Posted by Chuck on September 5, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on September 5th, 2019 | by Chuck

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Bank of America Discontinues ‘ShopSafe’ Virtual Credit Card Numbers

Bank of America just sent out an email indicating that, effective September 20, 2019, they are ending the ‘ShopSafe’ program which offers the ability to generate virtual credit card numbers for online use.

We’re committed to providing you the most up-to-date security. As new technology has become available, we have made the decision to retire our online ShopSafe® service on September 20. You may need to update credit card information stored with online merchants.

What is changing?

We remain committed to providing the highest level of security when you transact online with your Bank of America® credit or debit card, and we’re always looking for ways to improve your digital banking experience. On September 20, we are discontinuing our online ShopSafe® service. After this date, you will no longer be able to use this service to create new ShopSafe virtual credit card numbers or make purchases online with saved ShopSafe virtual credit card numbers.

Why the change?

Technology has come a long way since we launched ShopSafe. We believe the wide range of security alerts and best-in-class fraud tools we use today, combined with the availability of digital wallets, provide our customers with an enhanced level of protection and a better user experience.

What do I need to do?

Consider using a digital wallet. Bank of America supports a number of digital wallets that enable you to securely shop online without having to share your credit card account number with merchants. More information on digital wallets.

If you have ShopSafe card numbers saved with online merchants or linked to recurring bill payments, please update with your current credit or debit card information prior to September 20.

I find the move surprising with the increased customer awareness of security issues. I guess only a small client share used the service and they found it cumbersome to maintain.

The only other major banks who continue to offer the virtual account number service are Citi and Capital One, see List of Banks Offering Virtual Account Numbers for more information.

Hat tip to readers R. and J.



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Avi
Avi

The BoA feature used Flash the last time I looked. I always expected them to update it, but maybe they’re just killing it as Flash support is dying.

DeeezNuuts
DeeezNuuts

I think your right on this one. Chrome pretty much killed off flash a month ago with other browsers soon to follow. BofA doesn’t want to spend the money and time converting the Shopsafe portal to be non-flash based, so they decided to kill it off instead

Murdoc
Murdoc

I think BoA barely touched this application since taking it over from the MBNA acquisition almost 15 years ago. I’ll be seeking alternatives to continue having a virtual card option.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Citi offers cards with the same capabilities. We just signed up.

Gerhart
Gerhart

Can you tell me which Citi card that was ? My local branch didn’t know of any with this feature.

XP1
XP1

I think all Citi cards.

EasternTraveler
EasternTraveler

AA cards but you can only do single pay, not recurring.

A Vik
A Vik

When i was using Citi’s VAN (up until about a year ago), recurring payments were fine to pay my home+auto insurance with it.

It was one that accrues AAdvantage miles. Citi made a big mistake when they switched that from Visa to MC (not accepted at Costco stores).

Wyatt
Wyatt

Citi just discontinued VANs on our account a couple weeks ago. I was told by a representative and a supervisor that Citi is doing away with virtual account numbers in general. They did it during the conversion to some new Flex account. With Discover discontinuing them a few years ago and BoA ending them too, it seems like Citi is following along, so the days of Citi’s virtual account numbers are “numbered”.

MB
MB

Citi also uses flash for theirs. I have to jump through 10 hoops to get it to work on Chrome. Hopefully they do not discontinue it too!!

Rebert
Rebert

Citi offers an app to generate the virtual numbers, so there is an alternative to using the Flash-based web tool. [I’m not saying BoA only had the one method for using ShopSafe; I don’t use their app, so not aware.]

Pete
Pete

I don’t think there’s a phone app for this. The alternative is an install that works on windows. And I think that uses Flash as well.

A Vik
A Vik

My guess is that the Flash app used by Citi VAN and BofA SS were the same. BofA added the requirement to specify the CVV practically for every opreation. Some view that as “more secure”, others view it a annoying.

Wyatt
Wyatt

It appear that Citi may be discontinuing them. We just had them discontinued on our AA account during a recent account conversion and was told they would be discontinuing them in general.

Snorlax
Snorlax

IIRC the Citi one is a Java applet, which is also a dead technology, so expect that to go away soon too.

