hand with hand-drawn credit card floating above

What Are Virtual Credit Cards?

Recently, the use of virtual credit cards (VCCs) has become a popular means of paying for goods and services online. VCCs are temporary credit card numbers that allow a consumer to complete a transaction online without providing their real account number. This can add an extra layer of security to purchases involving credit cards. 

How Do You Get a Virtual Credit Card?

VCCs are provided as a service by certain banks and credit card companies. If your card provider offers this feature, you can request a virtual credit card through the company’s online portal or associated mobile app. Capital One’s Eno, for example, is an online virtual assistant that generates random credit card numbers for members. 

Once you submit your request, you will be issued a temporary credit card number, expiration date, and security number. Transactions using VCCs will show up on your bank statement as if you had used your regular card number. 

How Do VCCs Keep You Secure?

Many virtual credit cards are designed to be used only once. This means that, as soon as a payment is complete, the credit card number is no longer valid. In such cases a shopper need not worry about a data breach, since their credit card number can no longer be used by anyone.

In other cases, a virtual credit card may have a longer expiration date. In the event of a security issue, you can simply cancel the virtual card instead of having to close the entire account and wait for a brand new card to be issued. 

Some virtual credit cards also allow you to set spending limits, which can protect you from fraud and also help you budget for certain vendors. 

Cons of Virtual Credit Cards

Like most forms of payment, VCCs are not without their drawbacks. The main issues arise when a physical card is needed to verify a transaction. For example, many hotels require you to present the card with which you booked a room online. If you used a VCC, that number will not match and could cause issues with confirming your reservation. 

You may also run into issues with returning goods to a merchant. Although VCCs are becoming much more commonplace, many stores still need a credit card in order to provide you with a refund. If you do not have a matching physical card for them to swipe, you may be forced to settle for store credit instead of a refund. 

Keep in mind, also, that virtual credit cards can still be subject to cyber threats. If your VCC is not designed for single use, the number can be stolen and used to make fraudulent transactions. If you have more than one VCC, it will be extra work to monitor all your card numbers for unauthorized purchases. 

Keep Your Business Secure

Accepting credit cards is essential in staying competitive as a business. Finding a merchant services provider that is within your budget and keeps your customer information secure is one of the most important steps you can take to grow your business. 

If you need help finding the right way to accept credit card payments, contact Summit Payments Co. We can match you with the right provider and help you negotiate the most reasonable fees available.