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12 min read 12.07.2021 5297

Top 10 Virtual Credit & Debit cards for EU residents 2021

Virtual cards have increased in popularity as the fintech industry has gotten more notoriety. However, there are still many questions on the mind of users like “are virtual cards safe?  How do you apply for one? Are there monthly service fees? This askwallet article will answer all these questions.

Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim is a fintech writer at AskWallet

Fact checked! This material is written by an expert

12 min read 12.07.2021 5297

Virtual banking is similar to in-person banking, except that everything’s done through a mobile app or website.

Payments, transfers, and other banking operations are managed digitally, with customer support available via chat or phone. Virtual banking has disrupted the finance industry, giving customers 24/7 access to online transactions, as well as digital and contactless payments in stores with a virtual debit or credit card. What is a virtual card, you ask? Let me explain.


What is a virtual card?

A virtual card is just like a plastic card that you can't touch, they perform the same functions. There are two types of virtual cards which include virtual credit cards and virtual debit cards. Let's take a look at what they are and how they work. 

Virtual Credit Cards 

A virtual credit card, or VCC, is a randomized credit card number for online use. To learn more about how it works, check out this free credit card numbers app. This number connects back to your main credit card account. VCCs can be closed without having to close your main account. Think of a VCC as a ‘ throw-away’ version of your real credit card.

You won’t earn interest for your money, and VCCs do not improve your credit score. That also means that VCCs don’t harm your credit score.
There are several different providers of VCCs. Though some internet vendors do not accept payment through VCC and transactions with VCCs can be slow, these virtual credit cards are actually quite versatile in most scenarios.


Virtual Debit Cards

A virtual debit card is truly what it sounds like. It is a way to make payments without actually having anything physically given to you, like your normal plastic credit. Even though it is all digital, you can still do many of the same things with a virtual debit card as you could from your typical credit card insurer. With a virtual card, you can make an online transaction the same way you would normally. 

When a user wants a virtual debit card, their card provider automatically generates card information such as the virtual card number, and you can create the PIN should you ever need it. With this, a virtual debit card user has all the information they need to make an online transaction. This applies to both online shoppers and businesses that make an online purchase for supplies or inventory. 

These cards are usually very customizable too. After one purchase, you can get an entirely new card number generated for you, and you can put more money on it very easily, or you can just continue using the same one. Likewise, you can choose how you want your money on the card to be spent. For example, you can limit your spending to one site or company as well as putting a limit on how much you can spend on your card. 

You’re probably wondering but how does it work? Well, we will break that down as well. 

How do virtual cards work?

Virtual cards are just like normal cards, they’re just digital instead of physical, existing entirely on your smartphone. When you open an account, you receive a virtual debit card right in your banking app, which can then be linked to Apple Pay or Google Pay.

You can use this card number to shop online, transfer money, or make contactless payments in stores by holding your phone up to the card reader. Some ATMs also allow you to make withdrawals via your virtual card.


You’re probably thinking: that sounds great and all, but what’s the point?

Well, I’ve got some great reasons to want a VCC. You might even sign up for one as soon as you’re done reading this article.


Advantages Of Using A Virtual Credit Card?

The major benefit of using a virtual credit card is that virtual bank card processing uses one number to get a single transaction. After the number is utilized, it is discarded and cannot be reused. The hackers usually are not serious about these virtual cards because these cards expire within a short while. You do not have to set up special software or hardware, neither on the buyers’ side nor on the sellers’ side. The processing fee is incredibly low in comparison with other payment schemes on the internet. Purchasing done by the consumer is anonymous.

Disadvantages Of Using A Virtual Credit Card?

The disadvantage is the fact that there is generally a lengthy wait relating to the sale plus the payment being deposited in the merchant’s account. On the consumer end, when you buy tickets to get a movie or perhaps for air travel, you are likely to show the credit card. If you have used an online card, the temporary number will not match the credit card number you carry. And also recurring expenses turned into a hassle because, by the point of the next purchase period, your card number will probably have expired.

However, despite these factors, with the security and convenience that virtual cards offer, and their increasing acceptance in a number of sectors, the future of these virtual cards and virtual prepaid cards seems very bright.
 

