Privacy cards: What they are and how to use them
Essentially a Virtual privacy card allows you to minimize the amount of personally identifiable information you share with places you buy at such as Footlocker, Adidas, Palace, etc. Up until recently, virtual cards could only be provided by a limited number of banks and also have been difficult to use, nowadays new providers of virtual cards make the process relatively simple and easy to use. As a result, you can now use these to limit the amount of info you put online and also enable yourself to check out multiple items using various cards. This is helpful when trying to secure multiple pairs of shoes from sites that only allow single checkouts.
What is a Virtual Privacy Card (VPC)
A privacy card is essentially a temporary card number that a credit or debit card number can be linked to through a website or on a mobile app. These privacy cards are not physical cards but rather card numbers that are linked to a debit card or bank account to use in place of your actual information so it cannot be used if a merchant was to be breached. Virtual payment cards can be utilized for almost all online purchases. Usually, you can set maximum spend or charge limit on the virtual card to prevent yourself from being overcharged from websites you don’t trust. Some virtual cards will also lock to a specific merchant to prevent the card from being used elsewhere if the merchant is breached and your card becomes compromised. Lastly, you can usually close virtual cards relatively quickly in just a few steps through the provider.
How to get and use privacy cards
The main website recommended for use for a VPC would be Privacy.com. The only downside to this site is that they only support US customers at this time. If you’re a US resident you can apply for an account online through the website in a few minutes by providing some basic personal information (name, date of birth, phone number, valid email address, current contact information, and US bank account). The process is free and they do not need a credit check to process your privacy card. They also provide you with the option of regular use and one-time use cards which is a nice option. For non-US residents, there is also another great alternative. Revolut being one for UK people and US people now. Once you have received your VPC number you’re ready to go. Just enter it in as you would a regular card number and match the billing and shipping address you provided for the card and you should be ready to go.