Consumers and businesses need ways to transact more securely in light of recent data breaches and the growing threat of ID theft and payment card fraud. Using virtual cards is one way to spend more securely and privately.
Virtual cards allow you to minimize the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) you share with places you buy at. Historically, virtual cards provided by banks have been difficult and clunky to transact with; however, new providers have made virtual cards simple and easy to use. We believe virtual credit cards and virtual debit cards are now valuable tools in protecting your privacy and security without compromising convenience.
A virtual card, sometimes called a temporary card number or anonymous card number, is a credit or debit card number that can be created through a website or mobile app, and does not come with a physical card. Virtual cards can be utilized for most online purchases to mask your personal and financial information. Oftentimes, you can set a maximum spend or charge limit on the virtual card to prevent yourself from being overcharged. Some virtual cards will also lock to a merchant to prevent the card from being used elsewhere if the merchant is breached.
A virtual card is a unique, 16-digit payment card number with a CVV and expiration date that is created instantly through a website or mobile app. Virtual cards function just like a credit or debit card but without the physical card, and can be used for online shopping, over the phone purchases, or any transaction that requires entering a card number.
Many users may think of virtual cards as burner cards that can be used for quick, one-time purchases. However, Privacy's virtual cards offer more enhanced security features and unlock more use cases than a simple burner card.
With Privacy Cards, you can set maximum spend limits on virtual cards to prevent being overcharged. Privacy Cards will also lock to a merchant to prevent the card from being used elsewhere if the merchant is breached. Lastly, Privacy's virtual cards can be paused or closed at any time, with just a few clicks.
You may wonder how to get virtual cards from a company like Privacy.com. The entire process is handled online. This means you don't have to fill out lengthy paper documents or go to a physical location in person. In addition, no credit check is required to open or use a Privacy account. Signing up for a virtual card service requires some personal information so that the virtual card issuer can complete a mandatory verification procedure called Know Your Customer (KYC) in accordance with anti-money laundering laws. You can learn more about how to get started using Privacy Cards on our website and blog.
Safety and security are very important to virtual card providers (after all, greater security is one of the main reasons users sign up for the service in the first place). For Privacy specifically, we undergo rigorous internal and third-party audits and hold ourselves to the same rigorous PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requirements as your bank or credit union.
Some virtual card providers charge fees for every card you create or a monthly fee to use their service. Other virtual card providers may also charge fees for each purchase made with the cards. In contrast, Privacy.com's core plan is completely free to use on all domestic purchases. We make money off of interchange - the fee that the merchant pays for accepting a debit or credit card - and we will never sell your personal data.
Privacy is currently available to US citizens or legal residents with a checking account at a US bank or credit union, and who are 18+ years of age. Unfortunately, we don't support international bank accounts or non-US users at this time. To get started, you can sign up for an account through our website or mobile app in as little as 3 minutes by providing some basic personal information (name, date of birth, valid phone number, valid email address, etc.) and securely linking a checking account for funding transactions.
We’re advised not to use the same password across multiple online accounts, so why risk storing the same credit or debit card number with merchants when you shop? Over 3,800 data breaches were reported in the first half of 2019 alone, exposing more than 4.1 billion records, according to the Cyber Risk Analytics’ MidYear Report.