Virtual cards are primed to boom because they offer levels of convenience, security, and control that are not possible with physical cards. But since they are still up and coming, consumers might not know how to differentiate between the best virtual cards and the bad ones. However, distinguishing between the two is not as hard as it seems.

How to spot a weak virtual card

The best virtual cards will not only be very user-friendly, but they'll also give consumers control over how they use their cards. The more convenient the virtual card is to use, the better.

But what's equally important is how secure a virtual card is when someone uses it online. If a virtual card doesn't have the technology in place to safeguard a consumer's data, then it's an inferior product.

Security features cannot be compromised when there are so many cyberattacks happening today, and neither can consumers' control over their card's activity and function. But these features aren't the only factors that dictate whether a virtual card is superior to another. In fact, there are a few things that people should look for when trying to find the best virtual card.

Top features the best virtual cards should always offer

Choosing a great virtual card comes down to its features. If consumers want to pick a good one, there are several benefits they should look for in the best virtual cards.

1. Spend limits

With Privacy, consumers can set a limit on their virtual cards. Of course, they are not bound by these parameters. If consumers choose to increase their spend limit, all they have to do is head to their account and change it themselves.

However, for a consumer who is looking to curb their spending and possibly decrease their debt, spending limits are a crucial tool to ensure their success. Just having the extra step of changing their spend limit can make consumers think twice before purchasing something they don't need, which will help the, save money.

This is also a great perk for those who want to stop using credit cards. While credit cards are convenient, they also make it easy for people to forget they're actually spending money, which can easily lead to overspending and debt down the line. Has there ever been a time when you spent too much using a credit card?

2. Pseudonym profiles

The best virtual card companies will offer consumers as much protection as possible to guarantee their information is safe while they're shopping online. One way Privacy does this is by helping consumers protect their identity when they get to checkout.

Instead of inputting personal information, consumers can use pseudonyms when shopping, which prevents identity theft in the event of a data breach. With Privacy, you can enter in placeholder names, billing addresses, and zip codes as all of your real information is stored safely because of Privacy's security measure. Hackers can't expose a consumer's information if their information doesn't fully encompass who the consumer is.

3. Disposable card numbers

Do you ever get scared when you use your card information online? Well, for shoppers who don't want to squash that fear, a disposable card number can prove very useful, especially for one-off purchases with merchants consumers won't buy from again.

A disposable card number is only usable for one transaction. Afterward, it becomes inactive just two minutes after the payment goes through. Even if there is a data breach, consumers don't have to worry about their card information being used by hackers because the card number won't work after the transaction takes place.

4. Unique card number

A unique card number is a 16-digit number that is associated with an existing account. With Privacy, consumers do not have to apply for and pre-load a new card or go through a credit check to obtain a unique card number.

Privacy makes it easy. A customer just has to create an account, and then a unique card number will generate on every checkout page the consumer visits.

Essentially, Privacy offers a virtual card with multiple card numbers, further increasing consumers' security and reducing their liability should there be a data breach. Hackers won't find value in a card number they can't use for other purposes.

5. No impact on credit scores

The best virtual cards don't impact consumers' credit scores because they function more like debit cards. This fact means closing one can't hurt consumers' credit scores.

However, the same can't be said for virtual credit cards, which can still play a considerable role in determining someone's credit score. Even closing a virtual credit card can be detrimental. Just like with physical credit cards, if consumers don't close a virtual credit card correctly, they can negatively impact their credit score.

6. A hassle-free closing (and pausing) process

A great virtual card company makes it easy for consumers to close their accounts. The process should not involve multiple steps like calling the virtual card company, sending any certified letters, or doing anything else that requires more effort than going online and simply deactivating the card. Closing a virtual card should be a simple, worry-free click.

In addition, the best virtual cards should also allow consumers to pause their virtual card if they don't want to close it indefinitely. For example, with Privacy, if consumers know they won't shop for a while, they can go into their account and pause their card. This feature renders the card temporarily ineffective until the consumer wants to use it again. In that case, the person just has to go to their account and restart their card; then, it will work as usual.

7. Multiple cards for multiple purposes

Having different virtual cards for different merchants ensures consumers are better protected against data breaches. For instance, Privacy provides a virtual card for Spotify, a virtual card for Netflix, and the list goes on from there.

By offering different cards for specific merchants, Privacy helps safeguard consumers' personal information. Should a data breach occur at one merchant, consumers don't have to worry about the mishap affecting their other subscriptions.

Convenience and control

The best virtual cards will offer consumers convenience, security, and control. If consumers are shopping for one, they should take the seven features above into consideration as they will ensure they set up an account with a good, reputable virtual card company and are happy with their decision.

What’s your favorite benefit of virtual cards? Drop us note on our Twitter (@PrivacyHQ) and sign up for Privacy today for free.