• June 21, 2022

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Complete Guide To Virtual Credit Card Numbers – Forbes Advisor

Complete Guide To Virtual Credit Card Numbers – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
Identity theft continues to plague credit card holders, and purchasing data increasingly becomes valuable tools for advertisers to target consumers. Virtual card numbers provide extra peace of mind, without compromising ability to make payments and earn rewards. They also provide compelling enhancements to individuals and businesses who need to make payments to merchants.
Virtual card numbers can be issued immediately and revoked or customized after use. Fraud is reduced with transaction-specific controls that prevent misuse attempts with the virtual card number. For commercial card program managers especially, costs are reduced with realized operational efficiencies.
What is a virtual card number?
Virtual card numbers are very similar to physical credit or charge cards. Virtual card numbers have a 16-digit number, which is generated and assigned for use by an individual user. Uniquely, virtual card numbers can be used immediately, providing just-in-time funding that could help to better manage an individual or business’ cash flow. As with other credit or charge card products, virtual card numbers also provide spending controls, reporting tools and fraud protections that all help to manage expenses, track projects and prevent misuse.
For consumers, virtual card numbers provide privacy so purchases are more difficult to be tracked and targeted by advertisers, while protecting sensitive banking information, including the real debit, credit or charge card account number, expiration date and security code.
For businesses, virtual card numbers greatly help with implementation, providing immediate issuance and funds availability, while managing cash flow, enhanced payables and stronger reporting.
How can a consumer get a virtual card number?
For consumers, virtual card numbers can be generated with existing credit card accounts. If you have a credit card, you might have access to a virtual card number, so log into your online account and search for “Virtual Card Number” or “Virtual Account Number”.
Single- or multi-use virtual card numbers can be used to prevent fraud. Citi Virtual Account Numbers, Wells Fargo Digital Wallet, and Click To Pay from Visa, MasterCard and American Express are examples of single- or multi-use virtual card numbers. Single-use cards can be used for a one-time purchase with an online merchant or to withdraw cash at an ATM. Multi-use cards can be used as a dedicated payment method to a frequent vendor or merchant with whom you do business, enabling better experience tracking and enhanced privacy.
With Citi, for example, the VIrtual Account Number portal will launch, enabling you to create your virtual card number. First, choose which Citi account for which you want to create the virtual card number. Second, define any advanced settings, including the expiration date and spending limit of the virtual card number. Third, create the virtual card number and delete it when it is no longer needed.
How do virtual card numbers differ from smartphone payment apps?
Apple, Google and Samsung offer payment apps that most merchants can accept for online purchases or in-store use with NFC (near field communications) or MST (magnetic secure transmission). With these smartphone payment apps, a payment token replaces the primary account number (PAN). The payment token is not the real debit, credit or charge card number, it is another number that can be used for purchases.
Tokenization technology is different from virtual account numbers, but both keep your sensitive card number information private so that it cannot be duplicated and reused by a third party for fraudulent purposes. Reporting and spending controls can be available for both tokenization and virtual card number payments, but their specific features may differ between individual card issuers and smartphone payment app.
Virtual card numbers are generally platform agnostic. They can be used to make purchases with nearly any merchant who accepts online payments, most payment processors or most smartphone payment apps. A consumer could create unique Citi Virtual Account Numbers for each of the smartphone payment apps frequently used to track app payments made from each device in a family, for example.
Just like dedicating specific physical debit, credit or charge cards for a single purpose, virtual card numbers could be dedicated to separate devices or family members. And instead of physically taking the card from a child when he or she is grounded, a parent could disable or lower the spending limit of a virtual card number from the bank or card account portal. This is just one of many examples that demonstrate the usefulness that virtual account numbers present for a consumer’s daily use.
Why should consumers use a virtual card number?
Virtual card numbers are excellent tools for any consumer to securely and easily shop online while protecting their valuable account information. Consumers with debit, credit or charge accounts that feature virtual card numbers do not need to apply for a new credit account or incur any new credit inquiry.
These virtual card numbers are managed by your card issuer, so you can easily create new virtual card numbers with any expiration date or spending limit suitable for its use. While there are a few extra steps to generate a virtual card number, your real account number is protected and gives additional peace of mind, as a bank or card issuer may also provide additional fraud protections to protect consumers from fraudulent purchases.
How can virtual card numbers be issued for businesses and corporations?
Forbes Advisor reviews how corporate credit cards work, and this piece reviews the benefits “P-Card” programs offer to middle-market businesses and large corporations, including optimized spending controls, an enhanced payables process and long-term value. Corporate credit cards serve as a useful tool for building program-level and individual account controls to oversee employee purchases. Online program and account management tools serve as a central hub for enhancing a company’s payables process with a corporate credit card.
Large banking institutions that offer corporate credit card programs can be engaged with to analyze a company’s payables history to identify how a corporate credit card can reduce fraud, control large project expenses and understand the types of merchants a company engages with the most. A company should engage with a commercial banking relationship manager, treasury management specialist or dedicated bank client service professional to learn more about the offerings their institution can make to a company.
As part of a corporate credit card program, virtual card numbers can be an enhanced feature that a commercial banking partner can offer as part of a “P-Card” implementation program. Virtual card numbers can be issued instantly, in multiples, and for single- or multi-use. Instant virtual card numbers are issued for an installment loan to borrowers or for onboarding a gig worker.
Multiple virtual card numbers could be issued to help track fulfillment of a single order shipped to multiple fulfillment partners by e-commerce merchants; as an example, an online seller could create multiple virtual card numbers to fulfill each order that is shipped to different addresses, and if one shipment isn’t fulfilled, a single virtual card number could be refunded or resent without affecting other fulfillments.
Are virtual card numbers secure?
Yes, most virtual card number issuers secure sensitive card data that are encrypted for transmission virtually. Card program administrators and card issuers can activate cards and cardholders can set any PINs (personal identification numbers) that might be required to make purchases. The issuer maintains oversight of encrypted transmission of sensitive card data, including primary account number (PAN), PIN, expiration date, and CVV (card verification value).
Virtual card numbers are compliant with PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standards) which means that transactions can be made with confidence for both the virtual card number owner, the card program manager or card issuer, and the merchant receiving the funds.
Why are virtual card numbers important?
As privacy and security grow more important in society and as business needs become more complex, virtual card numbers present a unique opportunity to minimize fraud while enhancing spending controls and reporting tools. Consumers can minimize the need to make fraud charge claims with their banks and card issuers by using virtual card numbers, while also making it easier for younger family members to transact more securely and privately online and at stores. Businesses can manage cash flow faster and make payments more available with virtual card numbers, reaching employees, business partners and vendors more quickly, compared to physical card products.
As digital payments become more prevalent, traditional payment cards that contain magstripes and chips will become more costly to operate with physical equipment and greater fraud incidence. Virtual card numbers are another tool that banks and card issuers can deploy to make payments faster and more secure.
FAQ'S on the Virtual Credit Card - ICICI Bank

