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What is Virtual Credit Card: How to Create a Virtual Credit Card (VCC) in India

Free virtual credit card

No matter how careful we are with credit cards and debit cards, we are still vulnerable to cyber frauds. The risk of falling to the prey of scammers is just there. Is it because we shouldn’t make payment to a person we can’t see? Or is it because there are security loop holes in the websites?

Reasons must be many. But one of the strongest reasons is the way we expose card details whenever we transact online. The same cards which either carries our income or saved money or carries an unsecured loan we’re liable to pay.

So how about using a card, which doesn’t expose the actual details; will that be safe? Yes, these are called Virtual Credit Cards which not only minimize the susceptibility to financial frauds but also offer a much safer way of carrying out online transaction to credit card and debit card holders.

This article is all about Virtual Credit Cards or simply Virtual Cards. Apart from discussing the meaning, features and benefits of VCC it explains how to create a free Virtual Credit Card for your online transactions.

What is Virtual Credit Card?

Virtual Credit Card or VCC is a prepaid card issued on user’s primary card (whether credit or debit card), which is exclusively made for online transaction with complete online security. As the name suggests, VCC doesn’t have any plastic or physical existence, hence there’s no risk of theft, damage, or loss.

Essentially, a Virtual Credit Card is,

  • a onetime use card
  • to be generated for each online transaction you want to perform with it
  • created with a specific amount
  • valid for a specific duration and it automatically expires even if you don’t use it
  • involves no fee
  • only and only for online payment

What is the Basic Concept of Virtual Credit Cards?

Every time we use a credit card or debit card for online transaction, we expose the card details to the payment gateway or online merchant by providing our PIN, CVV, card number, expiry date etc.

But, no matter how strict the payment mechanism is, sharing such sensitive information with a vast space like internet is always risky.

With Virtual Credit cards, you can confidently make online payments without exposing your primary card details. And since these are valid for single use and certain duration, the chance of misuse is reduced to zero.

Virtual Credit Card: How it Works and How to use it?

Creating a Virtual Credit Card is all so simple. In India, there are certain banks and non-bank entities who offer Virtual Credit cards against the primary debit card or credit card of the users. You need to create virtual credit card online sometime around you start buying from websites.

  • Select the product you want to buy on merchant website and select the appropriate payment option.
  • Create the VCC either by logging into bank’s net banking portal or other service providers’ website.
  • Go to the virtual card creation option. Decide the amount of transaction and select the registered debit or credit card from which you want to draw money to your VCC.
  • Follow the steps and complete the process.
  • The Virtual Credit card will then be created with limited amount and validity. It will flash on the webpage with card number, CVV and expiry date mentioned on it.
  • Enter the VCC details in the merchant website and make payment.

Validity of Virtual Credit Card

A Virtual Credit Card is created in real time and it automatically expires within 24 to 48 hours even if it’s not used. If the money in the Virtual Credit Card is not fully utilized, it will be credited to the main card within a period of time as specified in the T&C.

Refund of Payment Made through Virtual Credit Card

In case the merchant has to refund the amount, it will be credited to the source account or primary card as well.

Benefits of Using Virtual Cards for Online Payment

Enhanced Security

The biggest and the foremost advantage of using Virtual Credit Cards (VCC) for online transaction is the security it offers to your primary cards. With VCC you don’t have to expose your real card details; hence the risk of fraud is much less.

Free of Cost

There is no additional charge on creating Virtual Credit Cards by banks. You just need to log in to the net banking and generate it.

Enabled for International Payment

Most of the Virtual Cards can be used at international merchant websites. However, you still need to confirm this with the bank whose credit card or debit card you are using. With regards to international payments, VCC is much safer due to its limited balance and validity.

No Fear of Theft or Loss

Virtual Credit Cards don’t have a physical presence. So you don’t have to worry about it being stolen.

Moving forward, we will discuss the Virtual Card facilities provided banks in India including their individual process of generation.

