How to Get a Virtual Debit Card

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 6, 2022

Tap to pay, contactless payment and virtual debit cards have become mainstream since 2015. Although this technology has been around for a couple of decades with physical cards, virtual debit cards on your smartphone have been a preferred method of payment by many vendors. This type of payment offers convenience for the customer and the seller.

What is a Virtual Debit Card?

A virtual debit card lives right on your smart device and can be accessed within your banking app or your phone's digital wallet. These cards can have 16-digit card numbers, a pin and the same security features as a physical card. 

Think of these cards as the electronic versions of the plastic you normally carry. On the one hand, it’s extremely convenient that you don’t need to carry a card. On the other hand, remember that you’re depending entirely on your mobile phone for your spending power. 

Advantages of a Virtual Debit Card

One of the biggest advantages of a virtual debit card is convenience. Most adults carry their smartphones everywhere so having the ability to pay with your phone makes virtual cards one of the easiest ways to pay. 

Most virtual cards offer the same fraud protections, locking capabilities, tap to pay and security features as a physical card. A virtual card can also typically be replaced or renewed within minutes. 

Advantages of virtual cards include:

  • Convenience — your card is always on your phone
  • Fraud protection 
  • Lock your card anytime 
  • PIN protection 
  • Some offer face detection to verify payment 
  • Tap to pay 
  • Fast replacement 

Temporary Digital Card Numbers

A unique feature of a virtual debit card is that you can request a temporary card number specifically for online purchases. Many consumers simply prefer to store virtual cards in their mobile wallets. However, there are those who prefer to request a temporary card for specific online purchases. If the card number is somehow duped or stolen, it cannot be used beyond that purchase.

Who Should Use a Virtual Debit Card?

Anyone with a smartphone can use a virtual debit card. Most phones have a digital wall that can be opened via an app or through a set of quick actions that open the wallet. Forget your purse or wallet at home? You can still shop at many national stores as well as independent shops. A virtual card is great when exercising in or outdoors, and it functions just like your physical card with roundups, the option to get cash back, etc.


The best candidates for virtual debit cards are:

  • Travelers: There was a time when traveler’s cheques were the best thing a traveler could carry because they could be replaced if they were lost or stolen. Carrying a debit card in today’s world gives thieves near-instant access to your cash the moment they snag the card. If your mobile device is lost or stolen, you can sign into another device in moments, turn off/block/cancel your card and instantly seek a replacement.
  • Commuting workers: Commuters often stop for gas, a drink, coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and more. Using your digital debit card to pay for random purchases is far simpler than dragging your wallet into every location you visit.
  • Online shoppers: There was a time when you couldn’t do all your shopping online, but you can quite literally do all your shopping digitally in today’s economy. Using a virtual debit card is far safer — as mentioned above — and helps you complete purchases quickly without constantly walking to grab your wallet or card.
  • Parents: It’s very easy to lose track of what you’re doing when traveling with kids, completing errands, etc. Parents can easily lose their cards in a store when they set them down for a second, deal with a crisis involving their children, get back in the car or go about their day as normal. A virtual debit card helps prevent these issues.
  • Students: Students often do not have much money in their accounts, and a virtual debit card helps students stay connected to their mobile banking app and track their spending.

Digitizing Your Experience

Now that you have digitized your banking experience, remember that you can complete all your financial dealings online. Using a virtual bank, digital bank, financial platform and more ensures that you always have access to your money. By digitizing your banking experience, you can:

  • Manage your debit card virtually
  • Send and accept payments online
  • Manage your investments online
  • Set up a savings or retirement account online
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securely through MoneyLion's website

About MoneyLion

MoneyLion is a financial platform that focuses on making the American financial sector easier to navigate. When you register with MoneyLion, you can use several different services and products, including:

  • Powerful mobile app
  • Cashback rewards
  • No hidden fees
  • Financial tracking software
  • Buy-now, pay-later options

You can also look into financial products that will help you manage your money, including:

  • Get paid early
  • Investment accounts
  • Crypto accounts
  • Cash advances
  • Credit builder loans

With all these services, you get to the heart of what makes MoneyLion unique as it aims to help the 99% feel 100% about their finances.

Learn More About Virtual Debit Cards

With a better understanding of virtual debit cards, you can request a card from your financial institution today, clear out your wallet and shop with your mobile device. Also, remember that you can use these cards to protect yourself when making online purchases. For additional financial information, stock data, economic news and more, check out Benzinga daily to take control of your finances.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get a virtual debit card?


You can get a virtual debit card from a traditional or digital bank that allows for it. When you get a virtual debit card, you can start using it as soon as the application is approved. Store the virtual card in your smart wallet, tap to pay or connect the card to virtual payment or banking apps. 


Can I get a temporary debit card online?


Yes. You can ask your bank for a temporary debit card number that you can use for purchases if you are replacing your current debit card. You can also request temporary debit card numbers for your security when making online purchases.

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