Skip to content

Stay Secure Online With Virtual Credit Card Numbers

Updated Jun 21, 2021 | Published Aug 08, 201813 min read

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

At a glance

Virtual credit cards are digital copies of real credit cards that typically feature different card numbers and expiration dates. They can be used online or by phone to help protect your actual account details.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

Virtual credit cards are digital versions of real, physical credit cards.

You can use them instead of your actual card details when shopping online or by phone, to help prevent credit card fraud and identity theft along with myriad other purposes.

Where Can I Get a Virtual Credit Card Number?

There are currently only a few credit card issuers that provide virtual account numbers. You can see them all here.

There are also several digital wallet services that can perform a very similar function for online transactions (and in store as well). You can learn more about them here.

Issuers That Provide Virtual Cards

Virtual Account Provider Details
American Express
  • Only within the Coupa business-to-business payment platform (not for typical cardholders)
Capital One Eno
Citi Virtual Card Accounts
Apple Card (Apple & Goldman Sachs)
Brex
Stripe
  • Provided instantly after uploading your company logo into the Stripe Dashboard
Insider tip

American Express has the vPayment system, which generates virtual account numbers, but this is for corporate accounts only.

How Do I Set Up a Virtual Credit Card?

Setting up a virtual credit card number should be pretty easy. The process may vary a bit by issuer, but it should (usually) only take a few simple steps, like the following:

  1. Check to see if your credit card account offers virtual card numbers, or apply for a credit card if you don’t already have one. You need an open credit card account in order to use a virtual card. A card you’re currently carrying may already give you virtual account access, so do some research to see if that’s the case. If not, browse the virtual account providers we listed, and search for an option that complements your spending habits.
  2. Log in to your credit card account online and find the virtual credit card feature. You’ll typically find this option in your account settings, so check there first.
  3. Generate the card information. You’ll get a new 16-digit credit card number and 3-digit security code every time you create a virtual card. In some cases, you’ll be able to choose the expiration date, though certain issuers with merchant-specific options will set that automatically.
  4. Use your virtual card as you would any card. Aside from a few minor differences — merchant exclusivity and the fact that they don’t physically exist, for example — virtual credit cards are pretty much the same as normal credit cards. You input the applicable information to make purchases, and those purchases are charged to your account.

American Express

Setup
Details
  • Not available for typical consumer cardholders
  • Must use Coupa Pay business-to-business platform
  • To pay a supplier, the merchant must accept American Express on the Coupa supplier network and agree to accept American Express virtual card payments
  • Purchase order details are automatically reconciled with your ERP

Coupa Pay is a B2B payment management system, used to connect suppliers to vendors. A newly expanded partnership between Amex and Coupa means that virtual cards can now be generated to use with certain vendors within Coupa Pay — those that accept Amex and agree to the virtual card terms.

Virtual cards within Coupa Pay are intended to streamline the process while providing more security, especially for one-off payments. Rather than providing your real card details to every supplier or vendor you work with, you can easily generate unique, one-time virtual card numbers to use for each purchase.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express offers credit cards mostly focused on travel, along with some excellent cash back options.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$595
  • Regular APR14.24% - 22.24% Variable

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Capital One Eno

Setup
Learn More
Details

You’ll need a Capital One card to use Eno, Capital One’s “intelligent assistant.” You’ll also need to use either the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browser, so you can get the Eno extension.

The virtual card numbers you create with Eno will be merchant-specific, meaning each one can only be used with its paired merchant.

After installing the extension, the Eno assistant will pop up when you’re on a checkout page. Follow the instructions to create a virtual card number for that merchant. That number will be saved and used for future purchases from that same merchant.

Or, you can use Eno to create virtual cards before making purchases.

With Capital One, if you report your physical card as lost or stolen your virtual card numbers will remain active.