Free Virtual Credit Card Provided by Banks

Currently in India, there are five banks who are offering Virtual Cards to their customers for free. They are,

State Bank of India- SBI Virtual Card

Kotak Mahindra- Kotak Netc@rd

HDFC Bank- HDFC NetSafe Card

Axis Bank- Axis eShop Card

To use these Virtual Credit Cards, you need their bank account, net banking facility and credit card or debit card.

Again, banks have their own terms and condition. So you have to find out the type of card that has this functionality. For example, currently the VCC offered by Axis bank is only available for their VISA credit card variants and it can be used at merchant websites that accept VISA card.

Besides, if you have a VISA card, you can create a VISA Virtual card and if it’s a MasterCard, the VCC will be a Maestro Virtual Card. When it’s created with your debit card, you call it Virtual Debit Card and when created with credit card, it’s Virtual Credit Card. But, what ever it is, these are widely known as Virtual Credit Card or Virtual Card.

As far as international payment is concerned, most of the VCC’s are enabled for this except for SBI virtual card. State Bank Virtual Card is only valid for domestic transaction.

State Bank of India- SBI Virtual Card

sbi virtual card image

SBI launched its virtual card in April 2012 which can be used at all online merchants in India that accept VISA/MasterCard Debit card as a payment option. This card is only for domestic online transaction. You cannot use it for international payments.

Validity: 48 hours max

Minimum balance and Maximum Balance: Rs.100 – Rs.50,000

Issuance Fee– Nil

How to Create and Use State Bank Virtual Card?

  • Login to SBI online banking accout
  • Click on “e-Card” tab and Select “State Bank Virtual Card” on the left
  • Select the “Generate Virtual Card” tab
  • Select the account where you want to draw money to the VCC and enter the amount between Rs.100 to Rs.50000 in the box given below
  • Tick box to agree the and accept the T&C and click “Generate”
  • An 8-digit OTP will be sent to your mobile number, enter it and confirm the process
  • The Virtual Card will then flash on the screen with all the necessary details
  • If you have selected the product you want to buy on merchant website, click on State Bank Debit Card / Visa Card from the payment options as you proceed to pay
  • Enter the VCC details and 8-digit OTP
  • You will receive an SMS confirming the transaction
  • After this the VCC will expire and can’t be used again
  • If there is any unutilized money left in the VCC, it will be credited to the source account

Recommended: State Bank Virtual Card FAQs and Card Generation Process with Images

Kotak Mahindra Bank- Kotak Netc@rd

Kotak nets@fe card

Kotak Netc@rd, the Virtual Debit Card by Kotak Mahindra bank can be created through debiting your savings or current account. You can use it at any merchant website that accepts VISA cards as a payment option. It can be used for international payment as well.

Validity: within 24 to 48 hours

Minimum balance and Maximum Balance: Rs.100 – Rs.10,000

Issuance Fee– Nil

How to Create and Use Kotak Netc@rd?

  • Log in to your Kotak Mahindra bank net banking portal
  • Click on “Netc@rd” tab from the top-right corner
  • Select the account from which you want to draw money to Netc@rd and enter the amount between Rs.100 to Rs.10000
  • Follow the simple steps written on the page and click ok to generate
  • When the card is created it will show on the screen with card number, CVV, expiry date etc
  • Go to the merchant website, select the goods
  • Select the payment option as VISA Debit Card
  • Make payment
  • If you want buy stuff from international websites where you have to pay in foreign currency, first calculate the Indian rupee equivalent to the foreign currency for that specific transaction amount on the basis of prevailing exchange rate. Enter the equivalent INR amount while generating the Netc@rd.
  • Any unutilized balance will be credited to the account where the money originated from.

Recommended: Kotak Mahindra Bank Netc@rd FAQs

HDFC Bank- HDFC NetSafe Card

hdfc netsafe card

Launched in January 2008, HDFC NetSafe Card is yet another Virutal Card available for Indian users. You can create your HDFC NetSafe Card using your credit card or debit card and use it at any website that accepts VISA/MasterCard as payment option.

