Virtual credit cards take many different definitions in India today. The definitions might vary from a digital wallet to a credit card add-on. In this article, we will discuss what a virtual credit card is in India, how they work, and the advantages (or) disadvantages of getting one.

What is a Virtual Credit Card?

A Virtual Credit card is an add-on credit card that you can choose along with their primary credit card from your credit card issuer. This credit card is called ‘virtual’ because there is no plastic card and the card is only accessible digitally. Every time the card is used, the card will have a different Card number, Expiry date, and CVV. This feature makes the credit card extremely safe to use for digital payments. Some banks might also provide some rewards points for purchases made from the virtual credit card.

An alternative definition that is commonly used is that of a pre-paid mobile wallet that provides a virtual card to make online transactions with. By definition, the pre-paid mobile wallets cannot be credit cards.

Which banks offer Virtual Credit Cards in India?

Some of the banks that offer a Virtual Credit Card in India are:

  • ICICI Bank Virtual Credit Card: ICICI issues an add-on credit card immediately after request that one can use instantly. The card is issued without a fee and is a VISA card that can be used internationally.
  • HDFC Bank Virtual Credit Card: HDFC offers NetSafe as an option to create a Visa/Mastercard Debit/Credit card which enables you to generate a virtual credit card number.
  • ALTERNATIVE (Mobile Wallets): An alternative although not true ‘credit cards’ are mobile wallets that issue digital prepaid cards to go along with mobile wallets. Some examples include 811 Kotak Mobile Wallet and HDFC PayZapp.

Advantages of a Virtual Credit Card

There are very many advantages of a virtual credit card compared to a regular card. Some of them are:

Security

The unique or randomly generated virtual credit card number offers protection against credit card frauds. If you are making an online payment for a well known e-commerce site, the chances of risking your credit card details and a possible fraud is low.

However, if you are using your credit card for payment on new online sites or websites which have minimal online presence, it is smart to be cautious. This is where a virtual credit card wil come in handy.

Immediate use

One does not need to wait for a physical card to ship to their house to start using a virtual credit card. Once your card is approved, you can create a virtual credit card number to use online immediately.

International usage

Many virtual credit cards have international acceptance which is a great benefit.

Disadvantages of a Virtual Credit Card

While the benefits such as added security and ease of use is impressive about virtual credit cards, we cannot ignore its disadvantages. The problems faced by credit cards are as follows:

Shopping refunds are not possible with this card

When one shops online and wants to process a return, returns are almost processed back to old credit card number. This may create some confusion for people who shop online frequently.

Hotel & Event Check-ins will not be valid

Many events, flight, and hotel booking check-ins need your credit card details while checking-in. Similar to shopping refunds, this might create some issues since virtual cards are only for one time use.

Bottom line: Is it worth it?

Virtual credit cards have been a great relief for many as it provides an additional layer of security that many wanted. However, as noted above, there are some issues to consider with regards to potential issues like getting refunds and check-ins. However, as long as you can tackle the disadvantages, virtual credit card offers unparalleled security and an immediate option for credit before your physical credit card is delivered to you. You can continue to check your credit score and credit card bills regularly to make sure that no fraudulent activity takes place.

Please note that the credit card may be virtual but the card bill payments are not. Make sure you manage your credit card purchases and payments diligently.

FAQs on Virtual Credit Card

Q1. Can I use VCC for offline transactions?

Ans: No, the virtual credit card is meant for online transactions only.

Q2: Can I block the virtual credit card online?

Ans: Yes, you can block the virtual credit card online.

Q3. Can a separate card be issued to add-on cardholders as well?

Ans: No. For most credit cards such as ICICI Bank Credit Cards, the virtual credit card can be issued only to the primary cardholder.

Q4: Does the CVV number change every time I use the card for an online transaction?

Ans: The CVV remains unchanged as long as the card is in the active stage

Q5. Is the VCC acceptable globally?

Ans. Yes, it is valid for international transactions.

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