More and more people are shopping and paying for goods and services online. Technology, mobile devices, mobility and special offers are just some of the factors that are enabling online payments to gain increasing ground over shopping in physical stores. But not everyone trusts digital environments when it comes to shopping and paying for purchases because it involves sharing sensitive data such as card numbers, bank details and other personal information.
All of which has led to the birth of virtual payment cards, a very secure and user-friendly system that minimises the risks for both banks and customers.
Virtual cards don't have a physical format but they carry the data required for online transactions, such as the virtual card number, the expiry date and the CVV (Card Verification Value) security code.
Virtual cards are compatible with different mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, which are managed from the relevant smartphone apps.
Advantages of a virtual payment card
The main advantage of a virtual card is that you decide how much money you want to put on it. As it's not a credit card, you can only spend the balance available at any given time. Virtual payment cards are usually linked to a completely secure app controlled from a mobile device.
As with any other card, you can set up a security SMS to authorise transactions. To avoid surprises, you should check whether there is a card maintenance fee.
One of the advantages that really sets virtual payment cards apart from other cards is that you can use it to make payments and withdraw cash abroad without paying foreign exchange charges.
Another advantage is that since they are controlled online, deposits and transfers are usually instant without compromising the financial data of savings, current or credit accounts.
Here's a simple example of how to shop with a top-up virtual card.
Let's say you decide to buy a smart multi-function fitness watch online for 350 euros. With a virtual card, all you have to do is transfer that amount to your card and then enter the card details when you reach the payment page. It's simple, fast and, most important of all, it's secure.