Virtual Credit Cards: A Cure for Credit Card Identity Theft
Millions of people around the world have become victims of identity theft. Because of this, consumers have become cautious about protecting their personal information, including their credit card numbers. In order to avoid becoming victims of identity theft, there is an option available for you – virtual credit cards for shopping in a virtual world.
Virtual cards contain a set of numbers to replace your real card numbers. The replacement numbers are used to make purchases online. Sometimes, replacement numbers are termed “single-use card numbers.”
At present, credit card companies Discover, Citibank and MBNA offer these services. Discover’s program is called “Deskshop.” That of Citibank is called “Virtual Account Numbers.” MBNA’s protection program is called “SafeShop.” Currently, these companies offer the program for free. They simply want to offer you some “peace of mind.” You can just sign up at the card company’s website where you will receive a computer generated, 16-digit number as your replacement numbers.
Virtual cards work much the same as do regular credit cards. However, it has several distinguishing features.
You can set up your spending limit using the virtual one because it works like a prepaid card.
There is minimal possibility that your plastic may be used fraudulently because a new number is issued to you every time you use it.
You have the option to set an expiration date provided it doesn’t go beyond the expiration date of your real one.
Only you, the holder and the issuer have access to the real numbers.
In spite of the convenience offered by virtual cards, they do not come without drawbacks. Some of the more common problems associated with these cards are as follows:
They cannot be used for offline transactions.
They have limited use for online purchases since you will be required to show the real credit card to complete certain transactions.
They have relatively short expiration dates.
Processing of transactions using the virtual card is slower compared with using the real one.
Virtual cards can be used for transactions where the real cards are accepted. These transactions include online shopping, online bills paying, shopping by mail, and shopping by phone. However, you have to remember that you will be required to show the real card once you pick up your orders.
Credit cards are just one of the most vulnerable areas for identity thieves to strike. Thanks to virtual credit cards; they have become a virtual reality where you can have protection and virtual prepaid card peace of mind while enjoying the convenience of online shopping.