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Virtual credit card numbers let you make online purchases without disclosing your card’s true account details, protecting you from fraud. They’re also easy to cancel and replace, giving you more power over when and how much merchants can charge you.
We analyzed the best virtual credit cards in 2023 based on their capabilities, reward programs, costs, and more. Here’s what we found.
The Best Virtual Credit Cards in 2023
- X1 Visa
- Apple Credit Card
- Citi Double Cash Card
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express
- US Unlocked
The Best Virtual Credit Cards Compared
|Card||Min. Credit Required||Virtual Credit Card Capabilities||Rewards||Recurring Fees|
|X1 Visa||None (no credit check)||4/5||3/5||$0|
|Citi Double Cash||Good||3/5||3/5||$0|
|Capital One Venture X||Excellent||4/5||5/5||$395 per year|
|Blue Cash Preferred||Good||2/5||5/5||$95 per year|
|US Unlocked||None (debit)||3/5||0/5||$3.50 per month and $0.50 per transaction|
|Privacy||None (debit)||5/5||1/5||$0 (lowest tier)|
|Netspend||None (debit)||2.5/5||0/5||$9.95 per month or $1.95 per transaction|
|Wise||None (debit)||2/5||0/5||See section|
The X1 Visa credit card has robust virtual credit card capabilities. Through its app, you can create multiple types of virtual cards that are suited for different situations, including:
- Standard: These are reusable virtual cards you can cancel at any time. You might use them when you sign up for recurring payments or let a family member pay for expenses with your credit account.
- Free Trial: These automatically cancel themselves 24 hours after you create them. You can use them to sign up for free trials without worrying about charges if you forget to cancel before the period ends.
- Single-Use: These cards automatically cancel themselves once you use them. They’re ideal when you want to ensure a merchant can’t overcharge you.
In addition to its impressive virtual card functions, the X1 Visa has decent rewards, especially for a card with no annual fee. You earn two points per dollar spent by default, but it goes up to three points per dollar if you spend more than $15,000 in a year.
Notably, the X1 Visa doesn’t require a hard credit check. Instead, the virtual card provider uses your income to determine whether you qualify and set your credit limit. As a result, it’s best for those with limited credit but high earning power.Try X1 Visa
Apple Credit Card
Unlike most credit cards, the physical Apple Card shows no information other than your name. You won’t find any card details on its face, so people can’t steal your account number, security code, or expiration date.
You can still use it to complete an online purchase with a merchant that accepts Apple Pay. However, the security feature prevents you from providing your account information in the standard checkout format.
To get around that issue, the Apple Card lets you generate a virtual credit card number that you can use for online shopping like you would with a traditional credit card that shows its account details.
The number lasts indefinitely, but you can request a new one anytime. That way, you can cancel and replace it to protect yourself if a merchant abuses your data or loses it in a breach without waiting for a new physical card to arrive.
Unsurprisingly, the Apple Card has a lot to offer beyond its virtual card and security features. That includes:
- 3% cash back on Apple Pay purchases at merchants like Apple, Uber, Exxon, and more
- 2% back on Apple Pay purchases at all other merchants
- 1% back on purchases with the physical Apple Card
In addition, Apple Card uses FICO Score 9 to assess your creditworthiness and considers a score above 660 favorable enough to qualify. Since the average FICO score is 714, it’s accessible to most consumers.Try Apple Card
Citi Double Cash Card
Citi is one of the only banks in the United States offering multiple credit cards that can generate a virtual account number for online payment, though you need to opt-in to the service before starting.
Citi’s virtual credit card features are more robust than Apple’s. Not only does it let you generate multiple cards at once, but you can also customize each one’s spending limit and expiration date, though customer reviews indicate some interface issues.
The Double Cash card is one of Citi’s better options with these features. There’s no annual fee, and the cashback rewards are competitive. They include:
- $200 cash back after spending $1,500 in the first six months
- 1% cash back when you spend plus 1% when you pay off balances
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months
Citi is a traditional credit company and checks your score when you apply. You’ll need a good one to qualify for the Double Cash card, so it’s not a viable option for borrowers with bad credit or limited payment history.Try Citi
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One is another major credit card issuer that offers virtual credit cards. The feature is part of Eno, Capital One’s digital assistant, and its capabilities are also pretty advanced.
