Virtual cards: Everything there is to know about them and how they work

written on December 23, 2021

Thought that getting off the sofa to grab your wallet and retrieve your debit or credit card to shop online offers convenience and comfort? Imagine not having to budge from there at all. From streamlining the payment process to improving cash management and protecting you from hackers who can get access to your money and turn an online shopping spree into a data breach tragedy, there are many benefits to using a virtual card.

Have a look at what it is and how it works and why it should become your go-to alternative when paying online.

What exactly is a virtual card and how does it work?

Just like your normal physical card, a virtual card is usually a VISA or a Mastercard that can be used for physical or online payments. Because it’s not a physical card, you cannot tap it at POS terminals in shops, restaurants, public transport and any other establishment, but you can use it just like a traditional debit card to pay for all sorts of services and products, such as food delivery or at retail stores. And just like your normal card, a digital card features your name, a 16-digit number, expiration date and a security CVV/CVC code.

Depending on the provider, these can be permanent and long-term. However, they also come in a more temporary and one-time use variety. Also known as disposable cards, each time you need to make a payment, the system will instantly detect the transaction and will then automatically destroy those card details. When it’s time for you to make another online purchase, new card details will be generated.

Are virtual cards better than physical ones?

If you tend to be the ultimate online shopaholic, your digital card is perfect for these types of transactions. Not only will you be able to use it online just a few minutes after you create your account, but you’ll also enjoy more flexibility and a better follow-up for your online purchases whether recurring or on-offs.

However, as mentioned above, virtual card cannot be used with physical payment terminals and for this reason, it might be a good idea to have both a virtual and a physical card. In this way you can use each depending on the type of payment you need to make, be it in-store or online.

What are the benefits of using a virtual card?

No cost

You know that €5 your typical brick-and-mortar bank charges you every year for using your card? Virtual cards come at no cost. With no physical carrier to produce the card, emboss details on it and ship it to you, a virtual card is basically free. Plus, it can be issued instantly and accessed immediately online.


Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of a virtual card is that it can reduce the risk of you becoming a fraud victim. When you use your regular credit card to shop online in dubious-looking websites, you automatically hand out everything fraudsters need to steal your information and make unauthorised purchases with your money. This, of course, is less likely to happen if you’re buying stuff from a trusted retailer that uses a secure payment processing service, however, websites can still get hacked. A virtual debit card is perfect for those who don’t want to provide any card number details or bank account information.

Quick and easy payments

Need to buy that little black dress or pay for that drone with all the works? No need to worry about having your card handy. Just use your phone and do all the shopping you need with just a few taps. Of course, there is the predicament that you might misplace your phone where your virtual card is stored, but no need to worry about that either. Your card will be there in your Moneybase account once your log in from a different device.

More control

To beef up our security features and curb any out of control spending, you can implement controls like blocking, unblocking and cancelling your card whenever you please, while you can also set up customised permissions and restrictions. And with total control of your card in your hands, you can budget much better since you have full visibility of what comes in and what goes out.

Greater mobility

As long as you have your smartphone in your pocket, your virtual card is constantly with you. Pay for goods and services wherever you are across the globe and never have to worry about leaving your physical card behind again.
And if your physical card hasn’t arrived in the post yet, you can still go ahead and make purchases once you have opened a Moneybase account. Activate your account, transfer some funds and shop to your heart's content.

And speaking about opening a Moneybase account, here is a guide of how to go about doing so.

How can I get my Moneybase virtual card?

You get a virtual card automatically once you open and activate your Moneybase account. To view your card, simply head to the ’Cards’ section on the app, select ‘Virtual card’ and tap to activate it.

To use your card just enter the 16-digit card number, together with the expiry and CCV number just as you would with your physical card.

Have you ordered your physical card yet? Here is what you can do with it:

  • ATM Withdrawals: Enjoy free withdrawals from cash machines worldwide.
  • Pay Anywhere: Your card can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, be it online or offline.
  • Contactless Payments: Benefit from super speedy payments literally with just a tap of your card.

Now if you’re worried about your physical card’s security, know that we have implementing rigorous safety features such as making the most of the latest technology to secure our systems and 3D secure authentication, while we have added an embedded microchip within your card.

With great security and privacy benefits, as well as quick and easy online payments with just a few taps, a virtual card is the way to manage your everyday spending.

And remember that if you need a hand with something, you can get in touch with us through the in-app chat or give us a call on +356 25 688 688.

Don’t have Moneybase yet? Download the app to make money simple.

Redefine the way you grow and manage your money today!

Life’s full of mysteries. Your money shouldn’t be one of them.

Redefine the way you grow and manage your money today!

Life’s full of mysteries. Your money shouldn’t be one of them.