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For many years, cash was king; depending on who you ask, that’s still the case. In this digital age, however, there are more and more ways to get and spend money without ever touching cash. The existence of online retailers means that customers can do literally all of their shopping from the comfort of their home.
Unfortunately, it also means that identity and credit card theft are also on the rise. Virtual prepaid cards offer an option to have the best of both worlds – convenience paired with the ability to protect yourself from theft.
Virtual prepaid cards are debit cards that are purchased online, so there’s no physical card. You put money into an online account and generate disposable card numbers to be used for online purchases. You can use a different card number for every purchase you make if you like, then you can delete it as soon as the purchase is finished. That means even if someone steals your card number it’s worthless to them – and your money remains safe.
Because the cards are prepaid, only the amount available on the card can be spent. If you’re generating a new card number for each purchase – a process that takes only a few seconds – the risk of fraud or theft is next to zero. Virtual cards also allow you to manage your card numbers and balances from any computer or mobile device, and loading them with funds is an instant transaction so you can spend them immediately without waiting for your payment to go through.
Some virtual cards also offer a variety of currencies, meaning you can make international purchases in the local currency. That means fewer fees and faster payments.
There are a number of vendors providing virtual prepaid card services. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Virtual Prepaid Card Services
SpectroCard has a virtual prepaid Mastercard that can be funded via everything from a credit/debit card to international bank wires, OKPay, Payeer, and several other worldwide methods. Each method charges a fee ranging from a flat fee to a percentage of the funding amount. Local bank wires and SEPA transfers, however, can be done with no fees.
The company is based out of London, but their virtual cards can be used at over 33 million merchants worldwide. Basically, many online or phone-based merchant that accepts Mastercard will accept a SpectroCard.
The ecoPayz system has several offerings for virtual payments. Their ecoVirtual Card comes in options for U.S. Dollars, Pounds, and Euros. Cards also come in multiple levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and VIP; each level comes with different limits and benefits. After signing up for an ecoAccount, you can get a ecoVirtualCard that’s attached to the account.
All cards are one-time use only, minimizing the risk of fraud or theft. This means they are good for the first funds loaded onto them; it does not mean they are only good for one transaction unless, of course, you exhaust all loaded funds in one transaction.
The ecoVirtualCard currently charges 1.80 when you have a card issued and activated, and a four percent charge for any funds you load onto the card. It also has a single transaction limit of 700 EUR for the Silver level (1,000 EUR for the VIP level), and you can only have three cards activated per day. Cards are only good for 12 months, so you need to use it before the card expires.
These are only three of the many available options for virtual prepaid cards. With a bit of research, you can find the company that best suits your needs. Once you do choose a company to work with, you can get started very quickly, and with many of the options, setting up an account and getting a card is easy.
Credit card fraud, identify theft, and even hacking are all real dangers, but virtual prepaid cards offer a way to make online and phone-based purchases without having to worry about becoming the victim of a financial crime.
Author: Jeff Gitlen