As its name suggests, a virtual debit card serves the same purpose as a regular debit card, meaning that it is linked to your bank account and can be used to perform cashless transactions by debiting your funds in the bank electronically. The major difference between the two, however, is the fact that virtual debit cards exist solely to be used on online platforms through the help of a computer terminal.
Virtual cards exist only electronically and are linked to your actual debit card and bank account by a service provider that creates and distributes the virtual card to you on request. This is why a virtual debit card is just a string of numbers instead of a physical card like the one in your wallet.
How does it work?
Before you can shop online with a virtual debit card, you need to first set one up with a virtual card provider. This service links up to your existing debit card and bank account and then generates a virtual card number for you to use on online e-commerce platforms like Amazon etc.
Whenever you want to buy something online, you enter your card information like you would normally and the service sends you a One Time Password (OTP) for verification of the transaction. Once submitted, the transaction is processed further, and your account is only debited once the transaction is completely successful.
What are the benefits of using a virtual debit card?
Security – A virtual card protects your real debit card, and account number from prying eyes since the only thing that is exchanged during transactions is your temporary Virtual card numbers. The virtual cards themselves are pretty secure too, since the OTP is only sent to you to verify any transactions, and the virtual card expires in a short amount of time if not used.
Flexibility – Being a completely online solution, using a virtual debit card provides a great deal of flexibility to the user. These cards can be created for any online bank accounts and there often is no limit to the amount that can be loaded into these cards, and can use any supported currency to charge up your card, with even having the option to buy a virtual debit card with bitcoin if you want. You also have the option to get virtual visa cards and virtual credit cards if you require them.
Ease of use – Both the process of setting up a virtual debit card and using it online for shopping are very easy. Setting up your card only takes about 15 minutes, which involves filling up a form with your transaction details (account information, card number), phone number for OTP verification and a bunch of other things. Once the form is submitted to the surface, you receive a confirmation from your bank verifying the link. Your virtual card is then forwarded to you by the service in the form of a card number, and you can easily use it on any online platform like you would use a normal debit/credit card.