I couldn’t get either Citi’s or BoA’s working.

XP1
XP1

Flash, not Java.

Gigabyte
Gigabyte

Noooo!!!!
I used my BofA CC on subscription deals just because of ShopSafe. No need to remember to call in or go through the hassle from reps. Once these services find out they cannot take your money after several attempts, your subscription is automatically cancelled. It was a great way sign up for those Swagbucks/MyPoints/subscription deals.

RIP

YoniPDX
YoniPDX

I think that Citi Premier still offers it – I was looking at it earlier today before I got the BofA e-mail. I’m trying to think who else offers the Virtual numbers

“Citi card Virtual Account Number instead of your real account number”

@Gigabyte Gigabyte

Jack Jones
Jack Jones

Citibank Double Cash still has it…you can even download the program to your desktop …it is called citi virtual account numbers.

Peek

Yes I’ve used the Citi downloadable app and it works well. Useful for numbers to use on sites for my kids that may try to renew or charge more than once.

Trevor
Trevor

While you’re correct about those services not being able to charge you once the virtual card is closed, keep in mind the merchant may send you to collections if you provided an accurate name and address.

Frank
Frank

^ this. No one seems to understand that “not paying anymore” =/= “cancelling”. They could easily just keep “charging” (particularly for virtual services) and the send it to collections.

Use the virtual card but always make sure you still cancel

Lucian
Lucian

Why would you use your real name/address for a virtual subscription?

XP1
XP1

Will the billing address match VCC?

Gigabyte
Gigabyte

Good point. I’ll have to keep this in mind.

Major Caruncle
Major Caruncle

Exactly!! Me too, it was assuring to know that subscriptions can’t rip you off.

Steve
Steve

I’ve had a BoA card for years expressly because of ShopSafe. Digital wallets don’t give you the ability to set $ limits and expiration per merchant.

tuphat
tuphat

Sucks

Mr G
Mr G

Used it once to buy some shoes from a Chinese site. Handy feature but as others said it’s likely gone because of Flash being discontinued next year.

Trevor
Trevor

I’m so disappointed in this 🙁

Trevor
Trevor

Also 15 days is a very short notice.

Baboa
Baboa

Use Privacy.com instead

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

Looks like that pulls from your bank account directly though?

ChannelZ28
ChannelZ28

With Privacy you basically have an account that you add money to as needed. I dont think they can just pull directly from your bank account.

XP1
XP1

Privacy is not prepaid. It ACH pulls money from a bank account.

Frank
Frank

Yeah, let me just give them my bank login info so I can shop safely?!?!

Madeline Alright
Madeline Alright

Frank

Lucian
Lucian

Just create a bank account with $50 in it. I use privacy.com for a lot of my subscriptions and never had an issue.

XP1
XP1

Privacy limits 5 cards per merchant.

Major Caruncle
Major Caruncle

This was one of the only ways to really feel safe when shopping online. With as much fraud/data breaches going on it’s now NEEDED MORE THAN EVER as things like they claim did not get more secure. Luckily CitiBank still has it, and you can bet they will pick up some of the Bank of America business for situations when it’s an absolute must to have a virtual/temporary credit card number! And BTW their virtual wallet is NOT a substitute as not that many online merchants do that. I can think of one right now..Amazon. Also, virtual numbers protect you from illegal subscription/membership renewals while the Wallet does not.

Madeline Alright
Madeline Alright

Dang, this was literally the only reason why I occasionally use my Bank of America cards for online shopping. :/

Ellen
Ellen

Agree completely. My BOA MasterCard was always a secondary card just so I could use ShopSafe. I prefer to pay online with PayPal but not all sites accept it. BOA’s email says that you can set up a “Virtual Wallet,” but you apparently have to download an App to do so (no online option when you click on the link even though it says you can set one up online). I only make online purchases on my laptop. (Sorry, I’m old fashioned.) Anyhow, I’m really ticked off and am seriously thinking of cancelling the BOA card and opening one with a bank that still offers a virtual number service. When I call to cancel you can bet I’ll tell them why. Thanks for nothing, BOA!

