In a world where digitization is advancing by leaps and bounds, virtual cards are becoming more and more fashionable. It is no coincidence that this coincides temporarily with the rise of e-commerce, which has gained thousands of followers thanks to the pandemic. In fact, It is estimated that online purchases have increased 46% in Spain in the last year.
These cards are used to make purchases, they have a number, a CVV and an expiration date; the only thing that differentiates them from the conventional ones is that they do not exist physically. If we hire a virtual card, we will not receive the usual plastic rectangle at home, but we will have to access it through the app or website of our bank.
Although these types of cards are usually used more for Internet purchases, they can also be used in physical establishments, as long as they have the technology contactless.
Also of interest
Internet shopping is estimated to have increased 46% in Spain in the last year. Getty Creative.
Several Spanish banks have already joined the trend. BBVA, for example, offers a virtual card for its customers that can be recharged with up to 600 euros through its website, app or ATMs. Banco Santander has the MyCash card, which allows you to recharge between 6 and 1,650 euros at no cost. The Openbank is the one that allows more money to handle, since it can be loaded with up to 3,000 euros. Of course: it is exclusively intended for online purchases.
Pros and cons of digital cards
One of the most obvious advantages of this type of card is the comfort. We do not have to carry it everywhere, since to pay online you only need a number, an expiration date and a CVV. If we want to buy in a physical store, we only need to carry the card on our smartphone.
Digital cards also offer a greater security than those of a lifetime. They do not exist, so they cannot be stolen or used without our consent. In addition, most of the virtual cards are prepaid and they work like a purse: they are not associated with an account, but we must recharge them periodically. This is a real security plus against cybercrime.
On the other hand, the main problem they entail is that they depend entirely on our mobile. Although this system is comfortable, since almost nobody leaves home without their smartphone, if our device runs out of battery or suffers any other problem, we will not be able to use it.
We also come across the drawback of commissions: for each recharge, our bank could charge us an extra one or two euros. Virtual cards are also not used to make recurring payments, such as the gym subscription or streaming services, since nothing ensures that the owner will recharge them.
In addition, there are sites that do not have contactless technology, so many times we will have to go out with our physical card. For now, virtual cards can be a ‘support’ to those of a lifetime. That is, we can make use of both, reserving one for physical payments and the other for purchases we make online.
Even so, everything indicates that this technology is going to settle down little by little. Will we only use digital money in the future? It remains to be seen, but everything indicates that it will be.
The other side of the coin