Credit cards have become a convenient payment method all over the world. Especially online, many providers prefer credit cards over debit, on-account business or time-consuming bank transfers. Virtual credit cards simplify the process even more without compromising security. But: finding the best virtual credit card can be hard, though. That is why we have compiled useful tips and a list of fair deals, so you can choose a provider which suits you and your individual situation.
What is a virtual credit card?
As the name suggests, a virtual credit card is a digital credit card, meaning it does not physically exist as a piece of plastic with a number and a magnetic stripe. Instead, you simply get a credit card number, a validation code and a validity date.
With this information, you can start shopping online right away. You can also save it as a payment method on your phone to have it at your fingertips at all times. This comes in handy when you do not want to bring a wallet, as you can pay with your phone. Besides the convenience, virtual credit cards are also a secure payment method. Your data is always safe and even in the unlikely event that your card details are compromised, you can deactivate the card immediately without shutting down the credit card account.
Which types of virtual cards are there?
There are different types of virtual cards to consider. Some require credit to be added to the card in advance (prepaid), others are linked directly to the bank account (debit) and also include a monthly spending limit (credit). It is best to choose the right fit before going further with a service provider.
Virtual credit card
A virtual credit card is the digital equivalent of a physical credit card with a certain limit for the month. The bank or you can select a credit line, and you will have to take care of payment within the agreed period. Otherwise, interest will apply. This type of virtual credit card usually requires a prior risk assessment. Therefore, not all applicants qualify for this payment method.
Virtual debit card
If you would like to avoid risk assessment and instead use a virtual card without a credit line, a virtual debit card is right for you. When shopping, the connected bank account will be charged and the money will be deducted from your savings right away. Many providers offer unlimited virtual debit cards. This way, you can use one card for every website or service and never lose track of your payments—even the recurring ones.
Virtual prepaid card
A virtual prepaid card is ideal for one-time payments. Those burner cards can also be handed to people that are asked to buy or book online for you, as they only contain a certain amount that you chose to top up beforehand. Once it is empty, it can only be used again when more money is added.
What are the benefits of a virtual credit card?
Virtual credit cards have one considerable benefit: They are very safe to use. You can’t lose them like plastic cards and with the help of a useful app, you can create or deactivate them as you wish. Another great feature is to set a spending allowance or limit them to a certain use case. Moreover, you can keep your account details from others. Even if data breaches occur, your card info is safe.
The best virtual credit cards therefore are:
- convenient to use
- help you budget and save money
- great for managing subscriptions and recurring online payments
- paired with the best virtual credit card apps
- created or deactivated within seconds
What speaks against a virtual credit card?
Unlike the classic credit card, the virtual credit card usually cannot be used when shopping onsite. Your only option to shop offline in selected stores: connect the virtual credit card with your phone or a smartwatch.
If a restaurant or store supports contactless payments, it is possible to purchase with the digital equivalent of a credit card. It is also important to notice that cash withdrawals are not possible with a virtual credit card.
The best virtual credit cards compared
Finding the best virtual card providers can be a challenging task. That is why we have compiled a list that can help you choose the right product for your needs and financial situation with a view to private use. This list is followed by the best credit card solution for businesses.
The best virtual credit card in the UK? In that respect, Revolut is close to perfect for private use, as users do not necessarily have to pay for using a disposable virtual card with them. Therefore, praise is well deserved, considering these features:
- The basic card and account are free, disposable virtual cards included
- Premium account for £6.99 a month, metal account is £12.99 a month
- You can open an account within minutes via the app
- Push notifications for payments
- Manage recurring payments
- For premium account users: Free insurance on purchases for up to £1000 per year, travel insurance
- Metal account users also get cashback on purchases
Apple has also launched its own virtual card. Especially people who already use an iPhone enjoy a great user experience—with three credit card numbers in one Apple Card. There is a secured number for Apple Wallet, a number for an optional physical card and a virtual credit card for online shopping or shops which do not support Apple Pay. But the greatest feature might be Apple’s promise to instantly deliver a free replacement number in the unlikely case your virtual credit card number is compromised. Due to the fact that Apple Wallet and your physical card use separate card numbers, a change has no effect on those payment methods. That is why Apple Card might be the best virtual credit card service for Apple users.