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FAQ’S on the Virtual Credit Card – ICICI Bank

Is it safer than the credit card I carry in my wallet?
How do I use the virtual credit card?
What limit do I get for a virtual credit card? Can I alter the limit depending on my needs?
How do I make payments for my virtual credit card transactions?
Can I place request to block the virtual credit card online?
Is there any kind of fee levied at any time for issuing/holding a virtual credit card (VCC)?
Can a separate card be issued to add-on cardholders as well?
How about the CVV number? Does it change every time I use the card for an online transaction?
Is the VCC an international card?
What is a virtual credit card?
A virtual credit card (VCC) is an add-on Visa credit card issued on your primary credit card. It does not have any plastic existence. All relevant details viz. the card number, the ‘VALID FROM’ date, the expiry date and the CVV number are visible online. The virtual credit card enables you to transact online with a credit limit of your choice. For all the transactions on your ICICI Bank Virtual Credit Cards, you will earn 1 point for every Rs. 200 spent.
The key details of your VCC like the card number, expiry date, etc. are visible online. You can use these details to transact online and never be worried about losing your card or having to carry it ‘safely’ in your wallet. Besides, you don’t have to wait for a physical card and ATM PIN to make their way to your residence.
Since no physical plastic card is issued, it can be used for online transactions only.
The initial credit limit of your virtual credit card will be Re. 1/-. You can change the maximum limit on your VCC within the overall limit of your primary card.
The transactions made with the virtual credit card will be visible online in your primary credit card statement. You can make payment through Infinity.
Yes, you can block your VCC instantaneously online.
7. Is there any kind of fee levied at any time for issuing/holding a virtual credit card (VCC)?
No. Currently, the card is free of cost.
8. Can a separate card be issued to add-on cardholders as well?
No. The virtual credit card can be issued only to the primary cardholder.
9. How about the CVV number? Does it change every time I use the card for an online transaction?
The CVV remains unchanged as long as the card is in the active stage. The CVV will change only if you hot-list the current card for some reason and ask for a new card.
10. Is the VCC an international card?
Yes, it is an internationally valid Visa credit card.
How to Get a Virtual Credit Card Number (2021) - CardRates.com

