Virtual cards are the main method of online payment. In a market where more and more virtual transactions are taking place, these cards offer more protection and agility in shopping.
They are specifically designed to be used as a means of virtual payment. The goal is to provide security to the consumer in their online purchases, and protect both the transactions and the linked current account.
Custom design for digital shopping
The main feature is the format of the card, where there is neither magnetic stripe nor chip. The format and design of virtual cards varies between entities, but it is quite common to find that they only exist virtually and that, therefore, the card data is only accessed from the banking platform or digital wallet.
The information we have about this card is the one for which we will be asked in any virtual transaction: sixteen-digit card number, three-digit security code, and expiration date. This is the most sensitive information on the card, and that’s exactly why you avoid having it in physical format, to reduce the chances of duplication or impersonation.
Protection for your accounts
Online shopping has increased significantly, to the point that many companies are already being created only in digital format. In Catalonia, the turnover of e-commerce has already exceeded 1.5% of GDP. But even so, there are still many consumers who are reluctant to make this change, most motivated by the fear that third parties have access to their money. And while it is true that this is a real problem, banks are creating increasingly sophisticated products to prevent this lack of protection.
Virtual cards, far from exposing our account, do just the opposite: they provide more protection than conventional cards. You have prepaid virtual cards, that is, cards the user tops up with the amount they need. These cards do not have direct access to the account; therefore, protection is assured.
Other virtual cards can be enabled and disabled; therefore, they will only be operational when the customer so desires. Thanks to peculiarities like these, the risk of fraudulent operations decreases still more. These are constantly evolving measures that struggle to end cybercrime.
More control for you, less plastic for the planet
In practical terms, this whole system of protection, which includes the protection of card data and the minimum link with the current account, make it difficult for hackers to access personal accounts. In the event of fraudulent transactions, claims, or purchases in other countries, virtual cards significantly facilitate the resolution of such transactions and, most importantly, allow any incident that may arise to affect only this card, without involving the rest of the cards or accounts.
In addition, not having a physical format is a more sustainable form of payment that, in many cases, involves less maintenance costs for the customer.
Physical cards, in the process of digitization
It is increasingly common to have physical debit or credit cards also in virtual format to pay via mobile. They are usually tied to physical cards and our current account; therefore, they do not represent a major step forward in terms of security, although they facilitate the option of blocking the card in the event of an incident and allow us to control expenses and be able to make payments without the physical card.
The challenge for the coming years will be to bring this method of protection and agility provided by virtual cards closer to payments in other areas such as physical commerce or cash withdrawal.
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