Best Virtual Credit Cards

Virtual credit cards provide several advantages over their physical counterparts. Cardholders can make online payments using a virtual card number that’s ultimately not all that different from a physical card. Just like physical credit cards, virtual credit cards come with a card number, expiration date, CVV number, and of course, your name.

But with virtual cards, you can get a new card every time you complete a payment, enabling you to mitigate certain risks such as bank account fraud and credit card theft. Once you dispose of a virtual card, your bank will issue you a new one. Plus, new virtual cards don’t carry the charges that physical cards do – and arrive instantaneously.

Continue reading for a closer look at the best virtual credit card providers today.

8 Best Virtual Credit Cards

Here are the best virtual credit card offers for October 2022:

Apple Card

  • Yearly fee: $0
  • APR: 10.99%-21.99%
  • Cash back: 2-3%
  • Welcome offer: Not available

The Apple Card is a virtual Mastercard credit card by Apple – the same Apple that makes iPhones and Macs, among other electronic devices. You nave an iPhone to get an Apple Card, as the two are interlinked.

The card comes with no fees. Instead of showing you the minimum payable amount, the app works out how much interest you’ll end up paying based on the amount you want to pay.

As such, you’ll be able to make more informed financial decisions based on your situation. Apple product purchases are interest-free, and you can choose to pay by installments.

Cashback is unlimited and varies between 2% and 3% – depending on the merchant. You can also use your virtual Apple card to pay in-store usher an iPhone or Apple Watch.

Citi Premier

The Citi Premier Credit Card is a physical credit card that gives you access to virtual credit cards. It is mainly targeted toward travelers; however, it allows you to collect points when you’ve returned home. You can earn 3x points when using the card to pay at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, air travel, and hotels. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.

Points you’ve earned can be transferred to airline loyalty programs for free, giving you more ways to use them.

The card also includes a $100 savings from a single hotel stay that costs $500 or more yearly. Other card features include no foreign transaction fees and contactless pay.

Citi Double Cash

  • Yearly fee: $0
  • APR: 15.49%-25.49%
  • Cash back: 2%
  • Welcome offer: 0% APR for the first 18% on balance transfers

The Citi Double Cash card is a traditional physical card that gives you access to virtual card numbers. The name “Double Cash” comes from the fact that you can earn cashback in two ways. You get 1% when making the purchase and 1% when making the minimum payment on time. There are no limits as to how much cash back you can earn.

If you’re using the card for balance transfers, you’ll need to pay a fee that’s equal to 3% of the transfer amount. This fee applies to the first four months, after which the fee will go up to 5%.

The card also includes Citi Entertainment, which offers special access to events, concerts, and dining experiences, among other things.

Citi Diamond Preferred

  • Yearly fee: $0
  • APR: 5.24%-25.24%
  • Cash back: Not available
  • Welcome offer: 0% APR on purchases for the first year and 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 21 months

Citi Diamond Preferred is a physical MasterCard credit card with a virtual card option. This card is for those who want to transfer their balance, offering a 0% APR on the first 21 months preceding the first transfer. However, you’ll pay a fee of 5% of the amount transferred ($5 minimum fee).

You also get 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months. Apart from this, the card includes free access to your FICO score, which you can check as often as you like, and access to Citi Entertainment, which we briefly covered in the preceding card.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card also includes Purchase Protection to help you put your mind at rest that you’re covered with this protection.

Capital One Venture One

  • Yearly fee: $0
  • APR: 16.49%-26.49%
  • Cash back: Earns points
  • Welcome offer: Spend $500 in the first three months to earn 20,000 bonus points

Capital One’s Venture One credit card is designed for the traveler willing to earn fewer points for not having to pay a yearly fee. You’ll earn 5x points when booking hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel; however, all other purchases will only earn you 1.25 miles per dollar.

If you spend $500 in the first three months, you’ll earn a bonus worth 20,000 miles. APR is also set at 0% for the first 15 months for purchases and balance transfers. Should you require a cash advance, the APR is 26.49%. However, this may vary depending on the Prime Rate.

If you don’t travel, you may redeem points in other ways. Available options include gift cards, account credit, or cash in the form of a check.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

  • Yearly fee: $95
  • APR: 16.24%-26.24%
  • Cash back: 1%-6%
  • Welcome offer: $350 statement credit when spending $3,000 in the first six months

Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred Card offers a tiered cashback system across various purchases. You get 6% cash back on groceries from US supermarkets on the first $6,000 and 1% after that, 6% on streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit and gas, and 1% on all other purchases.

You can also get up to $120 per year in Equinox+ credit and insurance on car rental loss and damage when traveling.

You can easily check if you pre-qualify online; the application decision takes half a minute. Once you get the account, you will also be able to use the bank’s virtual credit cards.

American Express Gold

  • Yearly fee: $250
  • APR: 18.24%-25.24%
  • Cash back: Earns points
  • Welcome offer: 75,000 Membership Rewards Points when spending $4,000 in the first six months

The American Express Gold Card is a credit card that packs quite a few perks. You can get up to $120 per year in dining credit when ordering from eligible restaurants and up to $120 per year in Uber Cash. Instead of cashback, the Gold Card earns you points with 4X points rewards on restaurants and groceries, and 3X points on flights, while all other eligible purchases earn 1X.

You can redeem points in a variety of ways, including gift cards, a statement credit, and purchase payments, among other things.

When it comes to repayments, the card offers several options, including Pay Over Time and Plan It, to help you better manage your finances without breaking the bank.

Amazon Store Card

  • Yearly fee: $0
  • APR: 27.49%
  • Cash back: 5% at amazon.com and up to 15% on select promotions
  • Welcome offer: $10 Amazon gift card

The Amazon Store Card is a card that is designed for Amazon customers. It has no annual fee and 0% APR when paying monthly for qualifying purchases. You will also earn 5% back on Amazon purchases when joining Prime.

The Amazon Store card includes promotional financing offers where you can choose between monthly payments or special financing. Both options have terms and limitations depending on how much money you need and how long you would like to pay everything back.

You can only use the card at Amazon and its sub-brands, including AWS, Audible, and several others.

How Virtual Credit Cards Work

A virtual credit card is a credit card that is tied to your credit card account but behaves as a completely separate card. Since it is virtual, there is no physical card. Instead, the card lives inside your mobile banking app or internet banking portal.

Think of virtual credit cards as photos stored on a smartphone. Although you don’t have a physical photo printed on paper, the photo is still there, virtually. The same concept applies to virtual credit cards. They are as real as a photo stored on your phone, but you can’t physically hold them in your hands.

How to use virtual credit cards:

Whether online shopping or making bill payments, these cards offer real-time payments with no hassle and are accepted by all retailers that normally accept credit cards.

You can use virtual cards to make online purchases, and you may even be able to use them at a point-of-sale terminal if your phone has an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip and your bank supports it. You might have to register your card with Apple Pay to take advantage of this feature.

As you might imagine, you can’t use virtual credit cards to withdraw cash from an ATM – and similarly, not all retail point-of-sales might accept them.

You might encounter some issues if you use your virtual card to make a booking and then have to use that same card at the location for verification purposes. In such cases, it’s always a good idea to call or email the location and verify if this is fine to do so.

If you experience trouble setting up or finding your virtual credit card, check the bank’s website for support documentation or call them.

Pros & Cons of Virtual Credit Cards

Pros:
  • Cannot be lost, stolen, or misplaced
  • Instant approval and access to funds
  • Many cards carry liability insurance
Cons:
  • ATM withdrawals and retail card payments are a no-go. There might be some exceptions where NFC is used.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a virtual credit card?

A virtual credit card is a credit card with a card number, CV2 number, and expiration date that’s only accessible through an app. It is tied to your credit card account and follows the same rules, including any spending limits and credit limits.

Since there is no physical card, you can dispose of virtual credit cards after each use, removing the risk of credit card theft and fraud since the card would no longer exist. The bank with then issue you a new virtual credit card free of charge.

How do I get an instant virtual credit card?

Applying for a virtual credit often follows the same process as applying for a traditional card. Frequently, you have to apply for a physical card to get access to a virtual card.

First, provide your personal information, then the bank will check your credit score to see if you qualify. Fees and pricing might apply, be mindful when applying for a card by reading the schedule of fees.

Once your application is approved, you can enroll for the virtual credit card with the credit card provider’s app. Since no delivery is required and you’re already approved, the bank will set up your virtual card in real-time.