How to Get a Virtual Credit Card Number (2021) – CardRates.com

While the implementation of chipped EMV credit cards has eliminated a large portion of card-present (CP) fraud, the amount of card-not-present (CNP) — read: online — credit card fraud has steadily risen over the last few years.
In an effort to combat CNP fraud, several card issuers and third-party companies have developed what are called virtual credit cards.
Designed for use when shopping online, virtual credit cards are randomly generated, single-use credit card numbers that can limit an online fraudster’s access to your real financial information. This may sound like some complex bit of science fiction turned non-fiction. But you don’t need to be a tech whiz to use virtual credit cards. Keep reading for an overview of how these fraud-inhibiting cards work.
Although virtual credit cards can be useful, they’re still somewhat of a novelty in the consumer credit card world. Popular payment processor, PayPal, was one of the original sources for virtual credit cards, but the company has long since discontinued the service.
Today, only a handful of major credit card issuers offer the ability to create virtual credit cards for online shopping: Capital One, Citibank, and Bank of America.
Capital One’s virtual credit card service is available for all Capital One credit cards through Eno®, an “intelligent assistant” that helps Capital One customers with a variety of tasks. To use Eno® to create a virtual credit card number, you’ll need to be on a computer and have the Eno® extension for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Earn unlimited 1. 5% cash back on every purchase, every day
No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14. 99%-24. 99% variable APR after that
$0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
See application, terms and details.
0% for 15 months
14. 99% – 24. 99% (Variable)
Excellent, Good
4. 8
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60, 000 miles once you spend $3, 000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
No foreign transaction fees
15. 99% – 23. 99% (Variable)
4. 5
Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
$0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn’t expire for the life of the account
26. 99% (Variable)
Average, Fair, Limited
Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1. 25% for that month
Earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you pay on time. *Exclusions Apply
Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
You can help build your credit with responsible use of a card like this
Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
4. 0
No annual or hidden fees. See if you’re approved in seconds
Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Limited, Bad
Only select Citi cards will be eligible for a virtual credit card number, but the process is pretty straightforward for those cards that do qualify. Simply register your Citi credit card in the program, and then you can generate a virtual credit card number through the online interface. Virtual card numbers are only good for up to 12 months.
Earn 20, 000 bonus points after you spend $1, 500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards
The Citi Rewards+® Card – the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase – with no cap.
0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13. 49% – 23. 49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6, 000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
No annual fee
0% Intro APR Period 15 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
13. 49% Variable
Beyond the credit card issuers, there are a number of third-party companies that have also explored the idea of virtual credit cards.
For example, third-party platform, Privacy, offers single-use and merchant-locked virtual cards that can be used through a Google Chrome extension. Privacy virtual cards act more like debit cards than credit cards as they are funded directly by a US bank account. There’s no fee to use the service, as Privacy gets a portion of the interchange fee paid by merchants.
Money transfer provider, Entropay, also offers a similar virtual card service, though it’s structured a bit more like a prepaid card, with a 1% fee to add funds to your account. Entropay users can create an unlimited number of virtual cards over the life of their account, with 10 active cards at any given time.
While each issuer of virtual credit card numbers will likely have its own method, the general idea is still the same: an operational credit card number is randomly generated with a computer algorithm, similar to how modern EMV chip cards operate for card-present purchases.
Once generated, virtual credit card numbers can be used to make online purchases just as a regular credit card number would be used at checkout. The difference is that most virtual credit card numbers have limitations on where and when they can be used that help prevent them from being used by data thieves.
In other words, instead of putting your actual credit card number into the payment box when shopping online, you can mimic the EMV technology in your chip card by using a random number that’s specific to that merchant or transaction and can’t be used to make unauthorized purchases anywhere else.
The actual limitations set for a specific virtual credit card will depend on its type and issuer, though most providers will allow you to set individual spending limits for each virtual credit card you generate.
