In this brief guide, we are going to discuss the virtual credit cards in the UK.

What is a virtual credit card (UK)?

A virtual credit card is a card which is not physical but rather electrical. The virtual credit card number is generated and stored in your app or through your internet banking alongside the origination date, the expiry date and the CVV of the card. This allows you to use your virtual credit card for online purchases.

Some virtual credit cards will allow you to activate and deactivate them through the app as well as allow you to set spending caps on them.

Virtual credit cards provide some extra level of security as they are hard to be stolen.

In the Uk, the only financial entity which we know who offers a virtual card is the Revolut bank but this isn’t a virtual credit card but rather a prepaid virtual debit card.

What does a virtual credit card mean?

A virtual credit card means an online card which is not physically issued by the credit card provider. You can usually get this as part of a free service or a premium service which your credit card provider offers.

Can I get a virtual debit card?

Yes, you can get a virtual debit card as virtual debit cards are way easier to get dependant on the debit card provider or banking institution. A virtual debit card will allow you to make online payments and can be managed via your banking app or through internet banking.

What is a virtual prepaid debit card?

Most virtual debit cards are prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are cards which you just top up before you can spend on them. They allow you to reduce the number of funds you have accessible on a card and essentially only make use of a card when you want to top up and spend on it.

How do I get a virtual credit card?

There are various ways to get a virtual credit card. First, you should see what credit cards you are eligible for then you should check to see which credit card providers which you are eligible to offer a virtual credit card.

How do virtual credit cards work?

Virtual credit cards work like any other virtual card. The only difference is that you can only spend the available credit you have through your virtual credit card. In most cases, the virtual credit card number will be randomly generated when you make a credit card purchase online and will then change after the purchase is made. This reduces the risk of your real credit card number being compromised.

Can I get cash from a virtual credit card?

You usually won’t be able to get cash from a virtual credit card as most ATM machines require the physical card before they will dispense any cash to you.

There are some ATMs which may be able to dispense cash by inputting the card number and pin. If this is the case, then you may be able to get cash from a virtual credit card.

Are virtual credit cards safe?

Virtual cards are thought to be much safer than traditional cards as the risk of the virtual card number being compromised are much more limited. This doesn’t mean that virtual cards are without risk. If your banking app is hacked then your details could be easily compromised without you knowing unless you have a banking app which notifies you on every transaction or you regularly check your transactions.

In this brief guide we discussed virtual credit cards in the UK. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.