What are virtual credit cards and do they have an edge over regular credit cards? Find out.
Virtual credit cards aren’t all that different from the traditional credit cards that we know and love. While the convenience is there for online shopaholics like myself, virtual credit cards give users an added advantage — a priceless boost in security.
Read on to learn more about virtual credit cards, how they work, the pros and cons of using virtual credit cards, and where you can get your hands on virtual cards and prepaid cards available in Singapore.
- What is a virtual credit card in Singapore?
- Are virtual credit cards legal?
- Benefits of virtual credit cards
- Disadvantages of virtual credit cards
- Can I get a virtual credit card online?
- What is a prepaid credit card in Singapore?
- Virtual cards and prepaid cards available in Singapore
– GrabPay Card
– YouTrip Card
– Wise Multi-Currency Card
– Revolut Premium Cards
What is a virtual credit card in Singapore?
A virtual credit card offers the same kind of convenience associated with conventional credit cards.
Typically consisting of 16 digits like a regular credit card, a virtual credit card utilises randomly generated dummy numbers to provide users with an extra layer of security when they transact online. Additionally, the randomly generated numbers are usually used for a single transaction and may expire if they’re not used within their validity period. Some even let you set a specific spending limit for your transactions.
While a virtual credit card is linked to your real account (usually your regular credit card), your actual card number will not be revealed. This prevents hackers, malicious online merchants or criminals from defrauding you
In essence, a virtual credit card allows for secure online payments to take place by reducing fraud risks.
In case you’re wondering, prepaid virtual cards exist, too. Instead of linking to a credit card, prepaid virtual cards are linked to prepaid accounts or e-wallets.
Are virtual credit cards legal?
Or course, virtual credit cards are 100% legal. They make a great option for those who want a more secure online purchase experience that prevents hackers from accessing or identifying their actual card or account information.
On a side note, major companies like Mastercard, Visa and American Express encrypt users’ credit card numbers as a way to offer them an additional layer of security whenever they charge purchases to their cards.
Benefits of virtual credit cards
#1 Secure online purchases
The biggest draw of virtual credit cards is the boost in security these cards offer when used for online shopping or overseas purchases. The randomly generated card numbers make it difficult for anyone to get hold of your identity and actual credit card numbers.
#2 Free of charge
The generation of virtual credit card numbers is typically a free service offered by the respective credit card providers for their customers. Ergo, enjoy the added security benefit for free if you haven’t already done so.
#3 Better degree of control
There are virtual credit cards with single- and multi-use virtual numbers available to suit your preference. Plus, with virtual account numbers, the charges are supposed to be restricted to one vendor.
Therefore, if a vendor’s site where you’ve stored your virtual credit card number got hacked, there’s no need to worry that bogus charges from another vendor would be on your linked card account.
#4 Greater peace of mind
One of the main benefits of virtual credit cards is the added security you enjoy when making online purchases, especially when you are shopping from a vendor that you don’t know much about.
When it comes to single-use virtual credit card numbers, there’s absolutely no need to deal with any administrative mess in the case of a data breach. Your virtual credit card cannot be maliciously reused or charged for fraudulent transactions. As for multi-use virtual credit card numbers, you can simply have another unique number generated to replace it.
Disadvantages of virtual credit cards
#1 Only applicable to online transactions
Virtual credit card numbers are only applicable to online transactions, so you can’t bank on using them when you’re in the mall, store or supermarket.
That being said, not all types of online transactions are suitable use cases for virtual credit cards. Prime examples include scenarios where you purchase something online but have to physically collect them in person, such as hotel room bookings and car rentals.
#2 Potentially more hassle when dealing with recurring payments
As virtual credit card numbers may expire after a single or specific number of payments, those who are looking to use them for making recurring payments may have to deal with a fair bit of hassle.
#3 Limited availability
Extending from the point above, tracking your older virtual credit card transactions may be tricky business after a certain number of transactions have been made.
#4 Returns could be challenging
Returning items purchased online to a physical store could prove to be challenging as some merchants may need to match your virtual credit card numbers with your physical card to process the return. Once your virtual credit card number expires, it cannot be retrieved.
Can I get a virtual credit card online?
Yes, you certainly can. While some are reserved only for corporate clients, regular consumers like you and me can choose from an array of prepaid or virtual credit card providers, which we’ll go into more details below.
What is a prepaid credit card in Singapore?
