Posted by Chuck on September 15, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on September 15th, 2019 | by Chuck

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Token App Review: Free Virtual Credit Card Numbers

Below is a guest post from Bill Tomison.

Token App

After the announcement that Bank of America is closing its ShopSafe virtual credit card number program, it’s worth a review of third-party options to generate numbers for spending online or where an extra level of security is preferred. Some of the other big banks continue to offer virtual numbers, (see List of Banks Offering Virtual Account Numbers), but the list is growing shorter.

Another option is an app called Token.

How to Sign Up

Download Token app here; use my referral code WIRTO and you’ll get $5 off your first purchase as well.

Right now, Token primarily operates through the app for iOS or Android. A Chrome browser extension is currently in beta testing.

Token asks for a mobile number, a photo snapped on your phone of your government-issued photo ID (address, full name, date of birth), and a debit or credit card with your listed billing address. For the first card to be verified, they’ll charge the card for a small transaction, you’ll enter the amount in the app for verification, and then the small charge will be refunded.

After you’re verified, cards to put the charges on can be linked by simply entering your name as it appears on the card, the number, and the card’s billing address. You can also link a bank account through the Plaid bank linking program.

Creating a Number

The app’s interface and appearance is pretty simple and clear.

You can create a new number (a “Token”) by tapping a button on the main screen. It will be locked to the first merchant it receives a charge from. (In the case of Netflix, it’ll even show the merchant’s logo.) You can set an optional spending limit – either by transaction or month – and choose which of your payment cards you want charged or bank account to use.

Token requires you to use your real billing address for transactions, but allows you to choose a random name for each new Token if you prefer.

When Token receives a charge, you can get an app notification. You can see activity for the entire app or each individual Token’s activity.

You can “freeze” or delete Tokens whenever you wish, and spending limits or account to use can be changed anytime as mentioned above.

Operating Notes

Token is free; it says it makes money on payment processing fees that are “divided between the payment processing value chain, including Token,” on every transaction.

If you try to use Token for rewards, note that its transactions will be coded as coming from Token, not the merchant. Any rewards/points will appear as a standard charge rather than, for example, an office supply or clothing store.

Token offers no additional rewards/points of its own, as Privacy does.

Wrap Up

Token works well for virtual numbers. If you’re not worried about generating points, it can help on things like meeting minimum transaction amounts per month for debit cards.

Thanks to Bill for the guest post. Hopefully he’ll reply to any questions in the comments as well.



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sam
sam

can this be used to conceal spend for amex at giftcardmall or simon? if the purchase just shows at token, maybe they wont disqualify the spend

N
N

It still shows the name of the merchant on cc statement. Just adds TKN to the front of it.

raekwon
raekwon

Possibly. Token itself disallows transactions from some merchants that might be considered an end-around cash advance fees (for instance, I used to be able to load my Chase Starbucks Prepaid Visa via Token, but then they shut that possibility down), so it’s equally possible that the transaction might not go through at all.

Trevor
Trevor

I assume it would conceal but from what I’ve heard, Token is overly sensitive to risk even with random Amazon purchases. You probably won’t be able to get multiple $200/$500 charges to be approved… especially to a merchant that Token knows as a gift card seller.

Zane
Zane

Doesn’t appear AMEX cards can be linked, just tried. Maybe it’s just me?

raekwon
raekwon

I have two Amex’s linked (both credit). I previously had a Serve and a Bluebird linked as well, but they no longer allow those or any prepaid cards.

Zane
Zane

Interesting, it says only US issued cards are allowed when I attempt to add. Mine is a Delta AMEX Business Plat, having Simon would be nice for the MQD waiver again.

Billbert
Billbert

I have an Amex card linked – a Hilton credit. Search me.

raekwon
raekwon

William Charles Anywhere we can leave our referral codes?

raekwon
raekwon

Been using Token for just over a year now. I prefer it over Privacy due to the fact that it can be used with debit and credit cards and not just bank accounts.

Al
Al

In what ways it is useful for you? Can you provide few example, where it is useful for you specifically? I can always dispute fraudulent charges, if they appear, so maybe there are some hidden jewels I am missing here.. Thanks!

raekwon
raekwon

I use it mostly for recurring charges (subscriptions, etc), and I like the convenience of having one virtual card number for every merchant but not having those numbers permanently locked onto one actual card. For instance, if I need to pay $100 to my cable company but want to split that between my Amex and my Discover, I can do that without having to give my cable company either my Amex or Discover card number. I just set my Token card with them to pay from Amex, pay the first $50, then switch the Token to Discover and pay the other.

I also like being able to freeze Token cards easily. Privacy.com is also good for this, but as has been said in a couple of comments here, Token’s advantage over them is that you can link credit and debit cards (and thus earn rewards), not just bank accounts.

