Disposable, virtual credit cards. On the internet. Created in less than… 5 minutes? Surely, there must be a trick here, right? Some of you might already be familiar with using virtual credit cards with your bank of choice. Disposable credit cards on the other hand… What’s that all about?
For those out of the loop, a disposable credit card is a payment method you can create online and load with money from another credit card or bank wire. It has real credit card numbers, expiration date, security code, an address and everything else that a “real” credit card might have. Contrary to a regular credit card though, you can set a spending limit and a timer for when that credit card expires and is no longer useful.
So why are burner credit cards useful?
A virtual credit card is the perfect way to make sure your card is only being charged what you load into the card. Getting unexpected charges on your credit card after purchasing some shady software the other day? Netflix doubles its prices from one day to another and decides to start charging you even though you didn’t read the announcement email that got sent to you spam? That kind of thing won’t happen again.
Although they were originally created to fight cybercrime, burner credit cards are useful for a variety of reasons beyond simply that. Use them to make purchases for your clients, use them for discrete purposes and hide your identity, use them to give stipends to other people, or use them to get into free trials that require credit cards to get into. Lots of uses!
Virtual credit cards prevent credit card theft
The most common reason to use virtual credit cards is to prevent credit card theft. Hell, it’s why they were created in the first place. Credit card theft is rampant, and with many online users saving card credentials on their browsers or companies retaining your card info, database thieves have had a blast getting many credit card numbers in a single heist.
Disposable credit cards are great to avoid unlock free trials and avoid unwanted renewal services
One of the many uses for the service is to set a spending limit. Gym memberships are an unfortunately good example of how hidden cancellation fees, price surges and unwanted expenses can surprise you in the worst of ways. By simply setting a spending limit on your card, you can ensure that the charges never go over the specified amount you had in mind. You can also use them to unlock free trials that only work by inputting a working credit card to make sure you aren’t charged immediately after your trial ends. It’s difficult to keep track of when 14 days have passed, trust us, we get it!
Virtual credit cards are great for making purchases for other people
A common real life example of using a disposable credit card in the workplace is purchasing software for your clients. As an example, whenever a client who isn’t tech savvy wants to make a purchase for company laptops, we’ll send a quote with what we need to buy from where, they create a card prepaid with that amount, and share the credit card numbers with us.
This is a way we’ve been able to provide clients with all the support they need without potentially overstepping our boundaries by sharing sensitive company assets. Besides, can you imagine they trouble you could get into if the card info you were trusted with ends up getting hacked. Yeah, no.
Use them with temporary burner emails for the ultimate discrete shopper experience
Temporary emails, like Temp Mail, are emails that are created online that can send and receive emails and then are deleted after a few minutes. They are also a great tool for purchasing software online and making sure your contact info isn’t sold to other companies ready to spam your inbox with unsolicited emails. Use a burner email to set up an account, use a burner card to purchase what you need, and BAM! It’s like you weren’t even there.
Market makers and alternatives
Companies like Privacy.com (can’t even imagine how much they paid for that domain name) are making waves by providing a SaaS like approach to virtual credit card creation, with free plans letting you create up to 12 disposable cards a month and paid plans letting you create 60 credit cards per month and letting you choose how your purchase name shows up on your transaction info. Great for making discrete purchases!
Although alternatives like PayPal exist to provide the same “spend what you load” approach to online purchases, some websites no longer support PayPal directly due to security concerns, just look at this article detailing all the loops you have to go through to spend PayPal money on Amazon. Virtual credit cards are the cleaner, less scammer friendly ways of making purchases online.
How do virtual credit card companies make money?
Most (if not all) of the companies in the space use a pricing strategy based around how many credit cards you wish to create a month. The good thing is, there’s a fair amount of competition out there, which is always good since that means we get free plan tiers on most of them! If you have a big company, and wish to give your employees credit cards prepaid with a stiped as, say, a christmas gift, you can use as many as you need.
Just get creative! Also, here’s $5 for making it to the bottom of the article
There are many uses for virtual credit cards, and the best part is that it’s a ready to use service. You can head out there and try it out for yourself! There are many alternatives out there, but the most popular one, and the one we recommend the most is Privacy.com. We have an affiliate link that gives you $5 for free on your first purchase, and hey, that’s better than nothing. Click here to get your $5 bucks!