Are virtual credit cards safe?

Virtual credit card numbers provide additional security to your existing credit card accounts. In particular, if a virtual credit card number is compromised, you can easily cancel the virtual number and keep your actual card number the same. Plus, in some cases, each virtual card number is tied to a specific merchant. So, even if your number is stolen, it may not be readily usable by the person stealing your number.

It’s also easy to track your purchases with virtual credit card numbers. Virtual credit card purchases will show up on your monthly statement along with purchases made using your actual credit card number, mobile wallet or a physical card. For Citi cards, each transaction made with a virtual account number will show that number on your monthly statement. Meanwhile, for Capital One cards, you can manage your virtual card numbers from an online dashboard.

Why Should You Want A Virtual Card? 

Most Online Stores Will Accept Payment Through Virtual Card

As virtual credit cards become more popular, merchants have learned to trust VCCs. Though, as I’ve mentioned, VCCs are occasionally prohibited depending on the site you shop with, many trusted companies supply VCCs and encourage their usage.

Using A Virtual Card To Pay Is Safer Than Using Your Physical Card

This is my favorite reason for using a VCC. The online card is a randomized number that prevents any of your bank account data from being shared with vendors.

Venders traditionally have access to your billing address, name, credit card number and credit card security code. With a VCC, none of this information (besides the randomized numbers of your VCC) are offered to merchants. This prevents any identity and credit card theft.

Limits are easier to set than those of normal credit cards

Time and payment limits exist for every kind of credit card that you can use, including virtual cards. However, with virtual credit cards, you have more freedom when deciding what your limits are.

If you actually want to limit how much you spend on a certain site, virtual cards can help you by setting spending limits for your virtual card. This is useful if you want to keep yourself from overspending.

Make sure you read the rules and regulations of your virtual card. Just like your main credit card account, there’s the possibility of over-limit repercussions on virtual cards. These limits depend heavily on your providers, so check with the company to determine what’s best for you!

Changing Currency Is Easy

If you’re making purchases with a merchant from another country, VCCs are ideal for that. Say that you typically use USD to pay online. You can easily exchange USD for EUD (or whatever new currency you need) if you need to with the settings of your VCC.

Make sure you check that this is a feature on the card you sign up for if this is a feature that you definitely will need in a card. Everything depends on your provider.


Okay, I want a virtual  card. Where do I get one?
I’m glad you asked. Here are the top 10 providers of virtual credit cards for 2021.

Top 10 Virtual Cards Providers in 2021

Klarna 

Klarna is a popular “pay later” service which lets you buy goods online and pay for them later through instalments. The best bit? The instalments are completely interest free which mean there are no hidden fees or extra charges. As long as you pay on time.

The Klarna ghost card is a “virtual” card which you can access via the Klarna mobile app. Just to be clear this is not a physical card. Instead with every purchase you are given a unique card number and payment details in the app. Once you have these details you can use them to checkout at any online store.

Bunq 

The Bunq Travel Card (powered by MasterCard) is one of the few travel credit cards issued by a neo bank. It’s included with your Bunq account at no extra cost and lets you pay for goods and services while travelling (MasterCard exchange rate applicable for foreign transactions).

Heads up: Bunq does check whether you have sufficient funds in your account to cover the payment before you make a transaction (they don’t offer a credit line). This means you don’t have to worry about paying off a hefty debt once you’re back from vacation.

Anytime

Anytime is a Neobank based in Belgium and France that offers banking services to individuals, professionals, companies and associations. Their service is designed to replace your current bank account or to be used in conjunction with an ACPR (Bank of France) and FCA (Bank of England) license.

Anytime offers both plastic and virtual cards to its users. The neobank has a number of features for each card. Both cards are powered by MasterCard. 

Aion Bank 

Aion is a belgium subscription-based model neobank, focusing on transparency and superior digital services, going from ApplePay, Google Pay, finding the best rates for deposits as well as for loans, and ETF investment solutions. 

Aion provides its users with both virtual credit and debit cards. One of the main features of the debit card is that it's a multi currency card. With Aion’s multi currency debit card, there are no currency conversion costs, free card transactions, free ATM withdrawals and you can link your card to both Apple and Google Pay.  Aion masterCard powered credit card offers users full management of their card via the app, a max limit of  €10,000, add your card to Apple or Google Pay in a few clicks. 


