Privacy Virtual Cards
Spending Limits

Set a spending limit and Privacy will decline any transactions that go over the limit

Merchant-Locked Cards

Lock Privacy Cards to the first merchant they’re used at to prevent misuse if stolen

Single-Use Cards

Create Privacy Cards that close automatically after the first purchase is made on them

Pause/Close Cards

Pause or close your Privacy Cards at any time to block future transaction attempts

Sign Up For Privacy Now

Credit Karma Virtual Card—Credit Karma’s Instant Access Solution

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Oct 24, 2023
 Min Read

Until recently, the only way you could access your funds after applying for a new payment card was by waiting for the physical card to arrive in the mail. Realizing how inconvenient that was for the applicant, many card issuers have introduced temporary solutions to allow customers quicker use of their new accounts.

For instance, when you open an online checking or savings account at Credit Karma, you can get instant access to it via a digital wallet while waiting for the plastic debit card to be delivered[1].

This article will explore the Credit Karma virtual card feature and explain:

  • What it is
  • How to enable it
  • How to use it

The information in this article was sourced in September 2023. For updates, visit the official Credit Karma website or contact the company directly.

Source: Mohamed_hassan

About the Credit Karma Virtual Card

Although the solution from Credit Karma is referred to as a virtual card, it’s important to differentiate it from another similar payment method with the same name. 

Virtual cards are generated card numbers that are connected to a real funding source, such as a debit card or bank account, but mask that information during transactions to protect it in case of a data breach on the merchant’s servers. However, the term “virtual card” is often used to refer to any digital payment solution. 

What’s sometimes referred to as the Credit Karma virtual card is not a virtual card per se but rather an option to connect the account to a digital wallet. The feature allows Credit Karma customers to access their newly opened account while waiting for the delivery of the physical card, which can take anywhere from 7 to 14 business days[1]. The feature is currently available with the following accounts:

  1. Credit Karma Money™ Spend—checking account[2]
  2. Credit Karma Money™ Save—savings account[2]

Users can access their accounts by setting up a virtual card with a digital wallet[1], which is an app that allows users to securely store their financial information and use it for online or in-store purchases. Besides enhancing security, digital wallets make transactions more convenient, enabling users to pay with their smartphone or smartwatch at checkout terminals. Digital wallets are not accepted everywhere, so the user should check with the merchant to confirm they can pay with their Credit Karma digital card.

How To Get the Credit Karma Virtual Card

After opening an account with Credit Karma, the user needs to fund it before connecting it to a digital wallet[1]. They can do so by[3]:

  • Transferring funds from another Credit Karma account or a linked external account
  • Depositing a check via the Credit Karma Mobile app
  • Making a direct deposit using routing and account numbers
  • Making an ACH transfer from an external source

To access the virtual card feature, the user should[2]:

  1. Launch the Credit Karma Mobile app
  2. Go to their account settings
  3. Navigate to the Debit cards & ATM settings page
  4. Find the option to connect the account to a digital wallet

At the moment, the available digital wallet options are Google Pay™ and Apple Pay®[2]. The integration process differs slightly depending on the app, so the user should follow the on-screen instructions to complete it. They will likely need to verify their identity via a one-time passcode or another authentication method.

Source: Jonas Leupe

How To Use the Credit Karma Virtual Card

Once the digital wallet has been set up with the Credit Karma account, the user can make purchases online or at a physical location that accepts this type of payment. The following table sums up what the process typically entails:

Online/In-app In-store
1. To find out if Google Pay or Apple Pay are accepted, the user should look for the respective options at checkout and select the one they want[5].

2. If asked, they’ll need to choose a payment method and provide shipping details[4][5].

3. After reviewing the information, they should confirm the payment[4].

4. They may also need to authenticate the transaction via a passcode, fingerprint scan, or another method[5].
1. The user should first check if the merchant accepts digital wallet payments. Stores that accept them typically display the Contactless Symbol or a logo of one of the digital wallets on their payment terminals.

2. Once the merchant initiates the payment, the user should unlock their phone and access the digital wallet app[5][6]

3. If needed, they should also choose the card they want to use[5].

4. Finally, the user should hold their mobile device a few inches over the payment terminal until they see a checkmark on the screen[5][6].

