Virtual Credit Cards

by Gopal Gidwani on March 5, 2011 · 11 comments

in Financial Planning

Introduction
Ajay is a 30 years old guy who is working for a MNC company. Due to his busy schedule Ajay seldom gets time to go and personally pay his mobile bill and other utility bills. Therefore he prefers paying all his bills online with his credit card. Ajay has been doing this for the last few months and finds paying bills through his credit card hassle free. Ajay has recently started doing lot of online shopping for things like buying books, apparels, consumer goods. One day he got an email from an unauthentic website mentioning that he will get 70% discount for online shopping on their website. Ajay does not check the authenticity of the website and gets excited and clicks on the link in the email and is redirected to the website. Ajay selects the purchase items of his choice and enters his credit card details like card number, expiry date and CVV number. Ajay is eagerly waiting for the delivery of his products. Little that he knew that if was a fraud website. The products never arrived. But when the credit card statement arrived Ajay got a shock of his life. His credit card statement showed additional transactions of Rs. 30,000 which he had never done.

Now why did such a tragedy happen to Ajay? The reason is very simple, his credit card details were misused by a fraudster for his own benefit.

Like Ajay we all use our credit cards and debit cards in lot of online transactions and are vulnerable to our card details being exposed online. So is there any way that Ajay and we can avoid such risk?

The answer to the above question is YES. This can be avoided by the use of virtual credit card facility (VCC) offered by some banks.

What is a Virtual Credit Card?
Virtual Credit Card (VCC) is a unique online payment solution with complete online security while shopping on the internet. It is one-time usable virtual credit/debit card with a preloaded amount and valid for a specified time period as required by the user. Virtual Credit Cards do not have a plastic existence and are created to be purely used online.

Many banks like HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and some other banks offer this facility to their credit card and debit card holders.

In this article we will discuss the VCC facility offered by HDFC Bank in detail. Lets us assume that Ajay is a credit card holder of HDFC Bank. Let us see how he can generate unlimited VCCs for making bill payments online.

He must log on to the homepage of HDFC Bank and select “NetSafe/ Verified by Visa / MasterCard SecureCode”. By selecting Netsafe option a pop up window will open where he can register his credit card with NetSafe. Registration is required only once at the time of generating the first VCC. For subsequent VCCs the user can login and start generating the VCC.

VCC Login

Once Ajay has registered he needs to login to his account. After login he will see the following screen giving the option to create a VCC. Ajay can create a VCC by entering the amount in the Limit and then select GO. This will generate a VCC which has a different card number, CVV and expiry date than the original card. These credentials can then be used to make online payment by Ajay. A VCC can be used for any online transaction on any website wherever the original card will be accepted. A VCC card will look as follows:

Sample Virtual Credit Card

The above VCC can be used only one for a transaction not exceeding Rs. 1. Similar VCCs can be generated for different one time use amounts subject to the amount not exceeding the total unutilised limit of the card. Please note that in a VCC the 16 digit card number, CVV number and the expiry date are different from the original card number, original CVV number and the original expiry date on the card. So even if someone gets the details of your used VCC, still it will serve no purpose to that person as VCCs are valid only for one time use. Also VCCs are valid only for limited time of 1 day or 2 days or any other time specified by the card owner at the time of generating the VCC. If the VCC is not used within that time period then the VCC expires and the amount is added back to the balance of your original card.

Like Ajay you can use this virtual card number at any online merchant site and complete your shopping with security and ease. Also you may set a limit to the VCC for transacting online.

The VCC is not a normal credit card. Unlike credit card you will not be granted money on credit for online payments and neither can you put it in your pocket and walk for shopping as it is a virtual card. Infact it is very similar to a prepaid card where user needs to first generate the virtual card online and deposit fund into the card before it can be used for one time online purchase.

Another distinguishing feature of VCC is that it is issued anonymously (unlike credit/debit card which are usually issued in the name of individual account holder).

Key benefits

  • Virtual credit card is for one time use only.
  • VCC number should be normally used within 24 hour after generation of number.
  • You can set your own limit for the VCC you generate subject to the unutilised limit on your actual credit card.
  • You can use it on any merchant website that accepts Master Card / VISA payment cards.
  • All purchases you make with VCC will appear on your statement, just like any other transaction.

