More and more people make their purchases online; Those who resist doing so, for the most part, are because they distrust the security of this type of transaction. The biggest problem, or the biggest fear, is entering bank details on an online platform. As an alternative to ‘transferring’ our credit or debit card details, there is the option of using a virtual card. A prepaid card that is specifically designed for payments and purchases over the Internet, and that offers users a series of additional security measures for this.
Online stores use – or should – secure payment platforms that are managed by third parties. These payment platforms are not typical of online stores, but of companies specifically dedicated to it. This means that the bank details of the users are not processed or stored by the sellers but by companies that are dedicated solely to working as a ‘bridge’ between the buyer and the seller. And on these platforms, the usual thing is that there is encryption on the servers so that the exchange traffic with the client is secure and private.
Security on payment platforms
Despite this above, there are phishing attacks. An attacker tricks the customer with a payment form that is not the one from the store, or the one from the secure payment platform, into entering their bank details in it. With the appearance of a lawful form, the user’s payment details are collected and obviously stolen and stored on remote servers for various purposes. Even in the face of this type of attack, a virtual card or a prepaid card for online purchases would be an exceptional security measure because it would prevent access to our checking or savings account.
A virtual card, or a prepaid card, is not a physical card. But it does offer the customer and consumer a number, an expiration date and the corresponding security code. This security code can be gotten through CVV Shop, which is the necessary and essential data to operate normally in Internet purchases. As long as there is no physical card, it cannot be purchased in physical stores unless the card is linked to mobile payment platforms such as Google Pay, Apple Pay and the like.
The great advantage of prepaid cards is that funds are limited. The customer is the one who ‘recharges’ the card balance manually and chooses the maximum available at all times. It is not directly linked to our checking account or our savings account, in such a way that in the event of an attack by a third party, only the available balance charged by the client could be accessed. If we want to make a purchase of 50 euros, for example, only 50 euros can be charged for a one-time purchase and, in case of an online attack, only those 50 euros could be stolen from us regardless of the available balance in our checking account or in our savings account.
It works somewhat like a debit card, in that only the loaded balance will be available at all times. No more balance can be made available at any time or under any circumstances, either postponed or directly. And the most important thing is that, as we said, there is no link with the rest of our banking or financial products or services. In addition, the management and administration of the card is via the Internet and immediately, both for recharges and for cancellations and other operations.
What to look for?
The first thing to keep in mind is that a prepaid card is not necessarily a virtual card, and vice versa. A prepaid card is one that is not directly associated with a bank account and, therefore, has a limited balance charged by the customer. You can only have this limited balance, although you can make as many recharges as you want, taking into account the amounts to which the entity that manages it can limit us.
- Physical support or virtual support
The prepaid cards can count or not with hardware. In the second case, they will be virtual prepaid cards. Those that have physical support give us the possibility of paying in physical establishments and shops in a typical way, while those that are limited to virtual support will not give us the same freedoms. In some cases, the virtual support linked to apps and mobile payment platforms will allow us to pay in physical stores.
- Expenses, commissions, and fees
We must review the cost of hiring, maintenance expenses, and commissions for the various operations that we can carry out. Some are free to hire and maintain or renew, and have no costs associated with recharging. Others, however, will entail various expenses in this type of operation. Therefore, when choosing a prepaid card, or a virtual card, it is crucial to review the expenses associated with the operations.
- Extra features
It is possible that you need not only allow us to pay online and make purchases online because PayPal already exists for that. There are prepaid cards that allow us much more, such as withdrawals at ATMs or payment in establishments, but also allow us to send money to friends or family using the applications, etc.
Cards not associated with a bank
There are dozens of options at our disposal if we are looking for a prepaid card or a virtual card with which to make our purchases online safely. Each of them has its peculiarities, starting with the physical support or the availability only in virtual format. The main national banks have at least one option, mostly, but there are also independent solutions from fintech companies.