Virtual Credit Cards (Safer On-line Shopping)

By Joe Callison
3 December 2022

Virtual Credit Cards (Safer On-line Shopping)

Many seniors are hesitant to use credit cards for on-line purchases and for good reason. Some merchants are fraudulent, some have poor security for keeping your account information safe from hackers, and malware on your computer can steal your information while you use it for transactions. Having to get your credit card canceled is a nuisance and it takes time to get a new one issued. A recently introduced option that is growing in popularity is the virtual credit card.

There are multiple types of virtual credit cards available with various ways of working. The most basic type may be available from your current credit card provider. It has a different number, expiration, and security code than your physical primary credit card, but it is linked to the same account by the credit card provider. You can use the virtual credit card information for purchases and if there is ever a problem with it, only the virtual credit card is canceled, leaving your physical primary card available for use, and you can also obtain a new virtual credit card at any time.

Another type of virtual credit card is one you can manage on-line or through a mobile app and may have options to be created as a single-use or multiple-use credit card, a single merchant credit card, ability to be locked and unlocked by you when needed, and have spending limits or frequency of use limits. It is also linked to your physical primary credit card account and the information is secured by the issuer of the app, so it needs to be trustworthy, preferably from one of the major credit card providers.

Internet browser extensions are also available to create virtual credit cards for on-line purchases through the browser, but extensions can be from risky sources, so preferably they should be from the major credit card providers. Google Chrome has the ability to make in-browser purchases without adding an extension, by storing your physical credit card information in your secured Google account and turning on the autofill feature of Chrome. An option for using a virtual credit card instead of your physical card pops up for most merchant sites if your credit card provider supports it. Google contacts your credit card provider and obtains a virtual credit card number, expiration date, and security code for the transaction in a matter of seconds. This is the method I have been using for a few months now and I really like it.

Virtual credit cards can make on-line purchases much less worrisome and the convenience for seniors, especially those less mobile, can be a real benefit.


What Is a Virtual Credit Card?

Virtual Credit Card Numbers: The Complete Guide – Forbes Advisor

Use virtual card numbers to pay online or in apps – Android – Google Chrome Help

The 13 Best Virtual Credit Cards in 2022 [Detailed Guide]

An Alternative to a Virtual Card: Prepaid Credit Card

For both on-line and in-person purchases, you may prefer this method instead.

Visa Prepaid Reloadable Personal Cards

Mastercard Prepaid | Just Load and Pay | Safer than Cash

What is a Prepaid Card? | Discover

Posted by Joe Callison

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