More and more people shop 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 in entering bank details on an online platform. As an alternative to ‘transfer’ our credit or debit card data, there is the option of using a virtual card. A prepaid card that is specifically designed for online payments and purchases, 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 users’ bank details are not processed or stored by sellers but by companies that are dedicated solely to working as a ‘bridge’ between buyer and seller. And on these platforms, it is usual to have encryption on the servers so that the exchange traffic with the client is safe and private.
To what extent are payment platforms safe to enter our bank details, credit or debit card
Despite this, there are phishing attacks. An attacker tricks the customer with a payment form that is not that of the store, or that of the secure payment platform, so that they enter their bank details in it. With the appearance of a lawful form, the user’s payment data is collected and, of course, stolen and stored on remote servers for various issues. Even in 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.
Why a virtual card, or a prepaid card, are the perfect solution for online purchases
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, which are the necessary and essential data to operate normally on 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.
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The great advantage of prepaid cards is that the funds are limited. The customer is the one who ‘manually reloads’ the card balance and chooses the maximum available at all times. It is not directly linked to our checking or savings account, so that in the event of a third party attack, 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 the event of an online attack, we could only steal those 50 euros regardless of the balance available in our current account or in our savings account.
It works in a way like a debit card, as only the loaded balance will be available at all times. No more balance can be made available at any time or under any circumstance, either deferred or direct. 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 through the Internet and immediately, both for top-ups, for cancellations and other operations.
The virtual cards and prepaid cards that you can hire to make online purchases safely
There are dozens of options within our reach 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 own particularities, starting with physical support or availability only in virtual format. The main national banks have at least one option, mostly, but there are also solutions independent of fintech companies. These that we show you below are all the virtual cards and prepaid cards that you can find, with their main conditions, advantages and disadvantages to buy online safely.
By creating an account with Bnext we can have your virtual card, which is not a prepaid card as such, but works in a very similar way. Income can be made by bank transfer or with another credit or debit card. From 0 euros onwards with income, and from 25 euros if it is with another card. The card issuer is VISA and the fee is 0 euros for the first year, plus there is no renewal fee. In this case the limit is 2,000 euros per month in payments with non-euro currencies, and the commissions are 1.4% from 500 euros with three free withdrawals per month.
Bankia offers prepaid top-ups of a maximum of 1,500 euros, without fees or commissions. The maximum amount per recharge is 1,500 euros, but the maximum cost is unlimited, so that several recharges can be made for Internet payments of higher amounts. Only Internet purchases are possible with it, as it does not have physical support. Top-ups are free and, for Bankia customers, top-ups can be done instantly and directly from other bank and financial products and services of the entity.
BBVA Wallet also works as a virtual card in prepaid mode, with a maximum limit of 600 euros and the requirement of having a BBVA account as a holder. It has no commissions of any kind, nor fees, its issuer is VISA and the minimum recharge is 6 euros. One of its advantages, compared to other prepaid virtual cards, is that it has insurance against robbery at ATMs. Like the others, it can be managed completely from the mobile, and it does not have physical support.
BBVA Card Before
The Before BBVA card has no spending limit beyond the top-ups that are carried out, its issuer is VISA and there are no annual fees for issuance or maintenance costs. It also has insurance against possible robbery at the ATM and has a protection system against fraudulent use. As in all BBVA virtual and prepaid cards, it is necessary to be a customer of the entity in order to have the product. The advantage is that in this we do have physical support to pay in physical stores and for withdrawals in the ATM network.
BBVA Virtual Card
The BBVA Virtual Card does not have physical support, therefore it is valid only for purchases over the Internet. The maximum limit for top-ups is 600 euros through ATMs, by phone, online, at BBVA branches and through the entity’s apps. This virtual prepaid card has a card number, expiration date and CVV to operate normally in online purchases and does not carry any type of maintenance fee or commission. For hiring, an email address and a personal identifier number are required for it.
Aspects to consider
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
Prepaid cards may or may not have physical support. In the second case they will be virtual prepaid cards. Those that have physical support give us the possibility to pay in physical establishments and shops, while those that are limited to virtual support will not give us the same freedoms. In some cases, virtual support linked to apps and mobile payment platforms will allow us to pay in physical stores.