Virtual vs Physical cards, which is better?

virtual card

Virtual cards work the same way as your physical card- we just don’t cut down trees to create a card and send it to you via post for you to only use it via your phone. We make it simple, it just stays in your digital wallet on your phone. Secured by encryption, making sure only you can authorise any online payments. Discover the differences with this simple guide.

What is a physical card?

Physical debit or credit cards are plastic cards issued by banks to their customers to make payments in person or online. This card is typically linked to a bank account where all the customers’ funds are held.

The physical card features the cardholder’s name, 16-digit card number, a magnetic strip, a PIN code and a CVV2 number at the back of the card.

With a physical card, customers can withdraw cash from ATMs and make transactions in person and online.

What is a Virtual Card?

A Virtual card is exactly like a physical card but the only difference is it’s virtual. It has all the key features of a physical card, including the 16-digit number, a CVV2, and expiry date.

Virtual debit or credit cards are accessed only through mobile phones and can only be used for online transactions.

There are two forms of virtual cards.

  • There is the single-use virtual card (also known as a disposable virtual card) and,
  • The standard virtual card that is accessed every time you want to make online transactions.

The single-use virtual card solution generates a unique 16-digit card number, CVV2, and expiry date every time you want to make a purchase. Once the purchase is complete the card is disposed and can no longer be used.

The standard virtual card is issued once and accessed via a mobile. This 16-digit card number does not change and can be used multiple times for online transactions

Physical card versus Virtual card: Which is Better?

If you want to make a payment in person or need to withdraw cash, then a physical card may be better than a virtual card. However, that might just be the only advantage physical cards have over virtual ones. In almost every other aspect virtual cards prove safer, simpler, and easier to control.

Virtual Card

1. Convenience

One of the main benefits of virtual cards is that they’re more convenient than physical cards. The minute you apply for an account you instantly get your card details to start making online purchases. With a physical card, you typically need to wait for 3-5 working days to receive the card in the post.

2. Safe and Secure

Using a virtual card for online transactions is that it ensures safer online purchases. Due to such cards being virtual, it is very difficult to duplicate them, neither is there any physical item to be stolen.

Additionally, most virtual cards are issued by trusted card providers such as Mastercard, which ensures that they go through the same fraud and security checks as a physical card would through its provider.

Lastly, if there is any risk, a unique feature of the ScribePay virtual card is your card details can only be accessed using biometric technology. This means even if you lose your virtual card (which is impossible), the only way someone can access your details is through fingerprint and face-ID recognition.

3. Easy Subscription Management

It can be a challenge to manage subscriptions online. Over 3 million people in the UK lose on average £300 a year from forgotten subscriptions. Monitoring what you are precisely charged for and when the free trial switches to a costly auto-renewal can be tricky to monitor.

There is also a significant risk of experiencing data breaches with subscriptions. The good news is, virtual cards can address these issues. Managing all subscriptions online can be done with virtual cards.

You can use a new virtual card for each subscription and assign a different card for every vendor. However, this can become expensive and time-consuming especially as the subscription market is expected to grow by 18% year on year and the average consumer is likely to add on average 10 new subscriptions a year.

The ScribePay virtual card is just one card and gives you all the control you need for subscription management. You can set spending limits per subscription, automatically set up recurring payments the moment you subscribe, and stop all unwanted subscriptions with two clicks.

Experience the benefits of virtual cards with ScribePay

You can change the way you manage your online payments and subscriptions with the ScribePay virtual card. Our powerful app offers countless control features, such as anti-fraud alerts, spending limits, unwanted fee detection, and the most positive payment experience when subscribing.

Help us save you hundreds of pounds every year in unwanted subscription payments

Download the ScribePay app on iOS or Android and join people from all over the UK that have taken control of their subscriptions.