Often referred to as a “virtual” or “disposable” credit card number, this temporary option can give you more protection from hackers and identity thieves when shopping. Many consumers are unaware of this service that several of the larger credit card companies offer. If you want to make your online shopping experience a little more secure, here is some information on virtual credit card numbers, and how and when to use one.
What is a Virtual Credit Card Number
A virtual credit card number is a temporary and disposable number that is different from the one on your actual card. However, you can use this temporary number to make purchases using that account. There is typically a limit on the amount you can spend, and how long the virtual number will last. These terms are determined once you speak to your creditor about obtaining the temporary number. It can be set to last for one purchase, or only be usable at one retailer, etc.
When to Use a Virtual Credit Card Number
You can use a temporary credit card number for online or over-the-phone purchases. However, in any purchase where you will need to show your card, you should not use a temporary number since it will not match the number on your card. Be sure to keep your receipts, as returns and refunds can be tricky with temporary credit card numbers.
How to Get a Virtual Credit Card Number
Contact your credit card issuer to find out if they offer this service. Different companies may have different processes for obtaining a temporary number.