It is the age of convenience in all aspects and what better example than online shopping to reflect increasing consumer convenience. Consumers can get easy access to all the brands and products from across the globe. One can buy anything irrespective of the location. However, with products that are bought online, there is a risk of the user’s credit card information being misused or falling into wrong hands. Not all shopping portals are safe. Hence, when a user provides his/her credit card information on a shopping site, they are getting exposed to various online frauds. It is therefore important to be cautious while shopping online. 

To provide enhanced security to credit card users, issuers have now come up with a product called a ‘digital credit card’. Here is everything one needs to know about digital credit cards and their usage.

What are Digital Credit Cards?

Unlike traditional credit cards, digital credit cards are available in an online form and not in a physical form. These cards are specially designed to carry out online transactions. Similar to traditional credit card formats, a digital credit card has a card number, CVV, and also validity dates. However, these details can only be seen online. 

Many established credit card issuers today offer digital credit cards (VCC) to make customer transactions easy and enhance security throughout their usage. It acts as a virtual extension of a physical credit card and allows online usage only.

What are the Key Benefits of a Digital Credit Card?

Some of the main features and benefits offered by digital credit cards are as follows:

  • Enhanced security - Digital credit cards are designed to provide a one-time usage option. Hence, a card number is generated for a specific period, usually ranging between 24 - 48 hours. Since the card is available for use only online, the possibility of misuse or theft is minimal. It is available for limited use and therefore improves security further. Users must make use of OTP to further enhance card security. In some cases, cardholders can also cancel the card if he/she does not need it.
  • Transactional limit – Just like physical credit cards, Digital credit cards also have a limit on transactions. Users can transact many times but only within this limit. The credit limit on these cards is similar to the primary card.
  • Instant availability - Since card issuers provide digital credit cards online, customers can access these instantly for any online transactions.
  • Seamless online application and blocking - Cardholders can apply for digital credit cards instantly. They can also block their cards instantly in case of any security threat.
  • Same CVV - The CVV number of a digital credit card remains the same till the time the card is active. This is irrespective of the total number of transactions made by a customer. The CVV only changes in case a customer cancels the card and avails a new card.
  • Issued to primary customer - A digital credit card is issued only to the primary cardholder and is not available to an add-on holder.

How to use a Digital Credit Card?

A digital credit card can be used for online transactions only and is not available for physical swipes. While using it for making purchases or payments, a user must follow the below-mentioned steps to complete a transaction:

  1. Enter the card number.
  2. Enter the validity period.
  3. Verify using OTP sent to the registered mobile number.
  4. Complete transaction.

Should You Apply for a Digital Credit Card?

Before applying for a digital credit card, users must make note of the following important points:

  • Unused credit limit transferred at expiry – In case a digital credit card expires, the remaining credit limit on the card can be transferred to the primary card. This ensures that the user can make use of the digital credit card’s total limit.
  • Available at zero fees - Currently, most credit card issuers offer these cards free of cost. Therefore, customers do not need to pay any fees while availing these cards.
  • Can be Used for National and international transactions- Digital credit cards can be used for both national and international transactions. This allows cardholders to easily make online purchases.

Users must make their decision on digital credit card applications after taking note of the following points:

  • A primary credit card is a must while issuing a digital credit card. Therefore, applicants obtain a physical card to avail of a digital credit card.
  • Digital credit cards cannot be used at physical stores or can be used to a limited extent. Users cannot make purchases at shopping malls or physical outlets using a digital credit card.
  • Since a digital credit card’s usage is restricted to online transactions, users cannot use it for cash withdrawals.

Which banks offer digital credit cards in India?

Digital credit cards in India are offered by banks as well as Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs). Here are a few major banks in the country that offer digital credit cards:

  • HDFC NetSafe
  • SBI Virtual Credit Card
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Netc@rd
  • ICICI Bank Virtual Credit Card
  • Axis Bank’s Purchase Control Virtual Card

Mentioned below are the NBFCs that offer digital credit cards in India:

  • Oxigen Wallet Virtual Card
  • FreeCharge Go MasterCard


Users must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of digital credit cards before applying for one. It makes sense to consider the utilitarian aspect of these cards and the convenience of online shopping while applying for a digital credit card. While using these, users must also ensure utmost online safety to avoid falling into any fraudulent traps.


  1. How does a digital credit card work?

Digital credit cards have an integrated miniature computer that generates a new credit card number every time the card owner makes a purchase. Since these numbers are for one-time use only, owners have to use a personal identification number to complete the transaction.

  1. What is the use of the digital card?

Digital credit cards allow users to make online purchases with utmost security as these generate card numbers that are for single use.

  1. How do I get a digital credit card?

To get a digital credit card, one must reach out to the bank or card issuer that offers a digital credit card. It is important to have a primary credit card account for availing of a digital credit card.

  1. Are virtual credit card numbers safe?

Virtual credit card numbers are designed to protect the banking information of users safe while shopping online. These offer a sense of security from hacking incidents and since these generate one-time use credit card numbers, cardholders don’t have to worry about online thefts or data leaks.

  1. Are virtual cards legal?

Yes, virtual or digital credit cards are legal and are being offered by many established banks in India.