Prepaid cards are debit cards that have been pre-loaded with money. Like regular debit cards, they can be used for payment purposes so long as they are sufficiently funded. Of course, the merchants must accept such card payments. In short, while some may call them prepaid credit cards, these cards are debit cards by function.
Virtual cards and prepaid cards available in Singapore
GrabPay Card linked to GrabPay wallet
GrabPay Card is a prepaid Mastercard linked to your GrabPay wallet. To use your GrabPay Card for making payments and earning up to 6X GrabRewards points, simply ensure your GrabPay wallet is funded.
Regardless of whether you’re shopping online, paying vendors online or in-store, or buying meals at restaurants, you can use your GrabPay Card to make payment as long as Mastercard is accepted.
Asia’s first numberless physical card for enhanced security of your personal details doesn’t discriminate. Anyone and everyone can apply for their GrabPay Card in-app, no minimum income required.
Singapore’s first multi-currency mobile wallet with a prepaid Mastercard that allows you to pay in over 150 currencies with no fees to boot, it is no wonder why many folks rely on YouTrip whenever they shop in foreign currency or when they’re abroad.
To use, simply fund your YouTrip account with any Singapore credit or debit card, up to S$5,000. Then, use your YouTrip Mastercard online or in-store as you normally would to enjoy no fees on cashless payments in over 150 currencies. Just so you know, the YouTrip mobile app supports in-app exchanges of 10 currencies so you can lock in competitive rates anytime, anywhere.
Don’t have a YouTrip card yet? You may sign up for free anytime. First, download the YouTrip app on iOS or Android. Register via MyInfo and voila — you’ll receive your free YouTrip card in 7 to 12 days.
Wise Multi-Currency Card
Wise, formerly TransferWise, offers a multi-currency account which lets you use your linked Wise card online, in-store and abroad all while saving on currency conversion fees, enjoying exchange rates sans mark-up and an extra layer of security the card is able to offer.
Another great reason why you should consider the Wise digital card? You can spend in any currency so long as your multi-currency account is funded. The smart technology will auto-convert your currency at the lowest possible fee.
You’ll first have to order a physical card to get your hands on the Wise virtual card. The physical debit Wise digital card will set you back S$10. In case you’re wondering, the application process is super easy and quick.
Take note that the Wise virtual card only exists in your Wise account, either on your phone or laptop. Your Wise virtual card has different details to your physical card, and can be frozen after every purchase.
With the physical card, you can use your card offline and withdraw from ATMs worldwide. Wise lets you enjoy free cash withdrawals up to S$350 every 30 days.
Revolut Premium Cards
Although your prepaid Revolut card can be stored and used over again, a disposable virtual card ups the security for one-off uses, especially when you’re shopping with a new-to-you vendor. This is where the Revolut Premium or Revolut Metal cards come in.
With disposable virtual cards to protect you against online card fraud, these disposable virtual card details are automatically cleared after each online transaction. New card details will be automatically generated in-app.
The virtual numbers that are linked to your Revolut account can be regenerated as many times as you need, each time with a new unique card number – your actual card details will never be shared with merchants.
As of time of writing, Revolut Premium charges S$9.99 per month while Revolut Metal charges S$19.99 per month. Both programmes let you enjoy 0% currency conversion fees, fee-free international ATM withdrawals, fee-free cross-border transfer(s) every month, a slew of travel perks and more.
Vividcard by Singapura Finance
Vividcard is a unique product through and through. A prepaid Mastercard that you can get when you open Singapura Finance’s Vivid Savings Account, Vividcard is linked to your Savings account via an e-wallet.
Apart from letting you enjoy a fairly high savings interest rate of up to 1.30% p.a. without any difficult-to-attain qualifying conditions, you can rest assured your online and offline shopping transactions will be ever more secure — a new CVC will be generated for every online transaction ensuring greater security against cyber hacking and fraud.
To protect you and your money to a greater extent, the Vivid Prepaid Mastercard security feature together with the e-Wallet App enable you to move money out from your Vividcard back to your e-Wallet anytime. This is extremely handy should your card be stolen or misplaced.
Want more alternatives?
Fevo, Matchmove, BigPay and FlexM offer cards of this nature, too. Interested in DBS’s virtual cards? The local bank’s offering is reserved for their corporate banking customers only.
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By Denise Bay
While Denise has a thing for travel, K-dramas, 0% sugar bbt (with boba!), Japanese cuisine and flat white, her curious nature means all sorts of random tabs are open on her phone 24/7. She doesn’t like to pay full price for anything, too.