Have you ever thought about why you still need to have a physical card to pay for things? Apart from when you take out cash at an ATM, you might not be using your real card much anymore, and instead relying on Apple or Google Pay. And when you’re shopping online, well, that’s all digital anyway.
So, yes, sure, you know how to use your card digitally. But do you know all the things you could do with virtual cards? If not, consider this your introduction.
When you think of what makes up a credit or debit card, you’ve only got a few key features: the card number, expiration date, and security code. The one thing all of those have in common is that they’re just numbers. You don’t need the actual piece of plastic or metal for them. When you pay with that card online, those numbers are transmitted using a secure system powered by the card issuer (for example, the VISA system.)
That’s how a virtual card works. It electronically submits all the same information that your physical card would.
In the Vivid app, you can create a virtual card by scrolling down in the Pockets screen to your cards, and then tapping on “Issue new card”, and then picking a virtual card. Your first virtual card as a Prime member is free, and every card after that costs €1. For standard members, the fee is always €1. You can have up to three virtual cards.
Ok, great, so virtual cards are like physical cards, except they’re not physical. What’s the big deal?
I’ll tell you what the big deal is: you can have as many cards as you want, and create and delete them at will. That means if you want a card for a single purchase, you can do that. If you want a card just for paying Netflix, you can do that too.
You need to stop thinking of a card as this big, permanent thing. A card is now nothing more than a temporary way to pay for something. Sure, you want to keep a physical card with a more permanent number as a main tool. But for everything else, your cards only exist for as long as you want them to.
This leads to one of the best uses for virtual cards. Because you can link a virtual card to a pocket like a physical card, you can set up limits for your cards based on your account. This not only keeps your purchases within limits, but if a hacker gets access to your card details, they can’t get to your main account, only the one you set up for that card. If you’re making a purchase online and want an extra layer of security, this can guarantee your main card details stay safe.
This doesn’t have to be limited to online purchases. Because your virtual card can also be used with Apple Pay and Google Pay, you can set yourself limits on spending categories, or automatically deduct some purchases from specific pockets — a pocket and card for groceries, for example.
There are lots of other uses here: setting up a virtual card and pocket for your child’s app store purchases, for example, which you transfer a monthly allowance into. Or a card for frivolous online shopping that you send a bit of money into every month until you have enough to treat yourself. Whatever it is, your virtual cards are there to unlock your creativity. How far you go with them is up to you.