All about Virtual cards


Along with the development of the Internet, there was a need to pay with cards on the network. This is quite convenient since you do not need to spend time going to the bank or to the terminal to complete the operation. Along with this, more and more cases of fraud began to appear, when attackers broke into cards and deducted all money from them. Based on such sad statistics, banks began to issue special cards for payment on the network, which is called virtual. These cards have almost all the same details as ordinary plastic, which are needed to complete a transaction. Their difference lies in the fact that they do not have a physical form and exist only virtually. Let us consider in more detail what a virtual MasterCard is, how it can be issued, and how to get it, its advantages and disadvantages, and its scope.


This is a special type of card product that is used only for transactions on the Internet. It is impossible to use such a card in everyday life in ordinary stores since it does not have a physical medium. However, now payment solutions for payment using a smartphone or smartwatches are actively developing. In these cases, you can use both ordinary plastic and virtual to make purchases.

By default, a virtual card is issued without a physical counterpart. Some banks produce additional plastic with an indication of the virtual card number, validity period, and CVV code on it. There are no other attributes on it, so you cannot use it for payment. Other banks issue a standard plastic card so that it can be used to credit money to a virtual account.

What details does the virtual card have?

  • Room. It is standard, consists of 16 digits, grouped in four.
  • Validity. As usual, a virtual card has its own validity period, after which it will not be possible to use it.
  • Name and surname of the owner. These data are indicated in Latin letters, sometimes they may be absent, and the card will be non-personalized.
  • CVV code. It is indicated in a three-digit format. On standard cards, it is printed on the back.

Thus, the virtual card contains all the necessary data to complete the operation.

Features of virtual cards.

These cards have a number of features, among which the following can be noted:

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  • They belong to the international payment system Visa or Mastercard.
  • Card type is debit only. In practice, banks have not yet issued virtual credit cards, so you can only spend your own funds deposited into your account.
  • Validity: from day to 2 years. If the card is issued only for one purchase, then immediately after debiting the money, it will already be invalid. Accordingly, it is no longer possible to replenish it and use it further. If the card is issued for reusable use, then all the functions inherent in ordinary plastic are also present in it: you can replenish, perform operations within the time period indicated on it (usually 1-2 years).
  • Issued in conjunction with the main or as an independent. A virtual card can be issued to a customer’s main card. In this case, the owner uses one for normal settlements, and the second for payment online. The score, in this case, will be one on two cards. If a card is issued as an independent, then it will no longer be tied to anything, and its own account will be opened.
  • Methods of ordering and receiving. You can order a virtual machine in your personal account or in a bank branch. It is released quickly, and you can use it on the same day. The waiting time between application and receipt can be several minutes.
  • Top up the balance. You can replenish the card through the personal account of Internet banking, through ATM devices (through the function “Top-up cards by number” or “Transfer from card to card”) or terminals, through electronic payment systems.
  • Setting limits. The owner of the virtual machine can set limits on expenses on it.

The benefits of a virtual card.

  • Universal properties. They are accepted for payment in almost all online stores. This distinguishes them from money systems that have an eternal problem with replenishment.
  • Convenient release. You can release a virtual machine without going to the office, for example, in your personal account, at an ATM. Due to the fact that the client does not need physical plastic, the card details are formed instantly.
  • Safe use. Using a virtual machine, you cannot transfer the details of your other cards to the network. It is possible to order a card with an amount for one purchase.
  • Anonymity. The presence of the owner’s name on the virtual machine is not required; therefore, the conclusion of a banking service agreement is not required. Disadvantages.
  • There are restrictions on limits, functions, the period of action.

·         Limited use (network only).

Thus, a virtual card is used only on the Internet. The presence of features such as security and speed of receipt, making it an indispensable tool for network users and fans of online shopping.

How does it work?

The principle of virtual bank cards is quite simple: it consists in providing, at the request of a customer, a full card number - unique number + expiry date + cryptogram -, different from that of his physical bank card. A virtual card, therefore, which can be generated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on a website or a mobile application.

These dematerialized cards are for single-use: once the payment has been made, their number is no longer valid. They can also be configured by the holder, who can choose the period of validity and limit the number of payments.

What’s the point?

All the banks that offer the service promote it in the same way: it is to make remote payments, online or by phone, more secure.

If the bank card is, by far, the most used means to pay for purchases in e-commerce, it is not necessarily the most suitable for this type of payment. Its use presents in particular risks of fraud. The information enabling a remote transaction to be carried out - the unique number + the expiry date + the 3-digit cryptogram - is indeed immutable, since it is engraved in the object itself, and can, therefore, be diverted and used for fraudulent payments. By providing an alternative single-use number, the virtual card helps to contain this risk.

The virtual card can, however, have other uses than simple online payment. Some consumers also use it to keep control over their digital subscriptions - Netflix, Spotify, etc. - or on their online shopping budget. Example: a consumer who wants to limit his Amazon budget to 1,000 euros per year can create a virtual card with a validity of 12 months with a payment limit of 1,000 euros, and register it on the site. -trade.

At a time when e-commerce has become widely democratized, where platforms have improved their security and where alternatives to bank cards are developing, do virtual cards still have a future? In any case, they are part of the paraphernalia of the services offered by several banks.


But the future of virtual bank cards also plays out in the new ways of paying.The Apple Card, which will be launched this summer in the United States, is thus above all a virtual card, intended to be housed in iPhones, its physical version being conceived only as an alternative to using in points of sale not still equipped for contactless mobile payment. The virtual card is a toolbox for other mobile payment services.