Fidor bank 

Fidor Bank is a German virtual bank founded in 2009. The bank allows customers to open cryptocurrency accounts for cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. It offers personal banking products and business banking. Some of the personal banking services it provides include the smart current account and a savings bond while it also participates in lending offers.

Fidor provides a virtual debit card powered by MasterCard. However, deviating from the norm in the industry Fidor’s debit card is n’t a prepaid card. 

Pervesk

UAB Pervesk is an electronic money institution focused on providing payment solutions. UAB Pervesk offers personal accounts with IBAN, business accounts with IBAN, physical debit bards, virtual debit bards, merchant accounts, SEPA transfers, SEPA instant transfers, SWIFT transfers, white-label banking solutions, white-label card issuing, API integration to individuals, sole traders, businesses, online merchants, financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges.

Muniy 

Muniy is a neobank offering Personal accounts including a debit card, with all transactions being managed from an iPhone or Android application. Muniy currently accepts to open mobile bank accounts for residents of the United Kingdom.

Monese

Monese offers money transfer, online European and UK checking accounts, and basic individual and business bank accounts in the UK and the EEA region. After identity verification, users can access services such as replenishment, account management, debit card to access their money anywhere, along with the budgeting, payment, and security features. 

Your contactless MasterCard can be used as a virtual card, in-store, online, and for ATM withdrawals. It also supports Apple Pay and Google Pay. It can also function as a travel money card and gives access to your funds worldwide. If you are using a paid Monese plan, you can spend quite a large amount abroad without additional charges. You can also withdraw funds via ATMs and shops without worrying about any hidden charges.

Payoneer 

Payoneer is a very comprehensive online payment service and offers international transfers and issues MasterCard prepaid cards. Individuals and companies looking for a multi-currency account to manage EUR, USD, GBP, and JPY will find Payoneer a secure and reliable option.

The prepaid MasterCard linked to your Payoneer account. This prepaid card along with the Payoneer account make a very comprehensive digital wallet (multi-account, and multicurrency). You can then get a prepaid card for each currency you use. So, you can avoid changing currency when traveling from one country to another. 

Revolut

Revolut is one of the most popular virtual cards in the UK with 15 million personal customers and over 500,000 business customers. Launched in 2015, it has since expanded across the world with over 100 million transactions a month taking place.

Revolut offers instant and free virtual debit cards from their app. Revolut offers all kinds of services next to virtual cards, from crypto to budgeting and analytics, and they have personal and business options with four types of plans: Standard (free), Plus, Premium and Metal.
 

Safety Tips On Using Virtual Cards

If you decide you want to try a provider that isn’t on this list, make sure you stay safe. US law mandates that those who sign up for a virtual credit card must provide identification to verify their personal situation.

If you try a site that I haven’t listed and the provider claims to be from the US, make sure you check for a notice regarding this law. Verified virtual card  provider sites have notes about the law that requests user identification.

To ensure that you aren’t giving away your identity to just anyone, do some research. Use services like AskWallet that review the best virtual cards available on the market Avoid websites that seem shabbily made or unorganized.

 

Final Thoughts

While virtual cards are fairly new to the market, they can be worth it for people who purchase online frequently. It is important to look at any hidden fees and do your research before applying for an account with any virtual bank.

It is also worth remembering that none of these are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, meaning your money is not safe if the company goes under.

However, for everyday, smaller purchases, virtual credit and debit cards are a great alternative if you prefer to do all of your banking via your phone.

Most virtual banks offer budgeting tools to help you manage your money, including setting spending limits on certain brands or categories, managing any subscriptions and setting goals for both income and expenses. As some are prepaid, you can only spend the amount on the card, which is great for those who have problems with budgeting.

Virtual debit cards will continue to rise within the financial market so it could be great to get on board first.
 

Ibrahim Busari
As a fintech writer at AskWallet, he uses his metaphorical pen to guide you through the world of EMIs. He has been working in the financial and iGaming industry since 2016.