Where To Get an Online Bank Account With an Instant Virtual Debit Card
Virtual cards have experienced a surge in popularity lately, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. The global virtual cards market, valued at $13.31 billion in 2022, is projected to expand significantly by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9%.
Virtual cards offer security and convenience for the user, contributing to their growth in recent years. Having recognized the many benefits of virtual cards and their favorability among consumers and businesses, more and more banks and fintech companies are starting to issue them.
To navigate all the available choices more confidently and find an online bank account with an instant virtual debit card that works for you, read this comprehensive guide. It will explore:
- The basics of virtual cards
- Factors to consider when choosing a virtual card provider
- The most prominent virtual card options today
What Are Virtual Cards?
A virtual card is a payment card in digital form with a unique card number, expiration date, and a security code. It’s connected to a real funding source, but it masks your actual card or bank details with randomly generated numbers to protect them during transactions. In case a hacker breaches the servers of a merchant you shopped at, they can only access the virtual card number.
How To Pick a Virtual Card Provider
To find the right virtual card provider for yourself, look out for these four factors:
- Reputation and security—You should ensure the virtual card provider is trustworthy by reading verified user reviews. It is also important to check whether the provider offers robust security features, including two-factor authentication (2FA) and fraud protection.
- Card controls—The virtual card provider should enable you to generate different types of cards, such as single-use and multi-use cards. Ideally, you should be able to pause or close the cards and adjust their settings, including spending limits.
- Ease of use—The service should be user-friendly, allowing both new and experienced users to create and use virtual cards effortlessly. It should also be accessible on various devices.
- Pricing and fees—The provider’s pricing model should be transparent and compatible with your budget.
Virtual Card Providers—Five Options To Consider
Based on the above-listed criteria, these are some of the most reliable virtual card providers today:
- American Express®
The provided information is current as of September 2023. Visit the issuers’ official websites or contact them directly for the latest updates.
Wise—The Instant Wise Digital Card
Wise is a U.K.-based fintech company specializing in international payment transfer. It currently supports 40 currencies across 160 countries. With a Wise account, users can:
- Send money abroad without paying a hefty fee, as well as receive it fee-free
- Hold and manage funds in multiple currencies
- Convert currency at a favorable mid-market rate and with low conversion fees
Those with a Wise business account get access to additional features such as batch pay, administration controls, and integration with popular accounting software.
Wise also offers users the possibility of using an instant virtual debit card, which the company calls the Wise digital card. At the moment, the feature is not available for U.S.-based personal accounts, but users who live in the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Switzerland, Canada, Brazil or EEA can get a Wise digital card with a personal Wise account.
Features and Security
The Wise digital card gives users the same features as the physical Wise card, but it exists only in digital form, allowing access via computer or mobile. Users can set default or maximum spending limits for the card in their Wise account settings.
Each user can have up to three Wise digital cards at a time, which can be used for online payments or added to one of the following digital wallets for contactless in-store payments:
- Apple Pay®
- Google Pay™
- Samsung Pay
- Fitbit Pay™
- Garmin Pay™
Some of the most notable security features include the ability to freeze virtual cards after each purchase, two-factor authentication, and a 24/7 fraud team support.
Setup and Pricing
To get the Wise digital cards, the user first needs to create a Wise account and order the Wise card, which is a prepaid debit card. They don’t have to wait for it to arrive in the mail, though—they can start using the virtual cards instantly.
After ordering the physical card, the user can request the digital card through their Wise account via the app or the website. No activation or PIN is required, but the user must add funds to the card by transferring it through the bank.
The digital card feature is free to use for personal or business Wise account owners (except for users from Japan or the U.S.—they are not eligible for the feature).
Pros and Cons
The following table sums up the advantages and disadvantages of the Wise digital card: