One-time virtual credit card

Virtual credit cards are gaining popularity within the online space, especially for business purposes. Mainly, virtual credit cards help combat credit card fraud, which is one of the leading types of online fraud. Also, virtual credit cards generally offer a more convenient method of making purchases online, including online shopping.

Consequently, many are now looking to use one-time credit cards and one-time virtual credit cards to safeguard financial information.

One-time credit cards offer the best security due to their temporary use, offering as little financial information as possible. Therefore, users are guaranteed maximum online security since they cannot reuse a one-time credit card. Additionally, one-time credit cards are only viable for a limited time before expiring, making them hard to trace.

However, just like any other card, one-time credit cards have advantages and disadvantages useful for the cardholder.

Key Takeaways

·         One-time-use credit cards are very convenient for making online payments

·         You can have multiple one-time-use credit cards that link to your account without leaking any financial information online

·         However, one-time-use credit cards are only limited to online use since you cannot use them for in-store purchases

What are One-time-use Credit Cards?

one-time-use credit card

One-time-use credit cards are often used interchangeably with virtual credit cards since they are used to mean the same thing. However, some virtual credit cards allow users to make multiple online purchases with the same virtual card number. Users can use one-time-use credit cards only for a single transaction before they are disposed of after transactions.

Even merchant-specific cards offer full protection by preventing credit card fraud since scammers cannot steal card information.

One-time-use cards are disposable credit cards that allow users to make an online purchase without reusing the card details. Thus, for every online transaction, users will require new virtual credit card numbers generated by the credit card issuer. You will request the credit card issuer for a new virtual card number which you will enter for online transactions.

You will not disclose any credit card information from your physical card, including the expiration date and security code.

protection against credit card fraud

When you use one-time-use credit cards, you can have several of them linked to your main virtual account. Therefore, you can decide to use merchant-specific cards while purchasing from different types of merchants online. Thus, any time you make transactions from one merchant, you will use the same virtual credit card numbers every time.

If the card number is compromised, a new expiration date and security code generated by the card issuer will replace the previous one.

Another advantage of one-time-use credit cards is that they offer an option for you to set spending limits during transactions. For example, you can insert the exact amount for online or international payments, including shipping. Thus, you will not overspend during transactions, allowing you to limit spending before discarding the card after use.

One-time-use credit cards guarantee online security and convenience in online shopping for users.

How do One-time-use Credit Cards Work?

Before making any online payments, ensure you contact your card issuer to generate a one-time-use virtual credit card number. As you shop online, ensure you enter the virtual credit card number instead of your actual account number when checking out. Thus, you can secure your credit card information by masking it and using a disposable card number.

Ensure you enter the correct virtual card number since every one-time-use virtual credit card number is unique.

physical credit card

You can enter the security code and expiration date of the virtual credit card number while checking out. Some virtual cards offer an authentication process as a security feature to authorize and complete payments. Therefore, your credit card information will remain secure, away from scammers who commit fraud, including identity theft.

Also, you can enjoy the same rewards and benefits you receive when using your physical cards.

Why Use a One-time-use Virtual Credit Card?

One-time-use virtual credit cards have a greater advantage than physical cards online due to their security features. They offer the best security against credit card fraud since users do not need to directly key in their credit card information while making an online purchase. The virtual cards will be discarded after every transaction, and you can request a new one from your credit card issuer.

Therefore, any purchases made online will not trace back to the initial person who is shopping online.

online shopping

Also, you can easily shop online since one-time-use virtual credit cards are convenient. They work the same as a physical card but enter the virtual credit card numbers instead of your credit card details. Thus, it is easy to navigate while making an online purchase for online payments through your existing credit card account.

Online purchases are now quick and easy to manage while remaining safe from credit card fraud.

Once you request a one-time-use virtual credit card, your card issuer will generate it almost instantly. Therefore, you no longer worry about the time taken before making an online purchase as you wait for virtual cards. Most credit card issuers offer virtual credit cards without requiring long application processes.

You are guaranteed a fast response when applying for a virtual credit card, especially with an existing credit card account.

Benefits of a One-time-use Virtual Credit Card

benefits of one-time-use cards

Some of the benefits of using a one-time online credit card include the following:

Online Security

Credit card fraud occurs daily worldwide since anyone with a credit card can be a target of the crime. Using one-time-use virtual cards offers customers a better chance at protecting their credit card information. Credit card issuers will quickly generate a unique virtual credit card number for every online transaction as you shop online.

When you enter the virtual account number, the one-time-use credit card will mask your actual credit card number. Therefore, your credit card information will remain safe from online scammers and hackers.

No Card Loss

The one-time-use virtual credit cards act as digital versions of physical credit cards existing in the digital realm. Therefore, you cannot have a physical copy of your one-time-use virtual credit card during online purchases. Hence, you will no longer worry about losing your card or falling into malicious hands who commit credit card fraud.

If your virtual card is compromised, you can cancel it before its expiration date and receive a new one.

virtual shopping without physical card

Set spending limits

Online shoppers can only use one-time-use virtual credit cards for a single transaction before they are discarded. Therefore, you can control how much you spend by setting limits that allow you to manage your funds. Additionally, you can regulate your subscriptions, which ensures you avoid paying for auto-renewed bills that become out of control.

Thus, you can enjoy a short-term subscription which you pay through your one-time-use virtual credit cards. One-time-use virtual cards offer a sense of control to cardholders as they make online purchases.

No Impact on Your Credit Score

If you regularly open and close a physical card, it will negatively impact your credit score. However, using a one-time-use virtual credit card does not impact your credit score. Credit scores are important when opening a credit card account from your bank or credit union.

Since one-time-use virtual credit cards are temporary, you can apply and cancel as many as possible without consequence. However, you may affect the speed at which you receive virtual cards from your credit card issuer.


You can request a merchant-specific card as you make purchases and online payments to a specific merchant. Therefore, you can use a single one-time-use virtual credit card for a specific merchant at a time. Also, you can set spending limits on a merchant-specific card to avoid overspending while making purchases.

In case of any compromise to your virtual card, you can generate and replace the card at any given time.

merchant-specific cards

Disadvantages of a One-time-use Virtual Credit Card

Limited to Online Use Only

One-time-use virtual credit cards only exist in their digital formats, making it hard to make in-store purchases. Therefore, you are limited to using virtual cards online for online merchants and websites using contactless payment. Even though they are very secure, these virtual cards only serve the online community by offering online security.

Hence, you will need a physical card for any physical purchases or in-store shopping. Additionally, not every website or online shopping platform accepts different types of one-time-use virtual credit cards.

Difficulty in Settling Returns

Sometimes, you may need to return items you bought for various reasons and unavoidable circumstances. Using one-time-use virtual credit cards may cause further complications when trying to get a refund for items. Since the virtual account number is unique, it will differ from the one found on your physical card.

Therefore, the merchant cannot establish whether the customer’s claims are true since the virtual cards are untraceable. Also, booking flights and renting cars with virtual cards is hectic since you cannot retrieve virtual card numbers after they expire.

Difficulty in Maintaining Automatic Bills

You must constantly update your one-time-use virtual credit card when paying for recurring expenses online. Thus, it becomes time-consuming and even tedious since one-time-use virtual credit cards have a shorter expiration date.

How to Get a One-time-use Virtual Credit Card

Visa credit card

The main area you can receive a one-time-use virtual credit card is from your credit card issuer. The banks usually have a Visa network that offers Visa credit cards for use to their customers. You can use the following steps to apply for a one-time-use virtual credit card:

(i)                 Most banks will offer a virtual credit card section on their websites that offer an easy application for cardholders.

(ii)               With an existing credit card account with the bank, you can readily apply for a virtual credit card.

(iii)             After application, you can fill in the necessary personal information, as required by the bank, before approval.

(iv)             For further assistance, contact your bank since not all credit cards can have a virtual card format.

(v)               Once you finalize your application, your one-time-use virtual card will be ready for use in a few minutes

Some of the leading banks that offer one-time-use virtual credit cards include:


Citibank offers one of the best credit cards with affordable fees applied for using the card. The bank has the best options for offering a one-time-use credit card that properly protects financial information. Therefore, you can check which Citibank credit card allows cardholders to access virtual credit card numbers for making an online purchase.

Bank of America

Bank of America offers a variety of physical credit cards with unbeatable rewards programs. Additionally, Bank of America allows cardholders to apply for a virtual card or a virtual credit card number even before the physical card arrives. Therefore, Bank of America is versatile, offering its customers a good and secure means of shopping online.


