payment options for online transactions. VCCs are just temporary cards and it's not possible to track a VCC back to the primary credit card or the customer's bank account; these cards cannot be cloned. Even if VCCs are hacked, cybercriminals can't use them beyond the loaded balance, which is usually small, or after its validity expires.