Do you frequently shop online or make purchases over the phone with your credit card? Even if you only use secured sites and take other precautions, there’s a significant chance your account information could be compromised or stolen by a cyber thief. The good news is you can get a virtual credit card to minimize the chances of being victimized. In addition, it provides an added layer of protection against fraudsters so you can shop confidently.
What is a Free Virtual Credit Card?
As the name suggests, a free virtual credit card is a non-tangible item. It’s designed to be used when shopping online or over the phone and generates a unique credit card number connected to a payment account each time you make a purchase.
Do Virtual Cards Work The Same Way as Normal Credit Cards?
Virtual credit cards operate like traditional credit cards at the point of sale. Simply input the unique sixteen-digit card number, expiration date and card certification value (CVV) found on the card to authorize and complete the transaction.
Is It Safe to Use a Free Virtual Credit Card?
While virtual credit cards aren’t a surefire way to prevent fraud, they offer safety features that you won’t get with a traditional credit card. For starters, if you suspect fraud, the account number you receive to make purchases can be disabled or canceled immediately without impacting the payment account. Plus, the payment account information is not accessible and will never be revealed to the fraudster.
The Benefits of a Virtual Credit Card
Below is a breakdown of the many advantages of adding a virtual credit card to your wallet.
Ease and Convenience
Virtual credit cards link seamlessly with your selected payment method and are a convenient and secure way to make purchases.
You’ll typically receive a decision within minutes of applying and can begin using the card right away.
Safe and Secure Use
Virtual credit cards provide an added layer of security by concealing your account information and providing you with a unique card number instead.
Easy Access to Funds
It’s easy to access your funds with a virtual credit card – no need to make an ATM withdrawal or visit a physical branch.
Control and Visibility
Depending on the virtual credit card issuer, you may be able to set spending limits to keep your finances in check.
Check Your Transactions Anytime From Anywhere
Most virtual credit card issuers offer an online dashboard and mobile app that allows you to monitor account activity 24/7 from your computer, mobile phone or another electronic device.
Drawbacks in Using a Virtual Credit Card
Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks to using a virtual credit card that should also be considered before deciding if you want to apply.
Unlike traditional credit cards, virtual credit cards aren’t readily available through most banks and credit unions.
Not for Use Everywhere
You’re only allowed to use virtual credit cards for transactions completed online or by phone. Furthermore, they’re not an acceptable form of payment if you want to make an online purchase that requires you to present a physical card. This includes rental car reservations, lodging and airfare.
Not Ideal for Recurring Payments
Since the card number may change after each use, it’s challenging to set up recurring payments using this payment method.
How Can You Get a Free Virtual Credit Card?
Consider Grain if you’re interested in a virtual alternative to the traditional credit card. t. This credit card alternative gives you access to a line of credit, no credit check is required. So, you could get approved for a line of credit based on your specific spending habits, even if you don’t have perfect credit or have been turned down by traditional banks, credit unions and other online lenders for credit cards and other loan products.
Grain works like a traditional credit card but syncs with your debit card to make purchasing the items you need and love simple. It also offers bank-level security to keep your information safe and out of the hands of fraudsters.
Even better, the purchase APR on a Grain line of credit is 15 percent when you enroll in auto-repayment. Of course, you’ll also pay a 1 percent finance charge each time you pull funds from your line of credit. Still, the borrowing costs are lower than what you’ll typically get with most credit cards that cater to consumers with lower credit scores.
Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
- Step 1: Download Grain on the App Store and begin an application. It’s available to consumers nationwide. (If you have an Android device, join the waiting list to get notified when the app becomes available on Google Play).
- Step 2: Connect your primary checking account, where you receive income or direct deposits and pay bills. Grain will review your cash flow to generate a pre-approval for a line of credit in minutes. Lines of credit of up to $1,000 are available, and you may qualify for an increase after six months if you’ve made all your payments on time, maintained a low credit utilization and kept your primary checking account in good standing.
- Step 3: Transfer funds from your Grain line of credit to your checking account instantly and as needed, and continue using your debit card as usual.
Grain also reports to the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – each month. It provides updates on your credit line, current payment, payment history and account status. So, managing your line of credit responsibly can help you improve your payment history, which accounts for 35 percent of your credit score, and boost your credit score over time.
Get started with Grain today by downloading the mobile app. It’s fast and free and won’t necessarily impact your credit score. Plus, you’ll receive your credit offer in minutes and can start accessing the funds you need right away.