With debit cards, you can create up to 5 Virtual Debit cards daily subject to your Point of Sale limit per day and availability of balance in savings or current account. Read more.

Validity: 48 hours max

Maximum Balance

  • For debit cards- depending on the availability of your account balance
  • For Infinite & Regalia credit card- Rs. 150,000
  • Other Credit cards- Rs.75,000

Issuance Fee– Nil

How to Create and Use HDFC NetSafe Card?

  • Login to NetSafe using your user details
  • Select the account or card from which you want to draw money to your Virtual Card and enter the desired amount
  • Follow the steps and click OK to generate
  • The Virtual card will show up on the screen with all the details
  • Or You can download the plug-in which will directly take you to the page for creating NetSafe Card
  • Go to the merchant website and enter the Virtual Card details to confirm the transaction
  • In case you couldn’t use the netSafe Card and the entire balance is unused, it will be credited back to the source credit card at the end of validity period (48 hours). If it was generated from debit card it will take 3 working days to get back to the source account.
  • If the NetSafe Card balance was partially utilized, remaining balance will be credited,
    1. Within 7 days from the date of transaction, if it was created using Credit card
    2. At the end of 35 days from the date of transaction, if it was created using debit card

NetSafe Card FAQs

Axis Bank- Axis eShop Card

axis bank eshop card

Axis Bank eShop Card is a VISA Virtual Credit card which can be used at any online merchant that accepts VISA cards as payment option. You can create your eShop Card with your Axis bank VISA Credit card only. You cannot use MasterCard Variants issued by the bank as of now.

Validity: 48 hours max

Maximum Balance: up to your credit card limit

Issuance Fee– Nil

How to Create and Use Axis eShop Card?

First of all, you have to register for NetSafe Card with your credit card details. For this, go to the Axis bank website, click on “register now” under eShop option. After you complete the required steps, it will generate the eShop login id and password.

  • Log in to eShop using the details.
  • Select the previously registered credit card from which you want to transfer money to your eShop card.
  • Enter the amount and generate the card.
  • Or you can download the Netbuy Plug-in to launch the eShop card page directly on the screen
  • Once the eShop card is generated it will flash on the screen with all the necessary details. Click here for demo.
  • Use the details in the merchant website and confirm the transaction
  • For more details, go to the demo page of eShop.
  • If the eShop card is completely unused, the balance will be credit to the source card at the end of validity period.
  • If it is partially used, it will take 7 days to get back.

Recommended: Axis Bank eShop Card FAQs.

So, this is all about the VCCs provided by banks in India, where you are supposed to have an account as well as debit card or credit card of the respective banks in order to generate the virtual card. As far as international payment is concerned, none of the websites mentions it. It is Kotak Netc@rd alone, that offers some hints regarding payment in foreign currency.

However, there are other virtual card providers in India, who allow any debit card or credit card users and account holders to get their registration and generate a Virtual Credit Card. These service providers are basically e Wallet apps and non-bank websites. Some e Wallets are associated with banks whereas others are independent yet popular and trusted. Here we have some of the most popular apps/eWallets and wesbites that offer virtual cards.

Virtual Cards Provided by E Wallets and Non-Banks

1.FreeCharge Go MasterCard

Popular online recharge platform and mobile wallet, FreeCharge launched its Virtual card ‘Go MasterCard’ in partnership with Yes Bank and MasterCard in January 2016.

To generate Go MasterCard, login to your FreeCharge account through the website or mobile app. Click on ‘FreeCharge Go’ from the left and generate your mPIN. After entering the mPIN, you can have all the details of ‘FreeCharge Go MasterCard’ which you can use for online payments anywhere in India. You can top up the card by adding money to your FreeCharge Wallet from your stored bank account or cards. FAQs

2.Pocket Wallet by ICICI

Pockets mobile app is a digital wallet launched by ICICI in February 2015 which can be used for a multitude of financial services even by those who don’t have account with ICICI bank. The non-ICICI bank account holders can download the app from Google Play Store or iOS App Store and register themselves. Whereas ICICI account holders can use the same user credential of their net banking to complete the registration.

