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Key Information About the Citi Virtual Credit Card

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Oct 18, 2023
 Min Read

Amidst the rising threat of data breaches and payment card fraud, virtual cards have grown more popular than ever. According to Juniper Research, the total volume of virtual card transactions surpassed 28 billion globally in 2022 and is expected to rise to 120 billion by 2027.

Although many people have learned about virtual cards only recently, Citi jumped on the bandwagon a decade ago with their Virtual Account Numbers (VAN).

This article will explore the Citi virtual credit card, particularly:

  • What features it offers
  • How to get one
  • What limitations it entails

The information in this article is valid as of September 2023. The offer and terms and conditions of use are subject to change. For the most recent updates, visit Citi’s official website or contact customer support directly.

Citi Virtual Credit Card—Basics

A virtual card is a digital payment card with a randomly generated card number, security code, and expiration date. It’s connected to a funding source, such as a credit or debit card, but masks that information during online or over-the-phone transactions, protecting it in case the merchant suffers a data breach.

The Citi virtual credit card is called the Virtual Account Number (VAN). At the moment, Citi’s virtual card feature is free[2], but it’s available only with specific cards[1]. Citi hasn’t provided an official list of eligible cards, so users who already have a Citi card and want to check their eligibility can do so by logging in or registering on Citi’s online portal[1]

A purchase made with the Virtual Account Number will appear on the user’s monthly statement along with the specific card number used[1].

A photo of a Citibank branch office
Source: Declan Sun

Citi Virtual Credit Card—Features

The Citi Virtual Account Number comes with the following features:

  • Unlimited cards–Eligible users can generate as many Virtual Account Numbers as they need[2].
  • Daily spending limits–Users can set a daily spending limit for every Virtual Account Number, and Citi will decline all exceeding transactions[2]. Each day, the limit automatically resets to the amount previously chosen by the user[2].
  • Card expiration–Users can set the expiration date for their Virtual Account Number when creating it or update the information later[2]. The maximum expiration period is two years[2]. If a card expires, the date will turn red, indicating to the user that they need to either extend the expiration date or deactivate the card[2].

How To Get and Use a Virtual Credit Card From Citi

To be able to access Virtual Card Numbers at Citibank, the user must already own an eligible card[1]. They can activate the feature by logging into their Citi account, selecting the “Enroll In/Get” option on the Virtual Accounts Number page, and following the provided instructions[1].

When it comes to generating virtual credit cards, the process is straightforward[3]. The user needs to be logged into the portal and, if they have multiple credit cards, choose the one they’d like to create a virtual card for[3]. Before confirming their choice, the user will be asked to set a custom spending limit and expiration date for their virtual card[3].

The Virtual Account Number can be used as soon as it’s created and deleted when it’s no longer needed[3]. To pay with the Virtual Account Number, the user can copy it by clicking on the “Copy” button next to the card number and then paste it into the designated field on the payment screen[2]. The expiration date and CVV have to be entered manually[2]. If the cardholder wants to transact using one of their existing virtual cards, they can find the details in the Virtual Account Number Dashboard[2].

Source: Christin Hume

Citi Virtual Credit Card—Limitations

Although useful overall, Citi’s Virtual Account Numbers come with a few drawbacks:

  • Card deactivation—Once the user replaces their credit card, the Virtual Account Numbers associated with that card will be deactivated and removed from the account[2]. However, the user can request new virtual cards if their replacement card is also eligible[2]
  • Manual checkouts—Although Citi had an autofill option before[4], users currently have to copy card details from their account and then paste them on the payment page[2]
  • Eligibility—Since not all Citi cards are eligible for a Virtual Account Number, some users may have to look for alternative ways to access the virtual card service.

If you’re already an eligible Citi credit cardholder, Virtual Account Numbers can be a valuable and cost-effective option. However, if you don’t own an eligible Citi card, you may be able to access virtual cards easily with an independent provider such as Privacy. Not only is Privacy compatible with most U.S. banks, but it also offers robust security combined with comprehensive control and card management features.

Privacy Virtual Cards—Security and Convenience at Your Fingertips

In the age of rising card fraud, having a reliable solution like Privacy is paramount. Privacy Virtual Cards form an integral layer of security around your online transactions, protecting your financial information from online dangers. Besides being secure, Privacy Cards provide numerous control features and card customization options, enabling you to manage your expenses and keep track of your budget more effectively.

