Consumer Virtual Cards Encouraged

28. September 2017.

A column in CNBC News is advocating the use of virtual cards for consumers as a way to protect or limit losses on their credit and debit cards. Citing a report from

Virtual credit cards provide only a temporary 16-digit card number, and, depending on the card issuer, a custom spending limit and an expiration date.

“Virtual card numbers reduce risk by eliminating the need to use your physical card number,” the report says. “If, at any point, a thief gets a hold of your virtual card number, they won’t be able to exceed the preset spending limit or make purchases beyond the predetermined expiration date.”

Some virtual numbers even work only with specific merchants, the report says.

Given the on-going concern about stolen identities and card credentials, this may have some appeal to customers who want to put a bit of a barrier between their core accounts and their spending activity. Virtual cards, however, will use up card numbers, create issues around small remaining balances and themselves are not immune from theft. Many cardholders already have the ability to block transactions from certain merchants or establish transaction limits or at the very least, be alerted to transactions being conducted with their existing cards. The virtues of a virtual card can be accomplished with a good card alert and control solution. Customers just need to be aware these services are available to them.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Group at Mercator Advisory Group

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