Is This the Safest Way to Shop Online?

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  • Shopping online is a regular activity for many people.
  • If you use your physical credit card details to pay for online orders, you put your payment information at risk of being stolen.
  • Virtual credit cards offer a more secure way to make payments online and can help you avoid fraudulent charges.

Virtual credit card numbers are easy to use and provide added protection online.

Many of us regularly shop online. Whether you shop for gifts, clothing, or household essentials, you must pay for your order during the checkout process. Using credit cards is an excellent way to conveniently pay for purchases and earn rewards. But you can use your credit card in a more secure way by opting to use virtual credit card numbers. Here's how they work and how they can help you protect yourself.

Introducing virtual credit cards

Virtual credit cards offer an extra layer of protection when shopping online. Some card issuers allow you to use virtual credit card numbers. You'll be using the same credit card account you usually use but will instead enter a virtual number generated by your card issuer.

You can use a virtual credit card number to pay for a transaction to keep your physical credit card details safe. A virtual credit card number is a temporary, generated number, which can protect you from hackers.

If you don't use virtual credit card numbers and instead pay for your online orders using your physical credit card details, then you put yourself at risk for fraud. That's because your physical card number can be used again and again, whether by you or someone else.

How to use virtual credit card numbers

Using virtual card numbers when shopping online is a safer bet. While not all credit card issuers offer virtual credit card capabilities, some do.

Capital One provides this through its virtual assistant service called Eno. You can lock, unlock, and delete virtual card numbers. Citi is another card issuer that offers similar capabilities with select cards. You can create virtual account numbers through your online account.

Each issuer has its own process for creating and using virtual credit card numbers. Once you sign up for this service, you can create virtual numbers directly with your card issuer. You can then use the provided virtual card details to pay for your online orders.

All you have to do is enter the virtual credit card details like you would when using your physical credit card to pay. You'll be provided with everything you need -- including a virtual expiration date and a virtual security code.

Virtual credit cards can help you avoid fraudulent charges

Using a credit card rather than a debit card for your online orders is smart. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers when their credit cards are used to make unauthorized, fraudulent charges. The law limits your liability to $50 for unauthorized charges.

It's worth noting that most of the best credit cards offer $0 fraud protection as a credit card perk. So you won't have to stress about potentially paying for purchases you didn't make yourself. Be sure to report all fraud quickly so the transactions can be investigated by your card issuer.

Fraudulent credit card charges are becoming more frequent. By using virtual credit cards to pay for online orders, you can help to reduce the chances of falling victim to fraud. If you have a credit card with virtual credit card number capabilities, you may want to use this service to protect yourself when shopping online.

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