April
April

Al – I specifically do not like using my debit card online. If you have a high yield savings account that requires a certain number of pinless debit card transactions, you can use token for those debit card transactions.

Trevor
Trevor

I like how they bill to a credit card rather than a bank account, so it’s an easy 2% cashback on everything (rather than 1% with hoops to jump through on Privacy). Will be signing up soon.

Sideshowbob233
Sideshowbob233

Useless they decline every fucking transaction. $5 at amazon declined. Support says it has to learn your pattern of spending. Such a pain to have to deal with 50-80% of transactions declining. Under $30 ones too.

Billbert
Billbert

Was this an experience over days or weeks, or were you trying to sign up and use it on the same day?

Sideshowbob233
Sideshowbob233

Over a couple of months. First few weeks were mainly fine. Then they started randomly declining charges and the percent declined kept rising quickly. Reached support and they said some were “high risk” which is like duh, that’s why I’d want to use a virtual number. Last few times I tried I’ve gotten a couple through but they mostly fail. Support is useless.

Samus
Samus

I’m having a problem.

I only have / use a Google Voice number. The Token app doesn’t accept Google Voice numbers. What other option is there? I’m staying overseas this year, but want something like this for shopping online now that SafeShop is dead.

raekwon
raekwon

Try your Google Voice number anyway. Mine worked.

Samus
Samus

oh for real? that’s cool.. I tried mine but didn’t work.. but I have two other old Google Voice numbers that I can try. thanks!

puns4life
puns4life

Which payment network do the generated card numbers run on? I’m assuming either Visa or MC

raekwon
raekwon

MC

Mickey
Mickey

I signed up for it yesterday. It seemed to accept me right away.

First problem encountered: I have my full legal name on my drivers license, but they won’t let me use the shorter version that I use on credit cards and bank accounts.

SideShowBob233
SideShowBob233

Have no fear, next week their support will reply and tell you there’s nothing they can do.

Billbert
Billbert

Is it a difference with middle name vs. middle initial? Or is it like a nickname, like Robert vs. Bob? If the latter… how do you not have ID problems everywhere?! 😆

Tommy
Tommy

Where do you enter the referral code in the app?

Billbert
Billbert

Should be a spot when you are first signing up.

Billbert
Billbert

When you download the app, on the first screen it’ll ask for your mobile number. At the bottom of the screen, easily missed (!), is “I have an invite code.” Tap that and enter the code there.

Zooter
Zooter

This looks like a great way to use an Amex for min spend at an online merchant that only accepts Visa/MC like my health insurance company.

raekwon
raekwon

Got this message when opening the Token app today…

“Some customers may see their transactions getting declined and may not be able to create new cards (tokens) over the next few weeks.

We are aware of the issue and are working on it urgently. If a payment you are attempting to make doesn’t go through, please try again or use an alternate mode of payment.

We are really sorry for the inconvenience caused. Please know that the team is working hard to get this service up and running smoothly again as soon as possible.”

Tried to switch my Netflix account to use a Token card I’d previously used and it did not accept the card number. I hopetthey actually do get things fixed, but I’ve got a not-great feeling.

Billbert
Billbert

Thanks for the heads up. Naturally I didn’t see yours before I added mine…!

Billbert
Billbert

Just got the advisory from Token that they may be having trouble with transactions being declined over the coming weeks. “We are aware of the issue and are working on it urgently… We are really sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

I have no clue if this means bigger problems are afoot. I’ll just be over here clutching my pearls.

raekwon
raekwon

Token is now not allowing me to unfreeze any previously frozen card numbers. (The error message says “please make sure the associated payment method is in good shape,” but every card I try to switch to is in good standing and all give the same message.)

This could possibly be a sign that they’re getting stuff worked out but I’m not getting my hopes up yet.

DealRaider
DealRaider

Is this app dead? It doesn’t show on google play for me (and when i click the link on the page it says a new model android phone isn’t compatible), and when I try to enter the number to send a link to the app, the send button stays greyed out.

raekwon
raekwon

That’s not exactly a good sign.

Josh
Josh

I don’t see it listed in the App Store anymore. It appears to be dead.

Jake
Jake

Between their unresponsive twitter, a customer support email that never responds (I’ve been waiting for a response for over a month now), it missing in the App Store, and the flood of negative reviews in the Google Play Store, as well as the inability to even look at any of my tokens, much less delete them or create new ones, I think they are dead.

However, even if they aren’t, they have bungled this outage so badly, and without any semblance of transparency, that I wouldn’t trust them with anything again. I feel bad for some of the people that had refunds pending which will never come.

raekwon
raekwon

Yeah, I wish they’d just call it dead, allow users to download their statements, and then securely delete all of our data. (I mean, they have our card numbers and/or account numbers.)

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