The Limitations of Digital Wallets

Source: Dylan Gillis

Digital wallets make purchases more convenient and enable users to access their Credit Karma accounts instantly after opening them. Still, this payment method comes with a few disadvantages. For example, despite their increasing popularity, digital wallets are still not as widely accepted as standard payment cards are.

Compared to payments made directly with a credit or debit card, digital wallet transactions are far more secure as the payment information is encrypted and tokenized, which means your actual card or account numbers are not stored within the digital wallet. However, if the user loses their phone, they could lose access to the digital wallet unless they can reach it from a computer or another source. 

Some criminals may also figure out how to use the lost phone to make fraudulent transactions. For this reason, cards loaded onto digital wallets can’t match the security of actual virtual cards, which generate unique and random card numbers for transactions.

While Credit Karma doesn’t offer virtual cards in their true definition, you can alternatively get them from independent virtual card providers like Privacy. Privacy is bank-agnostic and can be linked to most U.S. banks’ checking accounts and debit cards. The provider’s virtual cards are issued by Visa® or Mastercard®, and you can use them at most merchants that accept U.S. debit or credit cards. Privacy Virtual Cards also come with additional features and customization options to give you more control over your spending.

Privacy—Where Security Meets Convenience

Privacy will help you make shopping online a safer and more streamlined experience. The company is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, BBB®-accredited, and maintains the same security standards as any reputable bank. With split-key encryption and password hashing with 100,000 iterations, Privacy increases the safety of your transactions and financial data.

Besides protecting you, Privacy Virtual Cards make checkouts faster. By downloading the Privacy browser extension, you can have card details auto-completed into the checkout fields, allowing you to make spontaneous purchases without having to reach for your wallet or memorize card numbers. The extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. The Safari extension also has a mobile version that can be used on iPhones and iPads.

If you want to create and manage cards on the go, get Privacy’s mobile app for Android or iOS. You can also opt to receive a push notification and email each time your virtual card is used or declined.

A photo of a person browsing an e-commerce store while holding a payment card
Source: PhotoMIX-Company

Privacy Gives You Full Control Over Your Transactions

With Privacy, you get access to numerous features and card settings:

How It Works 
How It Benefits You
Single-Use Card This virtual card becomes invalid shortly after the first transaction. 
Even if hackers manage to get hold of the virtual card number, they won’t be able to misuse it. This card type is an excellent choice when you’re buying from a merchant for the first time and are unsure of their credibility.
Merchant-Locked Card This virtual card locks to the first merchant you use it at. 
If the card number becomes compromised, hackers won’t be able to use it anywhere else. This card is ideal for recurring payments, such as bills and subscriptions, and merchants you shop at frequently.
Card pausing/unpausing and closing You can pause, unpause, or close virtual cards without affecting your real debit card or bank account.
Privacy will decline all charge attempts on the paused or closed card, preventing hidden fees and other unexpected charges from merchants. You can use this feature to prevent a subscription service from charging you while you’re attempting to cancel.
Spending limits
You can set spending limits on your cards. 
Limits help with money management and prevent merchants from charging you more than you’ve agreed to.

Privacy—Pricing Model

Privacy offers three pricing plans to suit different budgets and spending habits. The Personal plan is free for domestic purchases and allows you to generate 12 virtual cards a month. The plan also includes access to the web app, mobile app, and web and mobile browser extensions, as well as the card controls mentioned above.

Paid plans—Pro ($10/month) and Premium ($25/month)—provide up to 60 cards monthly and additional features, including:

  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • 1% cashback on certain transactions (up to $4,500 a month)
  • Ability to mask transaction info on bank statements
  • Priority support
  • Dedicated account management (Premium)

Get Privacy Virtual Cards and Elevate Your Online Security

Follow these four simple steps to try Privacy Virtual Cards:

  1. Create an account
  2. Provide the information needed to verify your identity
  3. Connect a funding source (bank account or debit card)
  4. Request Privacy Virtual Cards

U.S. residents over 18 years old with a checking account at a U.S. bank or credit union are eligible to request Privacy Virtual Cards.


[1] Credit Karma., sourced September 2023
[2] Credit Karma., sourced September 2023 
[3] Credit Karma., sourced September 2023 
[4] Google. Pay on an App or Website., sourced September 2023
[5] Apple Pay. Make Purchases Using Apple Pay., sourced September 2023
[6] Google. Where & How To Use Google Pay in Stores., sourced September 2023
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
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