The Eno tool includes a unique service that allows you to get your full account information as soon as you’re approved, rather than having to wait several business days for the physical card to arrive in the mail. That includes the account number, expiration date, and CVV security code. Or, if your card is lost or stolen, Eno can provide your replacement card information instantly to help you get back on track more quickly.

Capital One Credit Cards

Capital One credit cards are available for people of all credit ranges. Check out some of Capital One’s best credit cards below.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR15.49% - 25.49% Variable

The information related to Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR15.49% - 25.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR26.99% Variable

Citi Virtual Card Accounts

Setup
Learn More
Details

Most Citi cards are eligible for virtual account numbers. The only exceptions are the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (Review), along with the business version of that card, and the old Citi Dividend card (which is no longer open to new applications).

Each virtual card will be specific to a single merchant. You can set spending limits and expiration dates.

You can manage and use your virtual account numbers through Citi’s web service. Windows users can choose to download a program to manage virtual credit card accounts instead.

With Citi, if you report your physical card as lost or stolen your virtual card numbers will be canceled as well. So you’ll need to create new virtual cards to replace them. This is unlike Capital One, which allows your virtual cards to remain active when you report your card as lost or stolen.

Citi Credit Cards

Learn more about Citi credit cards, or take a look at a few of Citi’s best card offers.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Citi Prestige® Card
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$495
  • Regular APR16.99%–23.99% Variable

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Apple Card

The Apple Card has a built-in virtual credit card number. You can’t manage multiple virtual credit card numbers at one time with this card, but cardholders do have the option to “Request New Card Number” if they think their cards’ information has been compromised.

This virtual card number can be used for online purchases, or anywhere a full credit card number must be entered.

The card number stored in the physical Apple Card’s magnetic stripe is different from this virtual credit card number, so one does not need to be replaced if the other is compromised.

The screen with the virtual card number is available by navigating to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Apple Card > Card Information, and requires authentication with Touch ID, Face ID, or a passcode.

Apple Card virtual card number screen

Apple Card

Our rating:
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Apple Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR12.74% — 23.74% Variable

Brex

Brex offers two business charge cards: the Brex Daily Card (Review), the Brex 30 Card (Review).

After you’re approved, both offer instant access to virtual credit cards designed for use with online and phone transactions. You’ll be in total control of where and how your virtual cards are used once they’re issued.

You can create as many virtual cards as necessary, each with fresh credentials, plus customizable limits that can be changed in real time. And, naturally, you can close your virtual cards whenever.

Insider tip

Unlike many business credit cards, Brex charge cards aren’t available to consumers, sole proprietors, unregistered businesses, and other non-individual liability companies.

Brex Charge Cards

Brex Daily Card

Our rating:
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Brex Daily Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelEligibility determined by business financials
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APRNot Applicable - Paid in Full Daily

Brex 30 Card

Our rating:
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Brex 30 Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelEligibility determined by business financials
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APRNot Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly

Stripe

The Stripe Corporate Card works a lot like the Brex cards. You don’t have to provide a personal guarantee or submit to a credit check to get it, but you do have to meet certain standards concerning your payment volume, your history with Stripe, and your bank account history.

Virtual cards are provided instantly once your company logo has been uploaded to the Stripe Dashboard.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Stripe Corporate Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelEligibility determined by business financials
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APRNot Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly

What Is a Virtual Credit Card?

A virtual card functions like a disposable representative of your real card. If something happens to a virtual card, you can just delete it and get a new one.

The two main purposes for using virtual account numbers (VANs) are security and convenience. Instead of providing merchants with your actual credit card details, you can just give the virtual card number.