Rather than limit you to a single virtual card number at a time like Apple, Eno can generate a new virtual card number for each merchant. You can lock, unlock, and delete them freely once you download the Eno browser extension.
The Venture X Rewards card is one of Capital One’s best accounts eligible for this capability, boasting top-tier travel rewards. They include:
- 75,000 in bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
- 10,000 bonus miles each year as an anniversary bonus
- $300 annual travel credit for bookings through Capital One Travel
- $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- 10x miles on hotels and rental cars and 5x miles on flights on Capital One Travel
- 2x miles on all other purchases
However, there are some significant drawbacks to the account as well. First, you’ll need an excellent credit score to qualify. You shouldn’t waste the hard inquiry if you have a poor score or a limited credit history.
In addition, the card has a whopping $395 annual fee. While you can easily make up for that cost with the card’s lucrative rewards over time, you must be able to afford the expense upfront.Try Capital One
Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express
American Express doesn’t offer virtual credit card numbers for consumer cardholders. However, it has partnered with Click to Pay, a digital tool that lets you make purchases while protecting your credit card number from merchants.
The tool can’t quite match the capabilities of credit cards that generate legitimate virtual card numbers, but it still enhances the security of your personal information.
Since some American Express cards have excellent reward programs, they’re worth considering in combination with Click to Pay as a digital credit card substitute.
The Blue Cash Preferred card is a great example, offering the following impressive incentives for consumers:
- 6% cashback up to $6,000 for purchases at supermarkets
- 6% cashback on select streaming subscriptions
- 3% cashback on transit costs, including rideshares, parking, tolls, and more
The card has a $95 annual fee, but you can justify that even with the card’s secondary benefits, such as the extra $7 per month you get back when you spend $13.99 on monthly subscriptions.
If you have good credit and bank with American Express, the Blue Cash Preferred card could be a great choice.Try Blue Cash
While the other accounts on this list are primarily for consumers’ personal spending, Divvy offers virtual and physical cards for businesses. As a result, its capabilities are substantial.
Divvy lets you create as many virtual cards as you want for free, so you can have a dedicated line for every vendor or team member if you want.
In addition, you have a significant degree of control over your cards. Through the Divvy software, you can do all of the following for each one:
- Share access with specific employees
- Monitor transactions in real-time
- Freeze or delete to limit further activities
- Customize spending limits and set budgets
Fortunately for business owners, Divvy is also a perfect way to establish business credit. Divvy reports your payments to Dun & Bradstreet and the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE), which also reports to Experian and Equifax.
Divvy is more like a charge card than a credit card because payment is due in full with each billing cycle.
Divvy also has a unique rewards program that lets you earn more by paying off your balance more frequently. For example, you can earn up to 7x points on restaurant purchases if you repay them weekly. To top it off, there’s no annual fee.
Divvy really shines with its expense and spend management software. It enables you to set budgets for your employees and never go over them. It will even provide a projection of future budgets based on data they collect from the past.
Their mobile app can also be used with Android and Apple phones and has received excellent reviews from users.
Check out Divvy today!
Also Read: Divvy ReviewTry Divvy
Revolving credit accounts with built-in virtual card number capabilities are typically the best way to protect yourself from being defrauded and overcharged while spending, but they’re not always accessible.
If you have a bad credit score or prefer not to take on an additional credit account, then prepaid debit cards with virtual number capabilities may be a better option. The US Unlocked Virtual Payment Card is one to consider.
Also Read: How Do Business Credit Cards Work?
To sign up, you verify your identity by providing details like your name, home address, and date of birth. There’s no credit check or income verification.
Next, you’ll need to connect your bank account and load funds to your US Unlocked account. Finally, you can create multiple virtual payment cards that draw from your account balance.
