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Virtual debit cards: What are they and where to get one

Virtual debit cards let you shop via online, phone or digital wallet without needing a card in hand.

Debit cards give you convenient access to funds in your checking account. And virtual debit cards let you do that without a physical card online or by using your smartphone at the checkout.

What is a virtual debit card?

A virtual debit card is essentially a digital version of a plastic debit or prepaid card. Like a physical card, your virtual debit card will have a 16-digit card number, expiration date and CVC code. If your bank offers a virtual debit card, it will send you the card via email or through your online account. From there, you can add the card to your digital wallet or use the virtual card’s number to pay for purchases online or over the phone. Banks don’t charge for virtual or physical debit cards — they come with the account.

Many virtual cards have randomly generated numbers for added security when shopping. If the number is compromised, you can quickly cancel the virtual card and generate a new number without losing access to your entire account.

Compare bank accounts with a virtual debit card

See banks with online checking accounts that offer virtual debit cards. Compare based on their opening deposits and ATM network for the most access.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
Chase Total Checking®
Finder Score: 3 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Chase Total Checking®
$12 per month
(can be waived)
$0
N/A
New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.
Chase Total Checking® is easy to use and gives you access to more than 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches. It offers a $300 signup bonus to new Chase customers. Member FDIC.
Chase Secure Banking℠
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Chase Secure Banking℠
$4.95 per month
$0
N/A
New Chase checking customers enjoy a $100 bonus, when you open a new Chase Secure Banking account and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of coupon enrolment.
Chase Secure Banking℠ offers no overdraft services. New Chase customers may qualify for a $100 signup bonus. Member FDIC.
Chase Private Client Checking℠
Finder Score: 3.9 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Chase Private Client Checking℠
$35 per month
(can be waived)
$150,000
0.01%
Enjoy up to a $3,000 welcome bonus. Open a new Chase Private Client Checking℠ account; earn $1,000 when you deposit $150,000, $2,000 when you deposit $250,000 or $3,000 when you deposit $500,000 in qualifying new money within 45 days of joining and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.
Get the most out of everything you’ve earned with banking, credit cards, lending and investing strategies designed for you. Member FDIC.
Chase Business Complete Banking®
Finder Score: 2.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase Business Complete Banking®
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$0
N/A
Earn $300 when you open a new Chase Business Complete Checking® account. For new Chase business checking customers with qualifying activities.
This Chase business checking gives you free same-day deposits, up to $5,000 no-fee cash deposits per month, and unlimited debit card purchases. Plus, a $300 sign up bonus offer.
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Banks and accounts with virtual debit cards

These banks either give you a complimentary digital debit card to use for purchases, or they allow you to control your debit card via their app.

How to get a virtual debit card

Get a virtual debit card in four steps:

1. Sign up for your prepaid card or bank account. Once you’ve chosen your prepaid card or bank account, follow the account’s prompts to apply for the account and sign up.

2. Receive the virtual debit card number. You should receive your card number via email or through your online account once the process is complete. The bank may also give you a virtual debit card in your bank app before it sends you the physical card.

3. Fund your prepaid card account. If you chose a prepaid card, you’ll need to load funds by linking the prepaid card account with another bank account or by depositing checks or cash, whatever the prepaid card account allows.

3. Add the card to your digital wallet or Paypal account, if you prefer. If you haven’t already, download the app for the digital wallet that you choose like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Paypal. Navigate to the Add payment method section and enter your card’s number and billing address. Some banks also let you add a card to your digital wallet and tap to use their ATMs, which is a feature called cardless ATMs.

4. Use your virtual debit card. Use the card by unlocking your phone and tapping to pay through your digital wallet, or by entering the virtual debit card number online or over the phone.

Benefits of a virtual debit card

Using a virtual debit card has a number of advantages, including:

  • Security. If you’re using a virtual debit card that generates a random card number, this will help keep your funds secure when shopping online.
  • Convenience. You won’t need to bring a physical debit card with you to complete transactions in-store. You can pay with your smartphone.
  • Speed. You won’t need to wait for a card to be delivered when you sign up for a new account or if your card expires. With the new digital banks, you may be able to use your virtual card as soon as your account is active.
  • Card options. There are single- and multi-use virtual debit cards available to suit your online payment needs, and you can use a prepaid card or link it to your bank account or credit provider.
  • Currency options. Some providers also offer multi-currency prepaid debit cards, allowing you to save on currency conversion fees when buying from overseas retailers.

Drawbacks to a virtual debit card

Keep in mind virtual debit cards may not suit everyone.

  • May not work in person. Some physical stores don’t accept contactless payments yet, so there may be restrictions on where you can use a virtual debit card.
  • Card limits. Financial institutions commonly set limits for how much you can put on a contactless card in a single purchase, so keep this in mind when comparing your options.
  • Bypasses EMV chip technology. Using the virtual version of a debit card bypasses the chip technology that many physical debit cards provide for in-store purchases. However, digital wallets do assign your card with a different number than your actual debit card number for security purposes.

Two-fifths have online account

While the majority (63%) say they only keep their money in a traditional bank, a combined 37% either have their money just in an online bank (19%) or in both (18%).

Bottom line

You can get a virtual debit card if your bank offers one or if you sign up for a prepaid card account that offers virtual cards. You can also use a virtual version of your debit card by adding the card details to a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. These options are similar to virtual credit cards, which offer a different digital number than your real credit card for security purposes.

If you’re interested in using a virtual card, compare bank accounts to find one either with virtual or contactless payment options, or simply fill up your digital wallet on your phone and leave your physical card at home.

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Go to site

BankHow does the virtual card work?How to control your card virtuallyGet a card / account
ChaseAdd your Chase debit card to a digital wallet like Paypal, Google Pay or Apple Pay from your Chase app.

Go to Site

JassbyUsing the Jassby app, choose View card from the overview.

Use the card’s information for online or phone purchases or add to your digital wallet.

  • Lock, unlock or request a replacement card via app
  • Set spending limits
  • Get spending notifications for kids’ purchases
Go to Site
Bank of AmericaRequest to replace your physical card with a digital debit card via the app’s Manage Cards section
  • Lock or unlock your debit card via app
  • Set daily limits on your debit card spending

Read review

Capital OneAdd the Eno browser extension to your browser, then register your Capital One cards.

The Eno extension generates virtual card numbers linked to your physical card. Each merchant gets its own virtual card number, stored automatically with Eno for quick future purchases.

  • Lock or unlock your cards for security via the browser extension

Read review

OxygenGo to More / My Cards section in the app and Create a card.

Once saved, the card appears automatically in the app. You can tap to view the card’s details.

  • Set spending limits up to $2,500 via app
  • Set spending limits specific to one merchant.

Read review

MOVOAccess your digital debit Mastercard from the app as soon as you sign up for the account.

This virtual prepaid card is tied to a digital bank account.

  • Generate new virtual CASH card numbers for $2.95 each.

Read review

NetSpend®Create up to six virtual cards to use for shopping online or by phone.
  • Log in to your online account to create your virtual card. Select which prepaid card you’d like to link to the virtual card.
  • You can delete the virtual number once you’re done using it

Read review

RevolutCreate up to 20 virtual cards and one disposable card by going to Cards > Add card > Virtual debit card.

Then, get the card information by going to Cards and tapping the eye icon.

N/A

Read review