Then, if there’s any security issue with the website or company, you can simply cancel that virtual card. You don’t need to worry about thieves making all sorts of fraudulent transactions, because they would just have that one limited number. And you won’t need to report your card information as stolen and get a new card mailed. Here’s a summary of just about everything you need to know about virtual credit cards:

  • They help protect your financial information: If a hacker steals your virtual credit card it won’t compromise your actual account, improving your overall card security.
  • They’re only for online and phone purchases: Virtual credit cards can be used online or on the phone, but not for in-store purchases.
  • The card details are different: Your virtual card will usually have a different account number, security code, and expiration date.
  • The features vary: The features you get with virtual cards will depend on your card issuer.
  • Some are single-use only: A virtual number may be limited to a single transaction.
  • May be merchant-specific: A particular virtual number may be limited to transactions with a single merchant.
  • Might have spending limits: You can often set individual spending limits for each virtual card you create.
  • Purchases show up as normal: Any purchases or transactions you make will show up in your account as they normally would, although they may be tagged with the virtual number.
  • Returns shouldn’t be a hassle: Card issuers say that virtual card numbers shouldn’t cause problems when returning purchases made with them.

Virtual cards don’t come with any extra security measures compared to physical cards. They’re just an extra layer on top of the fraud protections you already have. The CARD Act limits your personal fraud liability to $50, and the major credit card issuers go even further by providing $0 liability policies.

A virtual card doesn’t give you anything more than that, but it does serve a bit like a first line of defense that you can easily replace. Thieves will get your disposable card details instead of your actual credit card details.

Using virtual card numbers could be a wise move if you’re making purchases from a website that you suspect is shady or unsecure.

Some credit card companies offer virtual credit cards, but not all. Keep reading to learn more and find out where you can get a virtual card number right now.

Insider tip

Are you looking for an instant card number you can use right after being approved? Jump down to read more about cards that you can use immediately.

When Should You Use Virtual Credit Card Numbers?

How secure do you feel when shopping online? Are you willing to give your real account details to any website you might make a purchase from?

Your answers probably depend on your temperament, and where you tend to shop. If you only make purchases from big, popular retailers, you can feel safe from scams but data breaches are still a threat. When it comes to smaller companies, which might have websites that seem cheap, shady, or scammy, it’s normal to feel more skeptical about the security of your private data.

Here are some situations in which you might want to use a virtual credit card, for security or otherwise:

  • Online shopping: You may want to use disposable credit cards for all your online purchases, just to be safe or for the convenience.
  • Subscription services: Say you only want to subscribe to Netflix for six months. Pay with a virtual card that will expire by then, and Netflix won’t be able to charge you after that date.
  • Convenience: If you use virtual numbers for online subscriptions and you lose your physical card, you won’t have to reset all that payment information when you get a new physical card number (for Capital One cardholders, and perhaps some other issuers).
  • Potentially risky websites: It might be easiest to only use virtual cards for websites or companies that seem shady, or with new businesses.
  • You’re worried about data breaches: Data breaches are all too common. But if hackers steal your virtual card number, you can just sigh in relief as you create a new one.
  • You’ve been a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud: If you’ve already gone through the worry and hassle of identity theft or credit card fraud, you might want to take extra steps to help prevent it from ever happening again.
  • Give your child a spending method: You can give your kids a virtual credit card with a spending limit, instead of handing over your actual card number.

Virtual Card Number Pros and Cons

Should you be using virtual account numbers? There aren’t many serious downsides, except in some rare occasions.

Pros

  • Added layer of security
  • No need to get a new physical card if the data is stolen
  • Convenient payment method
  • Easy to create and manage multiple virtual numbers
  • Some virtual account numbers can be used with some digital wallets

Cons

  • Only work for online or phone transactions (known as card not present transactions)
  • No extra fraud protections beyond the regular card features
  • May have trouble with returns (although VAN providers say returns should work normally, as long as you follow store and card policies)
  • Reservations made with credit cards, like hotels and car rentals, may require you to show the card when you arrive — impossible with virtual cards

Using Digital Wallets for Extra Card Security

Rather than giving you a virtual number to use, digital wallets store your card information in a (presumably) secure location. Then, a unique token is created whenever you make a purchase, and this is used instead of your real card information.