Most virtual credit card numbers are one of two types. Single-use virtual credit card numbers are as they sound: only good for a one-time purchase. Once that transaction is complete, the number is no longer valid and can’t be used for additional purchases.
Merchant-tied virtual credit card numbers can often be used for more than one purchase, but they can only be used with a specific merchant. These cards will typically have built-in expiration dates — usually up to 12 months — with the ability for users to set their own expiration dates for shorter periods.
One thing to keep in mind when investigating ways to shop safer online is to understand the difference between virtual credit cards and other digital payment methods. Mobile wallets, for example, aren’t the same thing as virtual credit cards, though they can offer a similar feeling of security when shopping online.
Instead of providing alternative credit card numbers, mobile wallets allow you to associate your credit cards with a specific service, which acts as an intermediary for payments. Chase Pay, for instance, allows you to use any of your Chase credit cards without needing to provide your card number to participating merchants.
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12, 000 spent in the first year.
Earn unlimited 1. 5% cash back on all other purchases.
Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1. 5% on all other purchases.
No annual fee.
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14. 99 – 23. 74%.
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
14. 74% Variable
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1, 500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
Earn 60, 000 bonus points after you spend $4, 000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60, 000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
15. 99% – 22. 99% Variable
Of course, Chase is hardly the only name in the mobile wallet game. Mastercard’s Masterpass is growing in popularity, Visa Checkout is available for many merchants, and PayPal has long held a good portion of the digital payment market share.
But it’s the technology companies that seem to be making the most inroads into getting users onboard with mobile wallets, thanks in large part to their devoted mobile phone users. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Microsoft Wallet are all vying for acceptance at retailers around the country.
Like it or not, credit card fraud is an unfortunate way of life in our modern economy. When credit card issuers close a doorway to fraud, the relentless fraudsters open their own metaphorical windows.
And while credit card users generally can’t be held responsible for unauthorized purchases — beyond the legally allowed $50 maximum, that is — credit card fraud can still be a major inconvenience that may take weeks to clear up.
So, can virtual credit card numbers eliminate the risk? A major chunk of it, sure. And they can offer a good deal of peace of mind. But, that’s not to say they’re a perfect solution. Virtual card numbers have their own downsides.
For one thing, virtual credit card numbers are only as secure as the company that issues them, particularly if you use a third-party company. If the issuer gets hacked, your information could be at risk.
Virtual credit card numbers are only as secure as the company that issues them.
Additionally, using a virtual credit card number may prove to be a problem when making reservations with a hotel or car rental agency, as these places often require the credit card used to make the reservation be presented at check-in to verify your identity.
Another drawback of virtual credit card numbers is in the case of returns, as most merchants require refunds to be issued to the card used to make the original purchase. This can be particularly challenging with merchants that require you to have the original card present for the return.
Advertiser Disclosure
is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brittney Mayer is an editor and writer for, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on websites such as MarketWatch, US News & World Report, NBC News, Kiplinger, National Foundation for Credit Counseling,,,, and, among others. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions about credit card proxy number

How do I mask a credit card number?

This type of masking is repeatable for data from the same source, regardless of the order. Use 4 issuer digits. The first four digits of the credit card number are copied from the source to the output. The remaining part of the credit card number is appended with the masked account number and a check digit.Aug 16, 2013

How do I get a virtual credit card number?

For consumers, virtual card numbers can be generated with existing credit card accounts. If you have a credit card, you might have access to a virtual card number, so log into your online account and search for “Virtual Card Number” or “Virtual Account Number”.May 7, 2021

What is credit card virtual number?

What is a virtual credit card? A virtual credit card (VCC) is an add-on Visa credit card issued on your primary credit card. It does not have any plastic existence. All relevant details viz. the card number, the ‘VALID FROM’ date, the expiry date and the CVV number are visible online.

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