Business Today
All you need to know about preloaded virtual cards for safer online transactions

Now with increasing instances of hacking, there is a fear your data may be misused or sold. It's in such instances that virtual cards come in handy.

All you must know about virtual cards for safer e-transactions

Photo: Reuters

We live in an age when almost everything is just a click away. But for transactions, we require a debit/credit card or a net banking account. Now with increasing instances of hacking, there is a fear your data may be misused or sold. It's in such instances that virtual cards come in handy.


  • It's a one-time use online card with no physical existence
  • It's like an add-on card issued on the user's primary debit or credit card
  • It can be used only for online transactions/payments
  • The amount pre-loaded is at the discretion of the card holder
  • There is no usage fee
  • All banks offer this facility free of charge
  • On creation of a virtual card, the user is provided with a card number, CVV number and expiry date
  • If the account holder has a VISA card, the virtual card will also be VISA. Likewise for MasterCard

  • Indian residents and NRI customers who possess a valid current or savings account and are registered for net banking can opt for a virtual card
  • Alternatively, the applicant should possess a valid debit or credit card to create a virtual card

  • These cards come with a limited time validity, a maximum of 48 hours or till the time that a transaction is complete, whichever is earlier
  • Card creation and online transaction is authorised after validation of the one- time password
  • Whether a card is used or not, after the time limit expires, the unutilised amount is credited back to the account from which the card was created
  • Once the card expires, there is no option of revalidation

  • There is no separate bill issued for these transactions
  • It is accounted as a debit or credit card transaction and reflects in the credit card statement or saving account transaction

  • It can be used at any online merchant site that accepts debit/credit cards
  • Protects user from becoming a victim of credit/ debit card fraud as the primary card or account details are not communicated to the merchant
  • The temporary number generated cannot be traced back to the original card or customer's identity
  • Given its nonphysical nature, there is no danger of card cloning
  • You don't need to have a credit card; the virtual card can be used for transactions that require credit

  • In case of a refund from a merchant website, it can be a tad problematic
  • Some virtual card features are non-standard, vary from bank to bank
  • Not all cards are valid for international purchases
  • Also, there is a limit on the number of virtual cards that can generated within 24 hours and the maximum amount that can be loaded for each card issue.


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