Virtual Cards, How Do They Work? 

As the world continues to move increasingly into the digital sphere, it should come as no surprise when conversation topics begin to migrate from how long the queue was at the bank to which bank offers the best virtual cards.  

As the physical world moves into digital, you can expect more of these kinds of topics to increase in number and dominance both around the braai at home and by the water cooler at work.  

Yes, virtual cards are now a thing. In fact, they’ve been a thing for quite some time now! We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of Apple Pay or Google Pay, or simply ‘contactless’ payment. You’ve probably been using those methods of payment for a while. But is that the same as using a virtual card?  

Have you been using a virtual card this whole time without knowing it?  

No, you haven’t.  

So, what, then, is a virtual card? And how does it work if it’s not the same as contactless?  

Let’s find out. 

What is a Virtual Card?

In short, a virtual card is the exact same thing as a physical card. So exact, in fact, that a virtual card has its very own unique card number, expiry date, and CVV code. This means that a virtual card is its own card and not a copy.  

This is what makes a virtual card different from the card you would use to make contactless payments. Those cards are digital copies of your physical card that are just stored on your phone. They’ve got the same card number, expiry date, and CVV as your physical card.  

This means that virtual cards could potentially change the game in a big way.  

Pay Online & In-Store

While a virtual card is not the same as a digital card, the method of payment and using a virtual card is, in fact, the same. Virtual cards can be used with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and contactless payments both in-store as well as online.  

This has incredible implications for you regarding safe and secure banking, both from an online perspective as well as a practical one.  

No More Wallet

Probably one of the best things about having a virtual card is that you no longer need to lug a wallet around because your virtual debit or credit card is stored safely on your mobile device.  

Not only do you not need a wallet anymore, but you also have complete control over your virtual card from your phone. This means that you can lock it or unlock it at the click of a button and load money onto it whenever you like.  

This ease of access and control makes virtual cards one of the most promising and exciting developments in the world of finance and money management going forward.  

Virtual Card for a Virtual Future

Virtual cards are available in South Africa, with mainstream banks like Nedbank, Standard Bank and FNB offering their own versions of the new technology. As the future seemingly marches on towards a more and more digital (and virtual) space, look for virtual cards to slowly start replacing physical ones pretty soon.  

Have you got a virtual card yet?