Digital wallets aren’t exactly virtual credit card services, but they have basically the same effect: They hide your real account details when making payments, by creating and using a one-time random number. You can only use these digital wallets with certain merchants, however.

Two networks and some credit card issuers provide digital wallets. A digital wallet may or may not also be a mobile wallet: an app you can use on your phone to make in-store purchases.

As you can see below, Mastercard Masterpass and Visa Checkout can be used with any of the major credit cards. So you can use either of these services with most credit cards. But a wallet provided by a credit card issuer can only be used with that issuer’s cards.

Insider tip

There are also digital wallets provided by other companies, like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

Digital Wallet Details
Mastercard Masterpass
  • Accepts Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover cards
Visa Checkout
  • Accepts Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover cards
Amex Express Checkout
Chase Pay
  • Discontinued as of 3/31/21

 

Mastercard Masterpass

Setup
Learn More
Details
    • Digital wallet service
    • Doesn’t provide VANs, but works in a similar way
    • Accepts Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover cards

The Masterpass digital wallet service can be used with any major credit card.

Quite a few merchants accept Masterpass, both online and in-store. Masterpass users will occasionally get special offers, like an extra $5 for loading at least $10 on your Dunkin’ Donuts DD card.

Look for the Masterpass logo to make purchases using this service, or check out the merchant directory in the table above.

The Masterpass logo at checkout.

The Masterpass logo at checkout.

Visa Checkout

Setup
Learn More
Details
  • Digital wallet service
  • Doesn’t provide VANs, but works in a similar way
  • Accepts Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover cards

The Visa Checkout service replaced the old V.me payment system. After signing up you can add cards from any of the major issuers, not just Visa cards.

Like Masterpass above, Visa Checkout users will occasionally see deals with particular merchants. A recent deal was $25 off a future order at Shutterfly after making a purchase from that company using Visa Checkout.

You can use Visa Checkout at a wide variety of merchants, which you’ll find linked in the table above. Click the Visa Checkout logo to use it for your purchase.

The Visa Checkout logo at checkout.

The Visa Checkout logo.

Amex Express Checkout

Setup
  • Automatic for Amex cardholders
Learn More
Details

Amex cardholders don’t need to sign up or register to use Amex Express Checkout.

Just click the logo when you checkout with a participating merchant, and you’ll be asked to provide your American Express login details. Then you can select the card you’d like to pay with.

The Amex Express Checkout logo.

The Amex Express Checkout logo. It’s not weird to order smiley strawberries for yourself.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express has quite a few good cards. Here are a few of its best.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Key Terms & Features

  • Global Lounge Collection: Enroll for complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get up to $15 in Uber Cash per month, plus a bonus $20 in December; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
  • $200 hotel credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits each year for prepaid hotels booked through The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts; must pay with the Platinum card.
  • $300 Equinox credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $300 in statement credits annually with Equinox (up to $25 per month), for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.
  • $240 digital entertainment credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $240 in statement credits annually for digital entertainment (up to $20 per month), only for eligible purchases from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
  • CLEAR credit: Up to $179 in statement credits annually for CLEAR biometric security, enough for a membership.
  • Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
  • Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties
  • $100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
  • Global Dining Access by Resy: Resy provides access to exclusive reservations and dining experiences.
  • Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $695

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

Read more in our Review of the Platinum Card from American Express

 

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR12.99%–23.99% Variable

The information related to Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Key Terms & Features

  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and with Amex Travel
  • 20% point bonus for making 20 or more purchases with the card per month
  • Purchase APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then 12.99%–23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Amex Everyday Credit Card

 

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Key Terms & Features

  • $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy hotel credit: Up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award: Every year after your account anniversary you’ll get a Free Night Award, good for redemption values of 50,000 points or less.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges for you and up to two guests (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every five years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 every four-and-a-half years)
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Includes perks like a 25% bonus on base points, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits towards a higher member status.
  • $100 property credit: Earn up to $100 in property credits when booking at least two nights direct with a special rate code at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis.
  • Bonus points for airline transfers: Get 15,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points transferred to airline programs
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)

Read more in our Review of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Chase Pay

Chase Pay has been discontinued for all cards and merchants as of 3/31/21.