Banks in India providing VCC
Due to the increasing demand for security in online payments various banks in India have started providing VCC facility to its customers. Currently this facility is being provided free of cost by the banks. Few of these banks are as follows:

ICICI BankICICI bank provides VCC facility by logging into their Infinity account.
Kotak Mahindra BankProvides a virtual credit card facility called netc@rd.
Central Bank of IndiaIn association with MasterCard, CBI offers a VCC facility called Rev Master Card. Unique feature about this VCC is that it can also be given as a gift pre-loaded with certain amount.

Who can use VCC facility?
VCC facility can be accessed anywhere throughout the globe. It can be any person who wants to make payments and transactions online but prefers not to expose his or her own original debit card / credit card information.

What if there is a refund from the merchant site?
In some situation it may happen that you get a refund of the amount paid through VCC to the merchant site. This may be because of some defect in the product or due to poor service or any other situation. Since that payment was made through VCC (which has already lapsed being a one time usable card), can we get the refund back? Than answer to this question is YES. The refund will automatically be credited to your main card.

In case the VCC was partially utilized, the balance amount gets credited to the main card within a certain period of time in accordance with the banks policy. For example you generated a VCC for Rs. 1000 and during the one time use the transaction value was only Rs. 800, then in this case the remaining Rs. 200 will be credited back to your main card and the VCC will lapse.

Conclusion
The VCC technology has been around for several years abroad, but here in India it is fairly new. Recently the technology has started becoming popular in India, thanks to the recent headlines about online identity thefts and credit card frauds. Now by using VCC Ajay can be completely be assured that his credit card details are not falling in wrong hands. Even if the VCC details fall into someone else’s hand still Ajay need not worry as details will serve no purpose to the fraudster as he will not be able to use them in anyway. So the next time you shop online through your credit / debit card, act wisely like Ajay and avail the VCC facility offered by your bank.

For any comments please comment in the section below or email us at gopal_gidwani@yahoo.com

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Bikash Pattanayak May 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hi,

I am so glad for this article. I didn’t know much more about this. It’s very good. It’s really helpful for the people who is using credit card. great..

Reply

Gopal Gidwani May 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

Thanks Bikash for your kind words. Glad to know that the article was helpful to you

Reply

AJAY May 21, 2011 at 6:13 am

Hi
great job … Gopal
I reach your site since last night & read most article posted by u
really u r nice guy & done excellent work

Reply

Gopal Gidwani May 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Hi Ajay,
Thanks a lot for your kind comments ………… 🙂

Reply

Reim July 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

I have a netc@rd. But I was wondering what if i required a refund from a merchant. I was thinking how would I get the refund to my expired card . thanks for your article.

Reply

Gopal Gidwani July 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Hello Reim,

The refund goes to the original card. So even if the virtual card has expired it does not make a difference and there is no problem at all in getting the refund.

Reply

RAJA July 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Hi,is the REV virtual card service provided by Central Bank of India active?I went on with registration but i never got the sms for pin no required for completing the registration process.Anyone successfully using REV card please inform me.
Thanks,

Reply

edo July 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm

hi gopal 🙂

i am now using hdfc control panel as shown above, to manage vcc, given by india guy.
but the expiration of that hdfc vcc is just 3-4 months, while now we have heavy 1 year expiration data vcc sellers.

i really want to have 1 year expiration date vcc, to be resell. any info or advice?

regards,
edo

Reply

Gopal Gidwani July 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Hello Edo,
I am not very clear about your query. But from what I have understood are you looking for banks providing VCC for an expiry period of 1 year? The idea of VCC is to use it one time and let it expire at the earliest.

Reply

edo July 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi gopal,
Yes right, but not exactly. If that is india bank, then i cannot apply, so I need help from India guy, like who gave me HDFC account to sell VCC.

I am selling HDFC VCC but that is just 3-4 months expiration date. Now in market there is 1 year expiration date VCC. I cannot compete with HDFC.

Thx.

Reply

edo July 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi again,
I mean, i have heavy competitors, they are 1 year exp date vcc sellers

Edo

Reply

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