Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Learn how to compare virtual debit cards

Virtual debit cards and credit cards provide a secure and convenient way to shop online.

In the world of online shopping, security is paramount. There’s always a certain level of risk involved whenever you hand over your personal details and credit card information online, so any way you can make online shopping easier or safer is well worth looking into.

Virtual debit cards provide a debit card number you can use to shop online, over the phone or for mail order purchases. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits these plastic-free alternatives offer to determine whether you could benefit from a virtual debit card.

What are virtual debit cards?

A virtual debit card is basically a digital version of a plastic debit card, offering the convenience of online debit card shopping instantly. You usually have to access the virtual card through an app or digital wallet on your mobile device, and the virtual card only remains valid for a specified period. When making purchases, you will need to input your 16 digit card number, your CVV number and the expiry date.

What are the benefits of virtual debit cards?

  • The same functionality as a normal debit card, but online. You can use a virtual debit card to shop online at all the same places you would use your normal debit card.
  • No waiting around. Instead of waiting around for a week or more for a physical debit card to be delivered to your door, you can sign up for a virtual debit card and receive it instantly and start shopping immediately.
  • Safe and secure. You can shop in safety online when you use a virtual debit card to pay for your purchases. These cards offer the same security features as physical debit cards.
  • Stored in your phone. Virtual debit cards are stored on your smartphone rather than in your wallet, providing a convenient way to manage payments straight from your mobile device.
  • Multi-currency cards available. Some providers also offer multi-currency virtual cards, allowing you to save on currency conversion fees when buying from overseas retailers online.
  • Usually free of charge. Many virtual debit cards come free of charge when linked to existing bank accounts. You may incur the same bank account fees, however they will not be related to the virtual debit card itself.

How do I use a virtual debit card?

It’s quick and easy to load up a virtual debit card and use it to pay for purchases online. All you have to do is complete the following steps:

  1. Sign up for a virtual debit card and receive your card details (including your card number, CVV and expiry date).
  2. Continue to shop online as you normally would. Add items to your cart and click “Checkout” when you are ready to pay.
  3. Follow the steps at Checkout until you get to the payment screen.
  4. In the area where you would enter the details of any normal debit or credit card, enter the details of your virtual card.
  5. Submit payment and complete your purchase.
  6. Funds will be withdrawn from the bank account your virtual debit card is connected to.

Are there any drawbacks to virtual debit cards?

The main drawback of virtual debit cards is that you can’t tap & pay with a virtual card in the same way you would with a physical card. Virtual cards only work in the online world, so they will most likely not provide an all-in-one solution to your payment needs.

Additionally, it’s essential to compare the fees and charges attached to any virtual debit card before deciding whether it’s right for you.

Virtual debit card FAQs

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site