Unfortunately, the fees for this prepaid card are expensive, especially since it doesn’t come with cashback rewards. In the United States, it charges a $3.50 monthly maintenance fee, $3.50 plus 3% to load your account, and $0.50 per transaction.Try US Unlocked
Also Read: Credit Card Alternatives
Next up in the prepaid virtual debit card category is Privacy. Because it’s for consumers and businesses alike, the tool offers more advanced features than its peers. With it, you can:
- Create one-time use and merchant-locked virtual debit cards
- Assign separate cards to different departments, projects, or vendors
- Set budgets for individual cards and track transactions in real-time
Best of all, you can access these features for free with Privacy’s Personal subscription tier. It costs $0 per month, and there are no fees to load the account or complete each online transaction because Privacy collects its earnings primarily from merchants.
However, there are limitations to the tier, including a cap of only 12 cards per month. If that’s not enough to meet your needs, you can upgrade to the Pro or Teams subscriptions.
These cost $10 per month for 36 cards and $25 for 60 cards per month, respectively. They also let you earn 1% cashback on eligible transactions totaling up to $4,500 per month.Try Privacy
Netspend is another prepaid debit card you can use in lieu of a credit card with virtual capabilities. Like the other prepaid cards on this list, you don’t need to undergo a credit check to sign up – just verify your identity.
There’s no way to avoid fees with Netspend, but you do have multiple choices of payment plans. They include:
- Pay-as-you-go: The default plan includes no monthly fee, but you’ll pay $1.95 per transaction. It’s probably the best choice if you only intend to complete one or two each month.
- Monthly: If you know you’ll have too many transactions to pay as you go, you can skip the associated fees in exchange for making a $9.95 monthly payment. The cost drops to $5 per month if you connect a direct deposit of at least $500 to the account.
As usual, you must load the Netspend account with funds from your bank before spending, which is free. Once you have, you can generate up to 6 temporary virtual account numbers to hide your real credit card information from vendors.
As usual, you can also cancel these virtual accounts whenever you want to prevent unwanted charges.Try Netspend
Lastly, we have Wise, formerly known as TransferWise. It’s an online checking account designed to facilitate international money transfers and accommodate multiple currencies without the hassle and costs of a traditional bank account.
The Wise account offers a debit card that you can use for your personal or business spending. Once you order one, you can generate a virtual version with a different account number than your physical card.
Opening a Wise account is free, but requesting a debit card costs a one-time fee of $9, and you must have one to get a virtual card. There are no costs to spend with the card, but you’ll pay $1.50 plus 2% for each withdrawal after you take out $100 in a month.
The costs become more complicated if you have international transactions, but they’re lower than what traditional financial institutions charge. If you deal in multiple currencies, Wise should be one of the virtual cards you consider.Try Wise
Are Virtual Credit Cards Legit?
Virtual credit cards are a legitimate security tool that can hide your credit card account numbers and personal information from third parties, stop unwanted vendor charges, and help protect you from credit card fraud.
However, they aren’t foolproof. Virtual cards connect to your original credit line, so people with the details can still attempt to overcharge or defraud you.
That said, the best virtual cards have features that let you limit the card’s usage to prevent these issues by setting spending limits or automatically canceling them.
Even the virtual cards that don’t offer these benefits have value because you can cancel them and get new account details immediately if your information is ever compromised.
Otherwise, you’d have to wait seven to ten business days for a new physical credit card to arrive in the mail.
Which Virtual Card Is the Best?
The best virtual credit card for you ultimately depends on your credit scores and spending activities. For example, the Capital One Venture X card is probably the most well-rounded option for personal transactions if you have excellent credit.
However, the Apple Card might be a better choice if you have an average credit score since they have lower creditworthiness requirements.
Meanwhile, Divvy is probably the best credit card for you if you’re looking for a spend and expense management program for your business that can all be used from an app.
Finally, Privacy is probably best for those who don’t want to take on additional credit. Its virtual card capabilities are superior to other prepaid debit cards, and it’s free by default. There’s also the option to upgrade to a paid subscription and earn cashback rewards.
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Nick Gallo is a Certified Public Accountant and content marketer for the financial industry. He has been an auditor of international companies and a tax strategist for real estate investors. He now writes articles on personal and corporate finance, accounting and tax matters, and entrepreneurship.