Do you worry about your Visa card falling into the wrong hands? For example, a thief or someone in your household can use it to shop online without your authorisation.
That is a genuine risk that you can avoid it by putting your money in a virtual Visa card instead.
This article takes a closer look at virtual Visa cards, discussing what they are and what benefits they bring. You will also learn how to get a virtual Visa card in Kenya.
Let’s dive right in.
A virtual Visa card is a debit or credit card in the form of a 16-figure set of numbers representing the card number. Like a regular Visa card, a virtual Visa card also has a CVV number and an expiry date.
A virtual card is not physically existing, hence the term ‘virtual’. This means it can live safely in your head and can be easily managed from your mobile phone.
You can use your virtual Visa card to securely pay for goods and services on e-commerce websites, in-app, and for making contactless payments in physical stores where they are offered. In some countries, you can also use your virtual Visa card to withdraw money from the ATM.
Instead of a physical Visa card that you carry in a wallet that you carry around in your pocket or purse, a Virtual card is stored in your digital wallet.
Besides the Visa global digital payments giant, there are other financial services companies that issue virtual cards. Citi, American Express, and Capital One all offer virtual cards, but besides Visa, Mastercard will be the one most people in Kenya will be familiar with.
A virtual Visa card works the same way your regular Visa card works. When you use the card number and CVV number that represents it to pay for something, the transaction amount is deducted from the bank account it is linked to, which could be your bank, digital, or mobile money wallet.
Because a virtual Visa card does not exist physically, you cannot swipe or insert it into a POS or ATM to pay for something or withdraw money. However, you can use it to make online and contactless payments where you can punch in the 16-figure virtual card number.
Point-of-sale terminals in Kenya's brick ‘n mortar stores are not equipped to accept virtual Visa cards for payments. Neither can most ATMs. To use your virtual Visa card offline, the point-of-sale terminal must be able to process contactless payments.
In Kenya, Visa issues its virtual debit cards through banks. You must register for your bank’s Internet banking service and request your virtual Visa card from there.
Besides your bank, you can also get a virtual Visa card through your M-Pesa mobile money wallet. M-Pesa virtual Visa cards draw from the balance in your mobile wallet, making it an eminently convenient option.
However, M-Pesa mobile wallets have a checkered security record. Its less-than-robust security features and ubiquity makes it a magnet for scammers and fraudsters. Scores of people have lost money through M-Pesa scams and fraud. This makes it an unsafe wallet to keep your savings.
A more secure option is to save money in a more secure digital wallet and only transfer the amount you need to use to M-Pesa. The digital wallet of choice for many people in Kenya is IntaSend. And guess what?
Overall, the best way to get a virtual Visa or Mastercard in Kenya is through your IntaSend account. If you don't already an IntaSend account, complete the easy sign-up and KYC process. Once you are approved, you can request your virtual Visa card or Mastercard within your IntaSend digital wallet. You will have your virtual Visa card within a few minutes of requesting it.
Virtual Visa cards have many benefits. Let’s look at some of them next:
A virtual Visa card lives in your digital wallet, so you won’t have to worry about losing it or leaving it behind when you travel. The familiarity and strong reputation of Visa means almost every payment gateway accepts your virtual card, allowing you to shop practically every ecommerce store and app.
Virtual Visa cards are merely a set of numbers. You do not have to carry it in your pocket physically. All you need to do is memorise the card number, and you will have the virtual card wherever you go.
You can request a virtual Visa card, receive and activate it, and use it to make online payments within minutes. It does not have to be mailed to you before using it. It is the ultimate solution for emergency online payments.
You can turn your virtual Visa card on and off as you desire. Depending on your digital wallet, you may also be able to place payment limits on your Visa card or to restrict is to make purchases at specific merchants, which gives you more control over your funds and makes it easier to track your expenses.
The greatest benefit of virtual Visa cards is the security they offer. Thanks to 256-bit SSL encryption technology, it is not possible for payments you make with your virtual Visa card to be traced back to you or your business, which protects your personally identifiable information from hackers.
Since there is no physical card to steal, thieves can’t use your virtual Visa card to withdraw money from your account at ATMs. They can’t clone it, either. And if you suspect someone may have access to your virtual Visa card, you can simply log into your digital account and freeze it.
A virtual Visa card is only one of the many perks of signing up for an IntaSend account. While the virtual Visa card is a payment tool, IntaSend provides tools for requesting payment and getting paid.
Perfect for freelancers and online businesses, IntaSend allows you to generate an invoice and no-code payment links that you can send to clients, making it easy for them to pay you.
So, in effect, IntaSend helps you fund your virtual Visa card. And with bank-level security, you can be confident that your funds will be safe in your digital wallet, ready for when you want to use them.
Besides using the virtual Visa or Mastercard to pay with the balance in your account, you can also withdraw your IntaSend balance to your bank account or M-Pesa mobile wallet.
Sign up for an IntaSend account today to easily request your own virtual Visa card or Mastercard.