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Virtual cards allow you to do everything that a regular credit or debit card will. But unlike your plastic cards, virtual cards are, well, virtual. They’re basically a sixteen-digit number that you can use to make payments online. They’re also linked to an account, much like your physical card.

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There are many advantages that come with using virtual cards. Besides enabling smoother digital transactions, they are often more convenient than traditional alternatives and tend to be more secure. It’s no wonder then, that many banks and FinTechs are issuing them to customers in increasing numbers.

If you’re new to the concept of virtual cards and would like to know why they’re worth the hype, here are five benefits they confer:

Easier To Manage

You should find it easier to manage virtual cards than traditional ones. You can track all the spending you do with them, and set limits for the transactions you execute. What’s more, you can also preselect the merchants you’d prefer to make payments to, and manage your subscriptions better. Some of these benefits are more difficult to access with regular cards.

Note that card-issuing institutions may have preset limits on the number and volume of transactions you can carry out with their virtual cards daily.

Relatively Convenient

If you’re using a plastic card, you’ll have to carry it around with you just in case you need to pay for something with it. This isn’t always convenient. But with virtual cards, you can pay bills from wherever you are with your mobile device. It’ll take you just a few clicks, and you’re done.

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Virtual cards are a better payment option for eCommerce than tangible ones, for the reason we just mentioned above. Given the greater prominence that eCommerce will assume over the coming years, it’s safe to say that virtual cards are the future of online payments.

Lower Costs

All things considered, virtual cards are generally cheaper to use than physical ones. They often come with benefits that you won’t get with plastic cards. For example, users of First Bank’s virtual card enjoy a 10% discount on purchases they make with it (capped at ₦1,000). And Zenith Bank provides discounts for payments made with its virtual card to selected hotels and vendors.

The actual cost you’ll incur for using virtual cards will vary depending on their issuers. Be sure to compare your options before settling for one.

Protection Against Fraud

Hackers have a harder time trying to access the accounts of virtual card users. That’s because the cards

come with a technology that encrypts their accounts and minimizes the users’ personally identifiable information. They can’t withdraw money with it either. It’s actually easier for them to do damage if they have their victims’ physical card numbers and PINs.

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In the case that a cybercriminal successfully compromises a users virtual card, the victim can quickly freeze their account, thus nipping the attack in the bud.

Reduced Risk Of Human Error

Have you ever struggled to input your sixteen-digit debit card number while making a transaction online? Besides being cumbersome and time-consuming, it’s a process that lends itself to human error. You can avoid this by using a virtual card. With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to make your payment and steer clear of the consequences that come with multiple failed entry attempts.

Final Words

As we’ve made clear here, there are many reasons you should choose a virtual card over a physical one. But it’s up to you to decide. In the end, the many benefits of the virtual card may make it the more preferred option in the years to come.

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This article was first published on 3rd June 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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