Where can I get a Virtual Debit Card
January 22, 2010 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Is there a bank that offers virtual debit card numbers like the virtual credit card numbers offered by Citi?

When making purchases online, I use Citi's Virtual Credit Card Numbers which provides me with a one time use number. So, if there is a security issue on the other side, they don't get my real credit card number.

I'm trying to use my credit card less and my debit card more, but would like to keep the ability to have one time use card numbers. Is there a bank out there that provides this service?

Also, I've seen Secure Cards from PayPal and it looks like basically the same thing. While I'd prefer to just use my bank that would probably work as well so the follow up is if anyone has any experience with PayPal's Secure Cards.
posted by StimulatingPixels to Work & Money (7 answers total)
You can do this via Paypal, at least for online purchases.

You configure your paypal acocunt to take money from your bank account.
Then you can use the Paypal plug in in the browser to issue a new
card number for each purchase.
posted by digividal at 2:28 PM on January 22, 2010

PayPal has ended the program mentioned above. Boo.

What I did was buy an AMEX gift card: it was the lowest-fee, least hassle way to obtain a credit car number for me. This only works for one particular online purchase, though, not online purchases in general.
posted by lesli212 at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2010

The cheapest way to do things would be to keep the Citi card and its virtual numbers but when you buy something as soon you do so, go to Citi or your bank's website and pay from your checking account. Using a credit card isn't bad. Carrying a balance is. They key is to instantly make a payment to your credit card company and not wait until the bill comes.
posted by birdherder at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2010

When I was searching and saw the links to the PayPal service nothing indicated that it was discontinued and I didn't see anything on their site about it. When searching about the service being discontinued, it becomes clear that it has been and that apparently, there wasn't really much of an announcement about it. Seems like they just kinda pulled it.

With Citi, I pay off my balance every month, I was just hoping that I could find a bank that had the service so that I could even take that out of the loop. It's not that big a deal, but I'd rather remove the credit card from the process altogether so I don't have to worry about making sure I make the payments on time (for example when I'm on vacation).

I'm really surprised that one of the major banks hasn't started this. It seems like it would make a great marketing bullet point and a great way to differentiate from the others. The "We take your online security *very* seriously" point.

I acknowledge that it's a bit of a pain to use the service and adds extra steps, but I'm fine with that for the added security. Maybe the research shows that not enough people would use the service to justify it.

I'll leave this open for a little while longer, and do a little more research myself, but it looks like sticking with Citi is gonna be the way it goes.
posted by StimulatingPixels at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2010

One other note, I found this page about Virtual Visa Debit Cards that are provided from a few vendors, but they all charge a fee. I'm not interested in paying for the privilege of using my money so another requirement here is that it be free.
posted by StimulatingPixels at 4:29 PM on January 22, 2010

so I don't have to worry about making sure I make the payments on time (for example when I'm on vacation).

Citi should have auto-pay. If they don't, the bank where you have your checking account certainly should. This is the 21st century, you don't have to ever worry about making payments on time again.
posted by kindall at 5:46 PM on January 22, 2010

Looking back into the Autopay. I could have sworn that last time I looked they didn't have an option to auto pay the full amount, but that option is there now. So, that solves that.

I still wouldn't mind being able to ditch it all together, but this will work just fine.

Thanks to all.
posted by StimulatingPixels at 6:02 PM on January 22, 2010

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