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Virtual credit cards are randomly generated sets of numbers that you can use in place of your real credit card information online. The numbers are tied to your real credit card and charges still come to your same account, but the primary account information won’t be released online or to the vendor, protecting your credit card information.

Virtual cards vs. physical cards

While having a physical card has its place, using a virtual payment card can make your life much easier and keep your data much more secure. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of virtual cards over physical cards: 

Virtual Card Physical Card
Unlimited credit card numbers One credit card number
Easy to cancel one vendor/service without affecting all other payments Cancelling card affects all services & subscriptions
Set spending limits & deadlines Some cards offer spending limits
Online or over-the-phone usage Can be used in person, online, over phone
Cannot be lost or stolen Can be lost or stolen

So what can using a virtual card look like for you and when should you consider getting one? There are five major selling points of a virtual credit card you need to consider.

Convenient for online shopping

If you love shopping online for your business it’s smart to consider using a virtual payment card. A virtual card protects your information online. Even if you are spending on well-known, secure sites, data breaches still happen. And with a virtual card, you limit your exposure to individual merchants.

Easy to make one-time purchases

There’s a number of situations where you might not want to use a card tied to a permanent account: buying from a new business, setting up an online trial, or paying an invoice for a new business vendor you’re vetting, for example. If you love buying from new and upcoming businesses online, a virtual credit card is essential because it protects your information in the instance of not only a data breach, but also if a dishonest merchant were to steal your card information. Because you can set your card up to automatically close, the merchant will not be able to use the stolen information, or charge you for additional or future purchases.

How are other businesses using virtual cards? See how your state stacks up.

Manage subscriptions easily

Online subscriptions can be difficult to manage. It’s hard to monitor what exactly they are charging you for, and when renewals or upgrades may happen. Subscriptions can also be a big security risk if one of the businesses suffers a data breach. Virtual cards can help solve all of those problems.

You can manage all your online subscriptions using virtual cards. Just use a new virtual card for each of your subscriptions, keeping it to one card per vendor. That way you can track all your subscriptions in one place, you’re protected if the card information is compromised, and you can easily see if you’re being overcharged. If you need to cancel a card, you won’t need to change your payment information with every single vendor. And if there’s a breach, you can easily identify where it originated. 

With the additional controls that many virtual cards offer, like spending limits, card freezes, deleting cards, setting up a recurring payment, etc., you are in control anytime something with the subscription needs to change. And, if a certain vendor is trying to sneak in extra charges, or make it difficult to cancel their service, you simply delete the card. No more painful cancellation processes—just one click and you’re free.

Fraud protection

While there is something to say about having a physical card in your wallet, there is added security moving to a virtual wallet. Most virtual credit cards allow you to freeze your cards at any time. This means if you fear your data has been compromised, or you want to make sure you are not being double charged, you can simply freeze the card. By having the power to freeze your card and keep your funds safe, you take your finances back into your own hands.

Spending control

While not all virtual credit cards are created equal, many virtual cards give you more controls than you see with regular credit cards. In addition to being able to freeze your card whenever you need to, you can set up a spend limit, a date for the card to close, or have it automatically close after the first charge. Most give you the option to keep a virtual card open or closed for however long it suits your business. This allows you to protect your information from hackers and dishonest sellers. It can even help streamline your processes and keep your real card information private even from employees if need be.

Divvy’s virtual card platform is simpler, faster, and best of all—free.

Divvy allows you to do all of these things and more with secure burner and subscription cards built into our platform. When you create a virtual card within Divvy you select the budget and category, so that whenever a charge comes in your expense report is already done. Our virtual card creation offers customization in all fields – budget, expiration, approvals – that aren’t guaranteed with other virtual card platforms. And the best part is, we do it all for free.

Protect your company, easily manage subscriptions, and never go over budget again—all with the ease of virtual cards. 

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