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Definition: virtual credit card


A temporary credit card number that is used to make online purchases one time only or for a limited amount of time. Virtual credit cards such as Bank of America's ShopSafe and Citibank's Virtual Account Numbers provide extra security because the same card number is not being used online over and over again.

More a Nuisance than Financial
Although credit card companies reverse fraudulent purchases, people often have many recurring charges paid by the same card number. When that card is compromised, users have to manually update the data for all the recurring charges. See digital wallet and autopay.