- Strong security features
- No fees apply
- Physical credit card
- Useful spending management features
- Strongly interwoven with Apple Pay
Skrill offers a virtual prepaid card that also works as a Mastercard. Users can choose an account level based on their needs and desired rewards, and even ask for a physical card with a top-tier account.
- Activate or cancel cards anytime with the help of their app
- Card validity is flexible
- Virtual cards are restricted to online shopping
- Great for buying and selling cryptocurrency
- Transactions from and to your bank account is free
- Cashback function
With Monese, you can choose a physical card and then create a virtual card. Your expenses, limits and other settings can easily be managed in the respective app.
- Within the UK, payments and transfers are free
- Manage recurring payments
- International money transfer feature
- Budgeting tools for saving, recording expenses and categorising
- Withdrawal with the physical card
- Safe app use thanks to Face ID, Touch ID and one-time codes
Conclusion: The best virtual credit card must suit your individual needs
The best virtual credit card is one that gives its users flexibility without compromising their security while shopping online. That is why it is crucial to also check the respective app of each provider. Which features are included, how smooth is the app running, and how much does the service cost you? You also have to factor in your personal situation. Are you willing to let a bank do a prior risk assessment to receive credit, or are you fine with using a virtual debit card or even a prepaid method?
Moss provides virtual credit cards for businesses
At Moss, we offer our clients an unlimited amount of corporate cards to help them manage their business expenses in a digital and efficient way. They link their bank account to our spending solution to avoid running into inconvenient issues with insufficient balance. In addition, when using Moss Credit, you get a strong credit limit and attractive payment terms on top. Depending on their location and their personal needs and financial situation, the possibility to choose between Moss Debit and Moss Credit is a strong feature for every business.
The features of Moss Credit and Moss Debit in short:
|Moss Credit||Moss Debit|
|A spending limit of up to £1 million per month||Quickstart without risk assessment|
|Attractive payment options of up to 60 days||Just top up your wallet and start spending|
|Real Mastercard with worldwide acceptance||Real Mastercard with worldwide acceptance|
The company cards by Moss also simplify corporate expense management. The platform makes it possible to keep track of business transactions and optimise the company’s liquidity. With the simplified invoice management, all employees can digitally upload invoices, pre-account them and release them for payment.
Thanks to the Xero interface, they can be transferred immediately to the accounting software. This saves plenty of time and resources and therefore can function as an essential asset for managers, finance teams and accounting.
A virtual credit card is very similar to a classic credit card, but the difference is that it is only available digitally, not in physical form. This allows users to produce it within seconds and in larger quantities. Especially for companies, virtual credit cards can be a great benefit.
Unless it is a prepaid card, both virtual debit and credit cards are linked to your bank account. The difference is that credit cards usually also have a spending limit and attractive payment options that allow more flexibility in managing your expenses.
A virtual credit card is perfect for shopping online, for example when booking a flight or paying for tools, subscriptions and more. Some stores and service providers that accept contactless payment also are fine with a virtual credit card, but you should always check in with them first.
Compared to the classic credit card, the virtual credit card is ready for use immediately after creation, as there is no wait for the physical card to be produced and shipped. The virtual credit card is very safe to use and gives the card holder much flexibility in terms of their spending management.
Revolut offers great features and management options in their app for private use. Individuals can set limits, track their spending habits and much more. Companies in need of several virtual cards (credit and/or debit) can partner up with Moss to use our convenient payment solutions and smart accounting support features.
Depending on which features suit the individual situation of a person or a company, virtual cards can be linked to a bank account, can come with a credit line or do not necessarily require prior risk assessment. Currency conversion allows using it in other countries without added fees.