A Virtual credit card is a free service from your bank that allows you to create a temporary credit card number each time you make an online purchase. This number links directly to your real credit card account number but keeps your card number completely private and protected. The virtual credit card number is used just like any other credit card - a merchant never knows it's not your real credit card.
Not all banks or credit card companies offer a
virtual credit card service. After researching, here are the ones we found
Citibank - Virtual Account Number - downloadable software and web access
Fidelity - ShopSafe - downloadable software and web access
Bank of America - ShopSafe - downloadable software and web access
EntroPay - Prepaid Virtual Credit Card
Discover and PayPal have discontinued their virtual programs
NOTE: Virtual account numbers are not available for business credit cards.
Here is the
location within Fidelity, to use the virtual credit card application called
After clicking on the icon for
ShopSafe, you are presented with this window:
If you decide to
create a virtual credit card number, you are presented with this window:
Now, you enter
the amount of the transaction (be sure to add for shipping and handling) and
you decide how long this credit card will be good for.
Click on the button to create a number:
Now you can enter this information into the on-line shopping cart and complete your purchase.
Let's say you want
to use a virtual credit card for a re-occurring payment. If the payment is
the same every month.
Click on Create a
new ShopSafe Number for Recurring Payments. You are presented with this
Now you can
create the payment amount and specify how many months it will last.
ShopSafe is presented three (3)different ways in your computer.
9a. Via the Website:
9b. If you
have downloaded the ShopSafe application and installed it on your
computer, then it is available via the Start Menu button or via the icon
near the clock. When ShopSafe is running on your computer, some
websites will trigger ShopSafe to open automatically for you and wait for
you to log in and will automatically fill in your information for you.
Via the Start Menu button:
Via an icon near the clock:
is also available from Bank of America.
virtual credit card is from CitiBank. You can launch the application from
the website or download the application from their website:
Once the application is launched, you are presented with this window:
After entering your User Name and Password, you will see these options:
If you choose to
create a virtual account number, you will see:
Notice the AUTO FILL option. This is a nice feature while in the shopping cart area of the on-line purchase.
There are also
many pre-paid virtual credit cards available. One of these is EntroPay.
However, be very aware there are fees involved which are not charged by the banks with their services. An example of EntroPay's fees is:
Normally, virtual credit cards can only be used one time. (re-occurring payments are the exception)
Virtual credit cards are just like a normal credit card
No, you can not use virtual money to pay the monthly bill
Safe (for on-line use) because the card number can only be used once
Safe for telephone purchases because the card number can only be used one time
You are protected from fraud just as if you were using your plastic credit card
The charges made with virtual credit card numbers will appear on your credit card statement.