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Best Virtual Credit Cards for December 2022

Virtual credit cards allow you to keep your identity safe online by masking your personal details.

Credit card fraud affected over 13 million Americans in 2021, and virtual credit cards are one viable solution. 

Generally speaking, virtual credit cards -- or virtual account numbers -- are disposable credit card details issued for one-time use to help you mask your identity when making online purchases. Virtual credit card numbers can be generated directly from your credit card account with some products, and through apps and browser extensions with others. Some newer cards are even innovating on virtual card potential, so the technology will likely become more accessible and flexible over time.

Below are the best credit cards that offer virtual cards directly through your account as an included perk.

Read more: Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping

Best cash-back card with virtual account numbers

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer APR17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Our Take

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a good option for a virtual credit card if you're looking to maximize your purchasing cash-back and want to avoid the hassle of decoding point systems. While its cash-back rate is generally competitive with Apple Card, this card may be more suitable for someone who does not have Apple products or is less technologically inclined. To access virtual credit cards for the Citi Double Cash Card, you must select "Other Services" on your account homepage, then navigate to "Virtual Account Numbers."

See our full review of the Citi Double Cash Card for more details.

Long intro APR offer with virtual account numbers

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferFor a limited time earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
APR16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% for 12 months on Purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer APR16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)

Our Take

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card not only offers virtual account numbers right from your online account home page, it also boasts a 0% introductory APR period. With account approval, you can enjoy 12 months of 0% introductory APR on purchases from the date of the account opening and a whopping 21 months of 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (though with a proportionate 5% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater). After the intro period, the APR is 16.74% to 27.49% variable. Balance transfers must be completed within four months of the account opening.

See our full review of the Citi Diamond Preferred Card for more details.

Best travel card with virtual card capability

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferFor a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
APR19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee$95
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 0%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

While the Citi Premier® Card has an annual fee of $95 -- unlike our other picks which have no annual fee -- its rewards and perks make up for the extra cost. For example, the sign-on bonus of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after the account opens (an equivalent value of $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com) is highly competitive, putting this card at the top of our picks for best welcome bonus credit cards. This card offers purchase protection, and you can access virtual account numbers right through your account home page. For more details on all of this card's benefits, check out our full review of the Citi Premier Card.

Instant virtual credit card

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR13.99% to 24.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit N/A
Reward Rates
  • Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple
  • With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back
Annual Fee$0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple
  • With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back

Our Take

The Apple Card is unique in that by design it has three credit card numbers built into one. One is the card number used by your Apple Wallet, which is kept secured, one is for your physical card (assuming you request one), and the other is considered your virtual credit card -- it can be used for online transactions or in-person transactions where the merchant doesn't accept Apple Pay. Best of all, if this virtual credit card number is compromised, you can request and receive a free replacement number instantly without interrupting the use of your account via Apple Wallet or the physical card.

For multiple and temporarily authorized users

8.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR14.75% - 27.00% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit
Reward Rates
  • 2X points on every purchase regardless of category
  • 3X points for the entire year if you spend $15,000
  • 4X, 5X and even 10X points for every friend who gets a card
  • Up to 10X points at leading online stores such as Apple, Nike and Sephora when you shop in the X1 App
Annual FeeNone
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR14.75% - 27.00% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee 2% of the amount of each transfer.
Penalty APR NONE
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 2X points on every purchase regardless of category
  • 3X points for the entire year if you spend $15,000
  • 4X, 5X and even 10X points for every friend who gets a card
  • Up to 10X points at leading online stores such as Apple, Nike and Sephora when you shop in the X1 App

Our Take

The X1 Card offers a unique setup with regard to virtual credit cards. You'll need to download an app for account management since there is no account access via web browser. Through that app, you can generate one-time use virtual cards like the other cards featured in this list. You also have the opportunity to set auto-expiration dates for virtual credit cards, which can come in handy for automatically canceling free trials or for giving a card number to a trusted individual like a family member or caregiver for a set period of time. You can have multiple virtual credit cards active at one time.

See our full review of the X1 Card for more details.

FAQs

What are the best virtual credit cards?

For the sake of the simplicity of being able to generate a virtual account number anywhere you have internet access, the best virtual credit cards are ones you can get directly from your online credit card account, without downloading pesky extensions or additional apps. Those include Apple Card, Citi Double Cash Card, Citi Premier Card, Citi Diamond Preferred Card and the X1 Card.

Other credit card issuers may offer additional apps or browser extensions. For example, Capital One has the Eno web extension for its cards.

What is a virtual credit card?

A virtual credit card, or virtual account number, is a temporary credit card number used to make purchases online or over the phone safely. That means you don't have to reveal your actual account information, sparing you potential identity theft. The virtual account number is generated randomly and expires after a set period of time so that it cannot be misappropriated in the future.

My credit card doesn't offer virtual account numbers. How can I shop online safely?

There are several issuer apps and browser extensions that enable virtual credit card generation for accounts that do not have the feature built in. They require an extra step (downloading the app or extension) to use initially, and restrict you to making purchases specifically on hardware you've installed the program on. As an example, a Click to Pay account allows Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cardholders to choose to apply for a virtual credit card at checkout.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the "welcome bonus" and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card's respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

*All information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.