Virtual cards are fast becoming a mainstream payment option for consumers and businesses alike. Initially developed to combat online fraud, virtual cards have proven to be a fast, convenient and secure way to pay.
What are virtual cards?
Virtual cards are prepaid cards that only exist digitally, created for a single or recurring use.
A single use virtual card means that the account number details expire after use, offering the highest level of security. A multi-use card allows the cardholder to reload funds and use the card until expiry.
How do virtual cards work?
Virtual cards are designed to work on all online transactions and accessible via email, mobile app and digital wallet. In the same way as a physical card, you simply enter the virtual card information in the checkout.
How are virtual cards different from physical cards?
Like physical cards, virtual cards have a card number, expiration date and CVV code. However, virtual cards add a layer of security in the way data is stored and used.
A physical card will print the card number, cardholder name, security code and expiration date, making it susceptible to misuse. On the other hand, virtual cards provide cardholders with randomly generated card numbers and different verification data each time you use it.
Another key difference is the speed of which you can access a virtual card. Virtual cards are issued instantly, which means you can activate and use it almost immediately. With physical cards, you will need to wait for the card to arrive in the mail.
What are some use case cases for virtual cards today?
If you can pay for it online, then you should be able to use a virtual card for the transaction. Consumers and businesses can leverage virtual cards for business expenses, commercial payments, subscriptions and even personal online shopping.
What are the key benefits of virtual cards?
Security is the first and foremost benefit of virtual cards over physical cards. Virtual cards also provide a unique advantage to:
- Streamline payments for vendors and customers, increasing speed of payments and reducing administrative costs.
- Improve access to payments for employees, contractors and consumers.
- Improve accountability and ease of reconciliation for businesses.
Learn more about the benefits of virtual cards for businesses in our other blog.
How do virtual cards work with digital wallets?
The rising popularity of digital wallets like Apple, Google and Samsung Pay means that you can access and manage virtual cards more readily than ever. In the same way you can add eligible debit, credit and prepaid cards to your digital wallet, you can also add virtual cards as a payment option.