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It's hard to forget and impossible to lose: Why you should order a virtual bank card
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
You don't need to come to your bank's office or wait for a courier to order a virtual card—you can get one in just a couple of minutes by making a few clicks on your smartphone. We will tell you how secure such a card is and why we recommend that you use it to pay for online purchases.
A virtual card is actually a set of digits. It doesn't have a physical medium, which means it won't fall out of your wallet, and no one will steal it out of your pocket. Such a card can be automatically issued through an ATM or via online banking.
When you are issued a virtual card through an ATM, you will receive a paper receipt containing the following information: your name, card expiration date and card number, security code, and available balance. If you order a card through the Internet, the same data is displayed on the screen.
You can manage your card through online banking, using the following security measures, which let you:
- restrict amounts to be debit (per day or per month),
- specify a maximum one-off amount to be debited,
- and the regular re-issue of the card (once a month, once a week or even daily—as needed),
- maintain a minimum balance,
- have a card issued for a specific purchase with subsequent blocking.
Depending on the bank, the set of customisable parameters may differ from those provided above: each issuer has its own set.
Virtual cards are recommended for online purchases—just transfer in advance a portion of money to it from your main account. Since you are not leaving the data of your main bank card anywhere, the possibility of it falling into criminals' hands during such a purchase is excluded.
The security of each transaction is guaranteed by the anti-fraud tokenisation technology built into the card. When a payment is made, this technology generates a unique token—a combination of 16 digits that is almost impossible to guess. In addition, there is a two-factor authentication system for online purchases: to complete a transaction, a user must enter the verification code from an SMS message.
Unfortunately, neither a unique token nor two-factor authentication can protect you from cybercriminals when the mobile, to which a confirmation code comes, is infected. If an online banking application is installed on the same device, the payment can be secretly generated by an intruder, and the SMS message can be intercepted. After this, other people can use your virtual card (just as any other card).
At the same time, criminals can steal more than just money from your virtual card account. If your device is compromised, you risk losing all your savings—including those from other accounts.
The Anti-virus Times recommends
- When using a virtual card, resist the temptation to write its information (number, expiration date, CVV code) to a file on your computer or an online document for easy copying. You should not do this—because hackers can gain access to your records.
- To keep your device secure, download only official applications, promptly install updates, and use security solutions.
- Use anti-viruses for mobiles to keep everything under control. For example, Dr.Web Security Space for Android: it monitors application traffic and also prevents the installation of suspicious programs.
- Beware of so-called "phishing" links that take you to resources that collect personal data: cybercriminals create copies of well-known sites and replace symbols and letters in their address. As a result, they get both the money of gullible users and information about their cards.
- Be vigilant to avoid criminals' tricks. They may try to learn one-time codes or install remote access software on your device using social engineering methods.
- Choose a reliable bank for having a virtual card issued to you. For example, one where you already have an account.