The Pockets wallet comes with a Virtual Prepaid VISA Card which shows on the dashboard. You can use the Virtual VISA card for online shopping in any ecommerce website in India. However, you can request a physical prepaid card to use with the Pockets wallet.

Learn More.

3.Lime Wallet by Axis Bank

The Lime Wallet app by Axis bank was launched in September 2015 for both account and non-account holders. The app allows you to create a prepaid card, which you can use for online shopping. The balance in the Lime wallet is the amount available in the prepaid card for online transaction. However, the bank is planning to offer physical cards for the users. But currently this is not live. FAQs

4.Entropay

Entropay offers an easy and convenient solution to your online payment through Virtual VISA prepaid card, which lets you pay online or over the phone. It has no monthly or annual charges. However, Entropay charges 4.95% on each amount transferred into the Entropay Virtual VISA card. Register for Entropay account and verify your credentials. Once you are registered, you can transfer funds to your Entropay Virtual VISA card from your personal credit card or debit card. FAQs

5.Payoneer

Payoneer is an online money transfer and eCommerce payment service provider that operates globally. Although this is a very good alternative to PayPal in India, the virtual card service is not available for all the users. Only the select Payoneer Mass Payout companies who payout at least $10,000 to its beneficiaries each month can avail the Virtual MasterCard facility of the company. Read the FAQs.

6.Oxigen Wallet

Oxigen wallet is India’s first non-bank wallet approved by RBI that allows its users to create Virtual Cards apart from offering instant money transfer facility. The Virtual Visa Prepaid card by Oxigen was launched in January 2016 to enable users make transaction on merchant websites without exposing their actual card details.

You can create VISA prepaid cards of Oxigen Wallet for every transaction you make on websites like Flipkart, Amazon and Uber who use the Wallet. You can also use them on merchant websites who accept VISA card as payment option. Further, you can draw money from the Oxigen wallet and put them in the VISA prepaid card.

Recommended Reading: Oxigen Wallet launches mobile virtual prepaid cards powered by Visa

So, here is everything you wanted to know about Virtual Credit Card in India. Virtual cards have emerged as an advanced and secure way of online payment over the past two or three years. Especially in India, where the market absorption of virtual card and wallet service providers is quite low, the growing popularity of these options is indicative of them becoming the future of online payment facility in the country. However, as we keep up with advanced technology, we should also become more responsible and alert regarding the way we spend our money. Before using Virtual Cards, please read the term and condition properly in order to avoid confusions in future.

6 Comments

  1. Mukesh

    Hello, thanks for this wonderful list. Now i can buy products online in secure way.

  2. Sharad

    Hi,
    Very well written.
    If possible please add a comparison table at the end, comparing fees, International/domestic support etc.

  3. SAMIR NAHAKA

    Hello mam, I am suffering from a problem regarding my bank account/debit card/virtual card/Paypal account; that I am availed of a visa debit card from my STATE BANK OF INDIA, which is incapable of international online transactions, not accepted by Paypal, even I can not top up my entropay virtual visa card with. I tried to top up my entropay VCC with this visa debit card for several times , OTP generated but transactions failed. I asked my bank of this issue, and my bank suggested me to apply for another card- a GLOBAL CARD. But it will take a long time to process to issue to finally to reach to me, almost it will obviously take a month! And I do need a card capable of either to assist me with my entropay VCC, or to link my Paypal account, in no time. My bank is not able as well, to make a SWIFT transaction sothat I can top up my entrpay VCC. What should I do in this respect? can I use my brother’s HDFC Plattinum debit card to top up my entropay virtual card? Can you please guide me in this issues of mine?

    • I think you can do that although I’ve never tried it myself. However, Entropay may charge a fee (4.95%) for loading funds using a credit card. You might want to check with their support just to be sure.

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