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Citi virtual credit card: How does it work?

A great way to boost your credit card security.

Updated

Fact checked

Virtual credit cards are a separate set numbers you can create to use for online shopping. This is a useful feature if you don’t want to reveal your actual credit card information to vendors or if you fear a subscription may be hard to cancel.

Does Citi have a virtual credit card?

Yes, Citi is one of the rare credit card providers that offer virtual credit card numbers, for eligible cards. Unfortunately, Citi doesn’t list which cards are eligible.

Some users report that the only cards that aren’t eligible are its personal and business Costco cards, and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and the Citi Simplicity® Card.

But this could change, however.

Compare Citi credit cards with a virtual credit card option

Since Citi doesn’t specify which cards are eligible for virtual card numbers, check a card’s benefits before applying to see if you’ll find the feature.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% variable
$0
An impressive cashback card that offers up to 4% back on everyday purchases like gas, travel and dining all for the cost of a Costco membership.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$0
Get 2x points on restaurants and gas with this unique no-annual-fee card. Your rewards round up to the nearest 10 points for each purchase!
Brex 30 Card
7x points on rideshares, 4x on Brex Travel, 3x at restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x points on all other purchases
N/A
$0
The first corporate card for startups. No personal liability or security deposit needed, meaning your personal credit score won't be affected.
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How to use a Citi virtual credit card

If your credit card is eligible to get Citi virtual credit card numbers, you’ll need an online Citi account to enroll. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit cardbenefits.citi.com/Products/Virtual-Account-Numbers
  2. Click Enroll In / Get.
  3. Sign in to your online account.
  4. Choose either web-based access to your credit card virtual numbers or download the PC version.
  5. Select the credit card you want to use.
  6. Click Generate.

This features also allows you to add spending limits and expiration dates.

Benefits of a Citi virtual credit card

The main benefits of a Citi virtual credit card are:

  • Secure online shopping. You can use your virtual card at unfamiliar vendors. And if there’s a data breach, deactivate your virtual card without affecting your real credit card. This is an excellent way to keep your credit card secure.
  • Set spending limits. A cap on spending protects you from hackers spending too much on your card.
  • Set expiration dates. Limit the length of time your virtual credit card is active with an expiration date.

What to watch out for

Using the Citi virtual card has its benefits, but there are some drawbacks to consider.

  • Limited use. Virtual cards are meant to be used online or by phone.
  • Not for all online purchases.
  • It could feel like a hassle. If you’re not tech-savvy, creating and managing virtual cards online or on your computer could feel overwhelming.
  • Subscriptions may suffer. If you’ve set up recurring payments with a virtual card, if it expires or you reach the limit, you could miss a payment.
  • Returns. If you want to return an item, it may be hard to get your money back if your virtual card has expired.

When shouldn’t I use my virtual credit card?

Don’t use your virtual card for items like tickets that require you to show your credit card to pick them up.

Bottom line

Citi is one of the few credit card providers that offers virtual credit card numbers. If your card is eligible, you can create virtual cards, set dollar limits and expiration dates and increase your card’s security for online purchases.

But if you don’t find the Citi credit cards appealing, look for other virtual-number cards until you find the right product.

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