Published on April 15, 2024

What is a virtual card and what is it for?

virtual card

A virtual card is a bank card without physical media, existing only in a bank application or smartphone. It cannot be placed in a wallet or inserted into a terminal. But at the same time, the user receives all the same data as with a regular card: card number, expiration date and secret three digits. In some cases, a virtual card can reduce the risks associated with fraud and make paying for goods online more secure.

Today, virtual cards have become a part of the lives of many, and despite the presence of virtual business cards, many have not yet fully understood what they are and how they work. In our article today, we will tell you what a virtual card is, as well as what its advantages are and why you should get it.

How can I get a virtual card?

To apply for a virtual card, you usually do not need to go to a physical bank office if you already have an account. You can also get a card from special services that provide these services. The virtual card will simply be linked to the same account as the regular one. If you have several accounts, for example in different currencies, then the virtual card can be linked to any of them.

To apply for a virtual card, you need to go to the bank or service application. The virtual card is issued instantly. Literally a few seconds after the application, the card will already be available in the application or web interface. The bank client can write down her details, photograph them, or simply put them aside for future purchases.

Why do you need a virtual card?

It is traditionally believed that a virtual card is necessary to pay for online purchases, including on sites whose security the user is not sure of. For example, a person has several bank accounts. He receives his salary on one, uses the other as a backup safe for savings, and the third for current purchases. You can link a card, for example, to a third account, and if attackers get hold of the card data, they will not be able to gain access to other accounts.

Virtual cards for business allow you to make quick and convenient transactions for purchases or transfers. Such transfers also include international transfers.

How is a virtual card technically different?

From a technical point of view, a virtual card is no different from a regular plastic card – the user gets access to the same set of functions: the ability to transfer funds, pay for purchases, etc. However, banks can set additional restrictions, for example, set maximum limits – amounts that cannot be exceeded make purchases per month or in one transaction. Moreover, the user himself can set such restrictions. These cards have no other restrictions. They can be added to applications on the phone in the same way and, if possible, the bank can pay by touching the phone to the terminal.

What are the main disadvantages and advantages of a virtual card?

The main disadvantage of a virtual card is the lack of physical media. If you need to use a physical card for a purchase, then you won’t be able to pay with a virtual card. You will need a mobile phone with an application on which your virtual card will be registered. In addition, it is often not possible to withdraw cash from an ATM unless the ATM is equipped with a special device. A virtual card is needed if the user is not confident in the security of the site or urgently needs a card from another payment system.

The main advantage of a virtual card is that it can be quickly opened, closed, or frozen. For example, if you need to make a quick purchase of a resource that the user does not trust. A virtual card can be used for one-time transactions. Moreover, you can most often open virtual cards in any quantity.


The virtual card is the future that has already arrived. And despite some inconveniences and shortcomings, virtual maps will soon be compared to the physical ones we are used to. Simplicity and increasing popularity will make virtual cards dominant and even more convenient and in demand.

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