Credit cards: Virtually foolproof

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SummaryAbsolutely free of cost, virtual credit cards come in handy if you venture into unsafe shopping websites

Online shopping is all the rage these days as it gives you access to top brands and innumerable products from both India and abroad. You can now buy virtually anything from electronics, clothing and grocery to fruit and vegetables on the internet. However, you must remember that not all shopping portals are safe and when you enter your credit card details, including the CVV number, you expose your entire credit limit to frauds. Be wary of online transactions where there are chances of your credit card details being exposed.

Though there are safety measures that can be adopted to ensure transaction security, sometimes payments have to be made on sites that are non-secure. To address such dilemmas, banks have launched virtual credit cards, which are a one-time transaction, limited-period cards.

What they are

Virtual credit cards are, as the name suggests, online cards that are not issued physically. It is a free service offered by banks to customers who wish to make an online payment using their credit card. The major products offered under this facility in India are SBI-Virtual Card, ICICI VCC, Axis Bank e-wallet card, HDFC NetSafe and Kotak netc@rd.

Although each bank has named the product differently, the principle remains the same. You can use this facility by accessing netbanking and providing your card details. Thereafter, the bank will provide you a virtual credit card with a 16-digit card number, expiry date and CVV number. You can top up the virtual card with whatever amount you need to make a payment for and the requisite amount is credited by the bank from your account.

Safeguards

There are certain important features that make virtual credit cards safe and useful if used correctly. A customer is allowed a minimum credit limit of R100 and a maximum credit limit of R50,000 per transaction per day. The virtual credit card is valid for 24-48 hours, though ICICI bank allows a longer expiry date. You can make only one payment with the virtual card wherein you can exhaust the credited balance or a part of it. If there is any balance left, it is credited back to your

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