Virtual credit cards are a digital version of your physical credit card. They generate a unique credit card number for you to use in place of your physical card number, preventing the merchant from storing your credit card information and keeping your financial data more issue virtual card
secure.With security breaches popping up in the news, opting for a virtual card provides you with an extra layer of protection. Several big-name credit card issuers provide virtual cards, but there are exceptions.If you’re interested in using a virtual card when shopping, here’s how they work, how to request one and which card providers make it easiest to generate a virtual card.

The easiest way to think of a virtual credit card may be to simply imagine your credit card without its physical form, reduced to a 16-digit primary account number. You’ve likely been asked to read your card number over the phone or enter it when shopping online, so you already have an idea of how this works.

What’s different about a virtual card, though, is that it doesn’t have the same security limitations as a physical card. Virtual cards can generate a unique card number for each transaction you make, protecting your real account number. They’re generally — but not always — intended for one-time use, so even if a company you’ve done business with falls victim to a data breach and your card number is retrieved, your actual account won’t be compromised.