Posted by Chuck on July 5, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on July 5th, 2017 | by Chuck

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List of Banks Offering Virtual Account Numbers

Some banks offer a Virtual Account Number feature which allows us to generate an unlimited amount of credit card numbers tied to a single card account. The idea is to use a temporary virtual number for any online or phone transactions where you want create limits or protect yourself from fraud.

Below is a list of all known banks and cards that offer such a feature.

Prefatory Notes

Just a few things to keep in mind before using the virtual number option:

  • Returns: Any returns should be able to go back on the virtual card (and then back to the main account), but beware that this will only work while the card number if valid. If you gave the card a 2 month limit, and you initiate a return after that time, the card number probably won’t work for the return and you’ll have to ask the retailer to put it back on a different card. Hopefully they’ll be willing to do so. Also, if you do an in-store return they might occasionally ask to see the card, and a virtual card could complicate things.
  • Store Pickup: Beware of using them for store pickup purchases since occasionally the retailer asks to see the card for verification.
  • Car rental, Hotels, Tickets:  You might need to show a physical card at the car rental, hotel, and similar purchases.
  • Reconciliation: If you use virtual card numbers often, it can become difficult to track your purchases since you won’t recognize the card number as your own.

One final note, some people mention that the virtual account numbers sometimes work past when they are supposed to (we’ve heard this only regarding Bank of America). They do this for your benefit (e.g. to allow a recurring charge to continue), but it’s actually to your detriment in a scenario that you got the virtual number specifically to ensure those future charges don’t hit the account.

Bank of America

Bank of America offers virtual card numbers with their ShopSafe program. They only offer this on Visa and Mastercards, not Amex cards.

To find it in your login, select the card to get to the Account Activity page, and then you’ll see the ShopSafe option at the bottom-right. Choose the correct card, and specify how much the dollar limit and time limit on the card. Max 12 months.

Capital One

Capital One also offers a virtual account number called Capital One Go. As I understand, it works for recurring charges as well, not limited to 12 months.

Citi

Citi offers virtual account numbers (Link). You can find it under the Card Benefits tab in your login. Use the Advanced Options to specify a dollar limit and a time limit to the virtual account number. Max 12 months.

Netspend

Netspend is a known issuer of prepaid cards. They offer virtual account numbers on the associated debit card.

Smaller Companies

There are a number of smaller companies who built businesses around the virtual account number idea. I haven’t researched these companies to know if they are safe and worth using, but here are the one’s I’ve found:

Issuers who Don’t Offer VAN

  • Amex used to offer virtual account numbers, but stopped in 2004
  • Discover discontinued their program in 2014
  • Chase and Wells Fargo don’t offer a VAN feature
  • US Bank doesn’t offer it with their traditional credit cards, though they do have some sort of business program which runs on virtual account/card numbers

Instant Number with Credit Approval

The primary focus of this post is on card issuers who offer a special feature to be able to continuously generate temporary card numbers upon request. Somewhat related: there are some card issuers who offer an instant card number upon card approval. These are also a virtual card number meant for online use until the physical card comes in the mail. See List of Credit Cards that Issue an Instant Card Number Upon Approval for a complete rundown on this option.

Wrap Up

Virtual account numbers can be useful in various circumstances, whether for security reasons or when you want to control a specific charge. Let us know if you’ve seen the feature elsewhere and we’ll add it to the post.



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007
007

Thanks, Chuck!

Just FYI, I use privacy.com quite a bit, as it is one of the few Visa virtual CC options (Citi is Mastercard only, I believe BoA is as well; I don’t really trust NetSpend too much to “get thing right” so haven’t used their virtual CC numbers).

It deducts directly from your bank account, but I use a secondary one that alerts me via email for ALL transactions, so not too worried.

The default (“only” publicly available option) is to link via bank username/password, which some people might not like.

They actually DO have a routing/account number linkage option, but you have to email them to get access (I had to do this as my Ally credentials stopped working for privacy.com for some reason).

Mainly, I use the privacy.com for some Swagbucks deals, that, for whatever reason, block MasterCard virtual CC numbers (I have yet to find any site that blocks privacy.com’s). Definitely recommend privacy.com for such situations, especially if you have a secondary bank account (not that I have any reason to think that linking them to main bank account is unsafe per se, but I don’t really trust any company with my primary bank account).

007
007

P.s. Also, privacy.com is completely free.

With that said, bc they are free, their terms do state that they might, e.g., limit the number of cards you can create in a certain amount of time for a given merchant to avoid you being able to take advantage of unlimited “free trials” with a merchant. Citi definitely has no such limits.

G
G

privacy isnt free. they tack a charge onto your final payment

007
007

Not my experience.

Charles Davis
Charles Davis

Zero fees ever.

Nobody
Nobody

I believe Citi also offers virtual cc on Visa…At least on my old Forward card.

007
007

That is definitely be good to know.

I guess both of my Citi cards are MasterCards, so I was taking my data from the following on Wikipedia, which makes it seem MC only:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_payment_number#Mastercard

One additional advantage of privacy.com (and why they probably say they will limit you in signing up for free trials with new cards for a single merchant multiple times) is you can use ANY name and billing address for the card, which I don’t believe is true for Citi (but haven’t tested extensively).

G
G

Privacy.com sucks. SudoPay is alright. Entropay works fine and also AkimboCard is awesome for Virtual Cards and Virtal Gift cards.

Charles Davis
Charles Davis

That’s not who sucks. Privacy is great, compared to sudopay (offline until further notice), entropay (onerous fees), akimbo(substantial fees).

Charles Davis
Charles Davis

You’re not only trolling in your various posts, you’re giving out false info and dubious advice.

Scott
Scott

If you have a Citi Visa the virtual account number is a Visa number; if you have a Citi MasterCard the virtual number is a MasterCard number.

007
007

I see. I only have MasterCards with Citi. Thank you for the clarification.

James
James

I use Citi’s all the time to do those free trial offers on Swagbucks for easy money. I just make a card with a $1 limit and do a bunch.

Bob
Bob

So my friend used BoA’s virtual account number to subscribe to a free trial and then immediately cancelled that virtual number after thinking he doesn’t need to worry about cancelling auto renewal. However, he still got charged for the auto renewal and apparently merchants can still charge for recurring charges back to the original account even if the card has a different number.

J. Grant
J. Grant

Nothing gets charged to a card that was “lost”, which was then replaced by the bank with a new card with a new #.

007
007

FYI, at least per Citi customer service, this is not true.

I have specifically had an issue with a very large and respected company that messed up and made a duplicate charge for something. I reported my card as stolen, and was specifically told by the Citi rep that certain merchants can still charge to the old CC number in this case (I guess if the company is large enough and has the “trust” of Citi).

az
az

Square Cash provide Visa number as well.

007
007

FWIW, it looks like privacy.com now has a referral program.

If I understand it correctly, anyone who signs up with a referral link gets $5 free to spend anywhere. The person whose referral link they use also gets $5 to spend anywhere.

Again, you have to link your bank account, and the default way (unless you contact support, which I have done) is by providing your bank login & password, although I believe they use a 3rd party intermediary for this (I have done this as well but use a 2nd-ary bank account that I use for this, Target debit RedCard, etc. that has a low balance and instant notifications for ALL transactions).

Just FYI.

TG
TG

Lesson learned: BoA allows merchants to continue charging your VCC above the limit. I subscribed to a trial and forgot to cancel it and BoA happily allowed the renewal to go through even though it went past the card’s limit. Citi on the other hand declined the transaction.

Only a few bucks so it’s not worth fighting it but now I know not to use BoA.

Bryan Bass
Bryan Bass

Does Chase Bank offer virtual cards?

Dheeraj
Dheeraj

They don’t. Just verified this today.

Torsten

I think Final and GlobalVCard are gone now.

Jim Van Zandt
Jim Van Zandt

I have a Master Card from Citi, and have been using their VANs for some time. Very convenient. However, their web page uses Flash, and several of my computer/browser combinations no longer work. Chrome is deprecating Flash, and even Adobe plans to stop supporting it. I’d appreciate info on which vendors do not use Flash, or have plans to migrate away from it.

Ismael
Ismael

This is highly relevant. I would like to know of a solution if one has found it.

Ismael
Ismael

What happened to BoA’s Shopsafe? I no longer see it on my account page.

wesz
wesz

What about using fake generated cards?

Robert Foster
Robert Foster

BofA ShopSafe is not working properly. When I create a virtual number I find that it now defaults to my regular cc number. That is the number the merchant currently ‘sees.’ I like to use ShopSafe for added security and to prevent some merchants from auto-billing me. They will do it automatically and the cancel option can often be a lengthy and unpleasant process.

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