Shop and Pay Bills Online Safely With This Free Virtual Card Service

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privacy.com

Keep your credit or debit card information safe and shop safely online, get a ‘virtual credit card’ for online purchases.

If you’re uncomfortable providing personal financial information over the internet, Privacy.com has an outstanding solution - it creates virtual cards that protect your online payments. Virtual cards look and act like regular credit or debit cards. Business or personal, one-time or subscription, you decide who can charge your card, how much, and how often.

Privacy operates much like PayPal, but unlike PayPal, can be used anywhere that accepts credit or debit cards. Privacy earns a small fee every time you transact with any merchant using a Privacy card, the merchant or website pays a small fee called interchange. This fee is shared with Privacy.
At the moment, Privacy is only available to US residents.

Unlike other virtual card providers who charge fees, Privacy has a generous free plan and two paid plans. Most people will choose the free plan for their needs. The free plan allows you to create up to 12 unique cards a month, and has these other features:
• Merchant-locked cards - all Privacy cards lock to the first place you use them.
• Set spending limits for each card per transaction, per month, per year, or no limit.
• Generate single-use (burner) cards that close themselves automatically.
• Pause or close cards – stop transactions with just a click.
• Cards can have the merchant logo on them (if available) or a custom image, making them easy to identify if you have more than a few cards.

The platform works as a web app, has easy to use Chrome and Firefox extensions, and has mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Like most websites, you create an account with email and password (verification of email is required), state you are US resident, and agree to the terms and both the card and ACH authorizations.
After an account is created, you fill out some personal information and connect a funding source – select a funding source from a list of available financial institutions and log in to your account. This is the source Privacy will tap for funds (see why bank login information is needed and how it works here).
You can start creating cards once your funding source is connected.
You can also link additional funding sources and choose the account you’d like each card to pull from.

If you use a bank or credit union that isn’t listed, contact Privacy and they will set up a funding source using your bank or credit union.

Bank accounts and debit cards are currently the only supported funding sources, credit cards are not currently supported.
Privacy.com has issued 5 million virtual card numbers in the last three years. You can find out how Privacy secures your payment information here.

I’ve been using Privacy since the beginning and the service is indispensable. I use it to pay recurring bills and for use at online vendors for one time use or recurring charges. I’ve set up cards for the pharmacy, online merchants, the utility company, anywhere I’d normally use a debit card. My personal financial data isn’t stored in a database and I can limit purchase amounts and/or how often charges can recur.

If you’d like an almost seamless buffer between online vendors and your financial sources, give Privacy a try.

Visit Privacy.com
 

You can find more Tech Treats here.

 

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Comments

I was hoping that this card unlike Paypal and Debit Cards, if you authorize a Merchant (make a purchase) to claim funds from your balance, the Merchant has 30 days to claim said funds. The funds will be deducted from your available balance for the whole 30 days even if the Merchant informs you after 3 days that the purchase has been cancelled due to ongoing "lack of stock" problems or he doesn't like the color of your Moped. I've had it happen twice in the same month. For $253.43 NIJ Certified Ballistic Panels and $153.00 for computer parts, cancelled after 5 days. Both purchases 3 days apart. Agreement states must hold in Escrow for 30 Days. I don't know if Credit Cards act differently since Credit could be issued at any time, I'm guessing. These seem to be a bit safer than a normal card but Merchants can still exceed your preset limits and a few other things I was reading in their info. Looks like Merchants were well represented when these Laws were drawn up. Customer representation, not so much.
Sorry about going on and on and ... .

I didn't find where merchants are allowed to exceed preset limits on a card created on Privacy, can you point me to that information?

Privacy is not a bank or a credit card company, it provides a virtual card number for transactions.
It doesn't hold any funds and transactions are between the merchant and your funding source.

If I remember correctly their TOS transaction limits are S1,000 per transaction and $3,000 a month but that can be changed by contacting them.

Not exactly. Just like Privacy, Paypal is neither Bank or C/C Co.but Paypal is the one that issues the "Authorization Reversal Notification" to the Merchant if after 30 days from Authorization Date the funds have not been captured by the Merchant. Paypal at no time ever actually has hands on your money.
When I read Privacy's disclaimer about Merchants ability to exceed Customer's preset limits and Privacy could not stop them even though in some cases it was illegal, Privacy was not a Court of Law. I thought, so much for that false sense of security.
I read the (full) ToS but I think that was in the ToS and the FAQ section (along with the max limits of $2,000/$4,000) which is larger than it first looks due to each section expanding. That's where I found out that they are Legally bound (like Paypal) to wait the full 30 days regardless whether the Merchant cancelled or not.
I will go and find where I read the Merchant/card limit disclaimer.

No I don't and "At the moment, Privacy is only available to US residents." puts a complete kibosh on it for most on the planet sadly....was expecting to see that phrase but still disappointing, was interested.

I've often wished everything was globally accessible.

Wish in one hand and dream in the other ...

I can always hope "maybe one day..."  :-)

You may need a different ID if your going to do a lot of Global Hoping. Maybe an ID in the MAC Address Format. A GUID, Globally Unique IDentifier.

I'm not sure I want to be able to be identified that easily. :-)

This article got a "4.1" average out of 12 votes. Does anyone have any actual experience with the program besides rhiannon? (thanks, by the way)