Digitalization is changing the way we see the world and go about our business. Many items, such as bank cards, are now available online. Here we tell you all about virtual cards and how they’re revolutionizing payments.

We usually associate a long number, expiry date and card verification value (CVV) with physical bank cards; but virtual cards have them, too. All in all, they’re not so different from their plastic counterparts.

However, they only exist online, stored in a virtual wallet. While they’re emerging as a popular choice for buying products online, consumers can also use them in stores that accept contactless payments. 

Banks offer different types of virtual cards: prepaid, where users charge a set amount with their digital banking app, at an ATM or in-branch; and debit or credit cards linked to a current account.

Understanding the difference between virtual and digital cards is crucial. Digital cards are the online replica of our debit or credit card, which we keep in our virtual wallet to use in the same way as a plastic card.

What are disposable virtual cards?

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A virtual card that generates a temporary long number, CVV and other details that expire after we use them.

What are the benefits of virtual cards?

For millions of people, the Internet is essential for communicating, working, and paying for goods and services. According to Eurostat, 60% of 16- to 74-year-olds in the EU made a reservation or paid for things online in 2019.

Some of those purchases came from virtual cards, with benefits like:

  • Convenience: Consumers have them on their smartphones instead of having to carry plastic cards.
  • Security: They have the necessary protection to make purchases watertight. Managing them on digital banking apps is simple and secure, and we can even “turn them off”. Also, they can't be misplaced. 
  • Cost: The issuer saves on materials, production and mailing (which helps make the planet more sustainable), and consumers save on issuance and maintenance fees (although it’s best to check terms and conditions first). 

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