Virtual cards are categorized according to factors such as the nature of the issuing party, the number of times it is to be used and the desired expiry date.
• Virtual cards issued by banks: almost all traditional banks and finance management solutions offer virtual card options. Customers can request and receive virtual cards that, like physical cards, are attributed a card number, a Card Verification Value (CVV) and an expiry date. These numbers, codes and dates remain valid for a pre-determined period of time and the card holder can make purchases up to a pre-defined amount.
• Virtual cards issued by large retailers: companies like Nespresso, Fnac, Carrefour, Etam or Decathlon offer virtual cards that are not linked to bank accounts. They can be valid for just weeks or up to a year, and designed either for single-use or recurring purchases. The retailer proposes these services in collaboration with some banks.
• Virtual cards listed by multi-national e-commerce giants: some online stores have put in place their own payment methods. Amazon is among those to have launched its e-card to simplify payments on its own platform, although at time of writing this service is limited to the United States. Apple is another example of a tech multinational to have its own virtual payment card.