Instant Credit Card Numbers

Need a credit card fast? Some card issuers provide instant credit card numbers that you can use immediately after being approved.

Not all issuers offer this service for all of their cards. American Express, Capital One, and USAA are the only issuers that provide it for all of their cards. Some other issuers provide it for some of their cards.

Instant card numbers are similar to virtual card numbers, but they’re not quite the same. Instant card account numbers are the same as the account numbers on their corresponding physical cards, while virtual account numbers are different than the account numbers on physical cards. So instant card numbers don’t offer the same kind of protection that virtual numbers do — you’ll be exposing your actual card details online when using instant card numbers.

There are several issuers that offer instant card numbers, at least for some of their cards:

  • American Express: You can get an instant card number after being approved if Amex can instantly verify your identity. The account number will be the same as your physical American Express card, but the other details may differ.
  • Bank of America: Three BofA airline credit cards will provide instant numbers if you apply while booking travel on their respective airline websites.
  • Capital One: Check your card details after being approved by logging in to Capital One’s mobile app.
  • Citi: Some of Citi’s co-branded cards are rumored to provide instant card numbers: the American Airlines, Costco, and AT&T cards.
  • USAA: Instant card numbers are provided for all cards, but credit lines are limited to $1,000 (the actual physical card will have your normal credit limit).

And there’s one other type of credit card that often provides instant card numbers:

  • Retail Store Credit Cards: Many store cards can be used immediately after approval — they’re often advertised at checkout counters, so you can use them for the purchase you’re making.

You can learn more about instant card numbers and find out how to get them here.

Insider tip

“Instant approval” cards are a separate but related concept. If you’re trying to get a new credit card as soon as possible, we suggest reading more about instant approval credit cards.

Virtual Prepaid Debit Card Services

There are quite a few other online services that mask, or hide, your payment information.

Some of them use prepaid virtual cards. These aren’t virtual credit cards — rather than having a line of credit, they’re tied to the specific fund that you deposit. They’re pretty much like digital versions of the prepaid cards you can buy at stores.

Other companies may use different methods. And they may be more or less secure, depending on the particular service.

Here are some of the more popular providers of virtual prepaid cards and payment masking services. Take note that we haven’t tested these companies, and we don’t vouch for their services in any way.

Insider tip

PayPal once offered a popular prepaid virtual debit card, but that product has been discontinued.

Service Details
Emburse
  • Made for businesses
  • Some fees apply
Netspend
  • Create virtual prepaid Visa cards or Mastercards
  • Some fees apply
Privacy
  • Must provide bank login details
  • Free
Samsung Pay Cash
  • Create virtual prepaid Mastercards to use where Samsung Pay is accepted
  • Free
SpectroCard
  • Create virtual or plastic prepaid Mastercards
  • Some fees apply
TangoCard
  • Create virtual gift cards for participating merchants
  • Free

Wrapping Up

Virtual credit card numbers can help keep you secure when shopping online or by phone. They don’t actually provide any extra fraud protections, but they act as an extra layer between you and fraudsters.

Consider using a virtual number if you’re making a payment to a potentially shady company or risky website. Or, if you want to take extra steps to maintain your privacy you can use virtual numbers for all of your online shopping.

If your card issuer doesn’t offer these disposable credit cards, think about using a digital wallet instead. You can go with Visa Checkout or Masterpass for almost any card.

Before entering your credit card information, stop and think: Do you feel confident sending your personal information to this company?

Now that you know how to stay secure when shopping online, find the right card for you with our Best Credit Card Picks.

Was this helpful?

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.

Scroll to top