CapitalOne offers virtual credit card services through its online virtual assistant, Eno, which helps users navigate how to use virtual cards. The virtual assistant is a downloadable program you can find on any browser extension. Thus, you can access a one-time-use virtual credit card number, which the bank offers at a convenient rate.

What To Do if Your Bank Provider Does Not Offer One-time-use Virtual Credit Cards

Sometimes, the credit card you use may lack the option of generating a one-time-use virtual credit card number from the bank. Therefore, you can use other options that are readily available in the market, such as third-party applications. Some of these third-party options do not require users to have an existing credit card account to generate virtual cards.

However, some of these options may be rejected on several online websites and platforms using virtual credit cards.

application for virtual cards

Popular examples of such third-party options for generating a one-time-use credit card include applications such as:

Privacy offers the same features that any bank offers its customers while generating a one-time-use virtual credit card number. Although the application is not free, Privacy allows users to access exclusive features that improve their services. For example, with Privacy, you can have multiple one-time-use virtual credit cards linking to your Privacy account.

Also, you can fund your Privacy account using your bank account or debit card at any given time.


Wise is an application that allows users to access its virtual credit card services worldwide while offering different currencies. Thus, you can have easy and convenient online transactions without exchanging the currency for the one the merchant uses. Also, with Wise, you can freeze your virtual credit card number after using it for transactions, avoiding scammers and hackers online.

Your financial information is safe since nobody can trace your credit card information online.


Blur is one of the most secure virtual card providers since it offers extensive authentication protocols. Therefore, unauthorized transactions will not go through while using Blur’s one-time virtual credit card. Thus, a strongly encrypted password will protect you from private data collection.

Also, you can use Blur to generate virtual credit cards across several devices.

password encryption

Advantages of Using Third-Party Services

·         They are readily available since you need to open an account with the provider

·         Some are free to use and generate virtual credit cards

·         Some do not require an existing credit card account or credit checks to open an account

·         They are very secure and highly encrypted

·         They offer extra services unavailable in banks and other credit card issuers, such as having multiple virtual cards

Disadvantages of Using Third-Party Services

·         Some are expensive since they require users to pay for the virtual credit cards

·         Some do not offer instant one-time-use virtual credit cards, requiring users to wait for approval

What are the Best One-time-use Virtual Credit Card Issuers?

The table below highlights some of the best one-time-use virtual credit card issuers that offer unbeatable services to their consumers:

Bank providers

Third-party providers

1.      Citibank

2.      Bank of America


3.      CapitalOne (Eno Assistant)


Thus, you have various one-time-use virtual credit card providers for all your needs.


One-time-use virtual credit cards are now a common tool to use as you shop online and make an online purchase. Although they are only limited to the online space, these virtual cards offer the best protection against credit card fraud. They work by masking important financial information, especially your credit card information.

Therefore, using a one-time-use credit card guarantees your online security on online websites and platforms.

Your credit card provider will generate a unique virtual account number different from your physical card number. Thus, you will enter your virtual card number to prevent scammers from accessing your real bank information. Every virtual card number will differ from the one used in another transaction.

Using a one-time-use virtual credit card has its fair share of advantages over disadvantages in the online scene.


Who should get a one-time-use credit card?

protection from online scammers

Anyone who does a lot of online shopping and makes online payments through their credit card should apply for one. Whether for business or personal use, one-time-use credit cards offer the best security by protecting cardholders against fraud. Therefore, you will have no risk of coming into contact with online scammers or hackers.

Additionally, you will not need a physical card, saving users from losing a card.

How safe is a one-time-use virtual credit card?

virtual card numbers

It is very safe because you will not be required to enter your credit card information when making online payments. As you check out, ensure you enter your virtual card number instead of your actual number. Also, ensure you request your card issuer to generate a one-time-use virtual credit card before making any online transaction.

How to get the card’s expiration date and security code?

You will have to request your credit card issuer to offer you the virtual card’s expiration date and security code. Normally, the information is generated simultaneously as the virtual card number since it is needed for transactions. However, if you miss such information, feel free to contact your credit card issuer to help solve the problem.

Alternatively, ask the one-time-use credit card issuer to generate another virtual card containing the necessary information.

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