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.
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