Privacy Virtual Cards are issued by Visa® or Mastercard®, so you can use them to shop at most merchants that accept U.S. debit or credit card payments

Source: salcapolupo

What Makes Privacy Stand Out

With Privacy Virtual Cards, you can enjoy the following benefits, among many others:

  1. Fast and seamless checkouts
  2. Various card controls
  3. Virtual cards on the go
  4. State-of-the-art security
  5. 1Password integration
  6. Anywhere from 12 to 60 cards a month, depending on your plan

Fast and Seamless Checkouts

Privacy’s browser extension autofills virtual card details for you at checkout. It allows you to select one of the existing cards or generate new ones on the spot, enabling fast and spontaneous purchases. You don’t have to memorize card numbers or enter them yourself. Currently, Privacy extension supports the following desktop browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Firefox
  3. Safari
  4. Edge

Privacy’s Safari extension is also available for iOS, enabling much faster checkouts for users who prefer to shop on mobile.

Various Card Control Features

Privacy offers two main types of virtual cards that can be used for different purposes. Learn about their differences in the table below:

Merchant-Locked Card Single-Use Card
- This type of card can be used with only one merchant repeatedly.
- It limits the risk of misuse in case a hacker manages to steal the card numbers, as they can’t be used at another merchant.
- You can use this type of card for recurring payments, such as bills and subscriptions, and merchants you shop at frequently.
- This card can be used for only one purchase.
- A Single-Use Card becomes invalid shortly after the first transaction, making it useless to potential hackers. 
- This card is perfect for shopping on websites whose security practices you’re unsure of.

With Privacy Virtual Cards, you can also:

  • Set spending limits—To control how much merchants can charge you, set account-level or card-level spending limits. Besides preventing overcharging, the limits will help you stay on budget.
  • Close, pause, and unpause cards—You can permanently or temporarily close any of your virtual cards, and Privacy will block all subsequent charges. This feature can help block hidden subscription fees or prevent further charges while your subscription cancellation request is being processed.

Virtual Cards on the Go

Privacy’s iOS and Android mobile app give you access to your Privacy account and features wherever you are. You can create and manage cards on the go and receive push notifications whenever your card is used or declined. The alerts help you detect suspicious activity and act on it timely.

A close-up photo of a person using a smartphone with both hands
Source: Priscilla Du Preez

State-of-the-Art Security

Privacy holds the BBB® accreditation and follows the same PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) protocols that reliable banks and credit unions do. It also undergoes internal and third-party audits to ensure ongoing compliance and improvement. 

Some of Privacy’s security measures include:

  • Split-key encryption with an aggressive biannual key rotation schedule
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption protocol to protect your data in transit
  • Passwords hashing using PBKDF2 with 100,000 iterations
  • Server firewalls and regular security patch updates
  • User identity verification via two-factor authentication and One-Time Passcodes

1Password Integration

Privacy integrates with 1Password, a well-known password manager, giving you a safe place to store and access all your login credentials and payment information.

Anywhere From 12 to 60 Cards a Month, Depending on Your Plan

With Privacy’s basic plan (free for domestic purchases), you can:

  • Generate up to 12 virtual cards monthly
  • Access the browser extensions and app
  • Pause/close cards and set spending limits

By opting for one of the higher plans, Pro ($10/month) or Premium ($25/month), you’ll get additional features like:

  • Up to 36 or 60 virtual cards per month
  • Priority support
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 1% cashback on eligible purchases (totaling up to $4,500 a month)
  • Ability to mask transaction details on bank statements
  • Dedicated account management (Premium)

Start Securing Your Transactions With Privacy

If you’d like to give Privacy a try, follow these four simple steps:

  1. Sign up
  2. Enter the information required to verify your identity
  3. Link a funding source (debit card or bank account)
  4. Request a Privacy Virtual Card

Unlike with most traditional banks, Privacy’s application process takes place online and entails no credit check or paperwork, so you can start using your virtual cards immediately.

U.S. residents over 18 with a checking account at a U.S. bank or credit union are eligible to sign up for Privacy Virtual Cards.


[1] Citi., sourced September 2023
[2] Citi. Help Center & FAQs.;search=virtual?helpcenter=true, sourced September 2023
[3] Forbes., September 13, 2023
[4] YouTube. Citi: Using Citi's Virtual Account Number (VAN)., November 22, 2013

Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
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Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
Sign Up
Privacy virtual cards
Spending Limits

Set a spending limit, and Privacy will block all charges that go over the limit

Merchant-Locked Cards

Lock your Privacy card to one merchant you frequently shop from

Single-Use Cards

Secure your one-time payments to websites whose trust worthiness you're unsure of

Pause/Close Cards

By pausing or closing a card, Privacy will block all future transactions

Get a Privacy Card Now
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
Sign Up
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Sign Up