Lady Oz
Lady Oz

Don’t cancel your card, just don’t use it.

Your “older” credit cards are used toward your credit rating. If you cancel a card you’ve had for a long time AND open a new card it will adversely affect your credit rating. So, if your credit rating is important to you, to the best of my knowledge, just starve your BoA card and get your free credit report every year to check that everything is all right (and we should all get our free credit reports each and every year).

I too have used Shop Safe since MBNA developed it at least 25 years ago. When BoA “bought” MBNA that service came along as a benefit. Now, BoA is depriving us of this excellent service, I assume to put more money into their profits.

Best way to punish them is to not use the card again, ever, and if you bank at BoA, close those accounts and take ALL the money you’ve been giving them away.

Ellen
Ellen

Excellent advice. My MasterCard account was also transferred to BOA — didn’t ask for it but decided that a second credit card as a back-up couldn’t hurt. Without Shop Safe I see no reason to keep it but wondered what cancelling it would do to my credit rating. Even after opening an account with CitiBank., which offers virtual credit card numbers, I’ll still keep the BOA card and use it just enough to keep it active. Fortunately I don’t have any other accounts with BOA or, as you said, I’d close them as well. I’m hoping that enough of us will cancel their BOA accounts to let them know that we valued Shop Safe and aren’t happy with BOA for discontinuing it.

TrevorToo
TrevorToo

I have had a few cards cancelled after not using them for a year or so. To keep the card active you have to use it. They were strict about not reactivating it too which was a bit annoying.

Ryan Jackson

Surprised Token hasn’t been discussed as a possible alternative especially since they allow for charges to be passed directly to a debit or credit card without a fee. jointoken.com

Feel free to use invite code “(removed)” and they’ll throw $5 to be used towards purchases made via tokens you create.

William Charles

I’m surprised you thought sharing a referral code would be allowed.

Jenn
Jenn

Great article Chuck!

I’m curious what you think the best credit cards for rewards and cashback are right now? I’ve seen a lot of different opinions and not sure what to believe but It’s almost time for me to apply for a few more in order to build my credit score.

This guy seems to have a really good video about the top ones that he compiled from doing research on reddit, what do you think?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1OPg5PSl9M

Red
Red

Discover also offers virtual CC #’s

Kate
Kate

Which card? I need this pls.

Rebert
Rebert

They do?

Austin
Austin

they used to, but not anymore

Snorlax
Snorlax

They discontinued that in 2014.

EasternTraveler
EasternTraveler

WRONG!!! They haven’t in YEARS

lisa
lisa

I’m really disappointed to hear this, I opened a BOA card just for Shopsafe! Someone mentioned discover does something similar, but I have been reading it was discontinued awhile ago. Which discover cards have something similar to Shopsafe? Also, the CITI double cash back had it, but I’m not seeing it listed as a benefit on the site (it used to be). They talk about having a digital wallet. Any folks know if it’s part of the digital wallet or if it’s still offered and they just don’t mention it?

XP1
XP1

All Citi cards have VCC.

EasternTraveler
EasternTraveler

No they do not! Only some do.

A Vik
A Vik

Before I got a Citi card recently, I asked if I’d be able to use VAN and Citi confirmed.

Received the card about 2 weeks later and found that VAN isn’t a feature of that card.

Pete
Pete

Problems with capital one virtual number: browser plugin needed… and can’t create a number if not on a checkout page .. no way to set limits. In fact, I haven’t been able to specify which card to create the virtual number for. So not a great replacement.

Problems with Citi: also uses Flash.. how long will they keep it around? I’ve had instances where the number simply wasn’t accepted, bot BofA virtual number was. This was probably not a MC/VISA issue.. BofA Shopsafe also had a recurring charge limit feature which Citi doesn’t.

Austin
Austin

Like others here; my MBNA account was acquired by BofA and I kept them solely because of ShopSafe (which they acquired with MBNA), and the occasional place that doesn’t accept my other card. Other problems with BofA: password length cannot be more than 20 characters (Why!?) and password cannot contain a ! (Why!?). Such a shame how many customers BofA will lose because of this decision.

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