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Virtual Credit Card

Instant Payment with Virtual CC in Germany
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How do Virtual Credit Cards work?

When it comes to credit cards, everyone thinks of the plastic card first. But virtual credit cards are getting more and more popular as an easy way for instant payment, online shopping or as gift cards. With the introduction of easy online payments through PayPal and the like, virtual credit cards with credit limit are an easy way to get going instantly.

Today we're showing you some of the best options you have when you're looking for a good virtual credit card in Germany and abroad. Whether you need a credit card number to finish an online purchase or are looking for a good bank account that offers virtual cards, we have several options available. But first, let's take quick look at how an online card actually works.

The 3 things you should know about virtual credit cards

1) What's included:
A virtual credit card is not a physical card and only contains the most important information like the credit card number, the card security code (also known as CVV or CVC), the expiration date and the credit card issuer, like VISA or Mastercard. A personal pin or a name is not always included since you won't use the card at an ATM.

2) How to get one:
Similar to the way a Paypal account can be set up in just a few minutes, a virtual card comes with the same advantages. Usually you receive the required information for a purchase digitally, either through an email or in the banking app. That also means that you can use the card instantly since you don't have to wait for it to physically ship to your location.

3) What you can with it:
Some of the newest providers allow you to get a credit limit on your card, which makes the virtual card not just a prepaid card that you have to top-up first, but like an actual credit card. This allows you to use the card for any kind of online purchase like Amazon, Netflix or even Uber. Depending on your credit history, the information you provide when you first register and how much (or little) you use the card, you can increase the limit gradually.

Virtual VISA Credit Card from DKB
A virtual VISA in the DKB phone app with card number and expiration date.
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The best credit cards in Germany

Looking for the best credit cards in Germany? Read our Ultimate Guide!

  • Which banks you should choose and avoid
  • Costs and fees
  • Free credit cards with credit limit
  • Using credit cards in Germany

Virtual credit cards: These are your options

1) Kredu: Instant virtual card with credit limit

Kredu (previously Kredupay) is a virtual Mastercard with online payment limits to order, shop and pay for what you like. The virtual Mastercard comes with an initial limit of up to € 2.000 and is provided within seconds through an online registration process.

Kredu supports expats and foreigners as long as you have a permanent residency in Germany. You don't need to upload or send in payslips as verification is done online "on the fly". You do however need a mobile phone number for your verification code and CVV/CVC-code for the credit card, which is sent through SMS.

kredu
Sofort weltweit online bezahlen
Type: 
Virtual Credit Card
Provider:  
Mastercard
Yearly Fee: 
€ 99,-
APR: 
Not available
Mastercard Logo
Result
3.7
09/2021
  • Instantly available virtual credit card with credit limit
  • Up to 2.000 € credit limit
  • Online registration, receive credit card number via email within minutes
  • 24/7, weekend support included
  • Including buy now, pay later-feature (45 days)

2) bunq: If you want more than just 1 number

Another great choice is bunq, the bank of The Free. Bunq doesn't just come with a virtual credit card, it comes with up to 5 virtual online cards. You also have the option to set up 25 IBANs and depending on your plan you can get 4 actual credit cards, all from Mastercard.

Bunq is perfect for foreigners, frequent travelers and expats because it operates in over 20 countries all over Europe. The support can help you in any of 7 languages in case you have any issues with setting up your account. The registration is held pretty simple. You can use your mobile phone numbers to start off and install the app. Then you can validate your first information and get an instant online payment account (eMoney account) which you can use. For the full package you'll have to go through verification, which is done in a few minutes through online-ident.

If you want more information, you can also read our in-depth review of bunq.

bunq
bank of The Free
Type: 
Debit Credit Card
Provider:  
Mastercard
Yearly Fee: 
Starting at € 35,88
APR: 
0,00% APR
Google Pay LogoApple Pay LogoMastercard Logo
Result
4.3
09/2021
  • Bank account with Mastercard debit card
  • 5 minute application with no SCHUFA or credit check
  • 3 cards (1x Maestro, 2x Mastercard), 5 virtual cards, 25 (!) IBAN accounts included
  • Mobile bank with a great app, Google Pay, Apple Pay and good support
  • Sustainable and environmentally friendly banking (carbon offsetting, equal opportunity and more)

3) Vivid Money: Virtual VISA card and a lot more

If you're a bigger fan of VISA, then you can check out vivid. Vivid comes with a debit VISA which is physically sent out, but you'll receive the credit card info right away through the app or through email. With Google Pay and Apple Pay, vivid is also quite handy and can be used instantly without needing to wait for that plastic to arrive.

Vivid also gives you a lot of options when it comes to your account. You get up to 10% cashback for your purchases using your vivid card, and you can also invest in stocks or cryptocurrencies starting from 0,01 € (yes, that is correct).

If you want more information, you can also read our in-depth review of Vivid Money.

Vivid
Let Your Money Grow
Type: 
Debit Credit Card
Provider:  
VISA
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
0%
Result
4.0
09/2021
  • Earn money by spending: Up to 25% cashback for purchases
  • Up to 15 free sub-accounts with IBAN
  • Free bank account with no credit history check (no SCHUFA)
  • Includes free brokerage account to invest in stocks or crypto-currencies
  • Free VISA credit card with luxurious metal look
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How does a virtual credit card look like?

A virtual card is generally just a small set of numbers and information:

  • The credit card number, which is a twelve- to sixteen-digit code which shows the card issues (VISA, Mastercard are the most common, American Express / Amex, JCB and Diner's Club are well known as well), the account number and the CVV or CVC code. The numbers serve as identification and allow you to process payments online. They also allow the payment processor (online shop) to verify they are not fake and that the payment is real.
  • The expiration date of the card usually marked as "Until end“ or "Valid until" in the form of MM/YY.
  • The so called CVC-Code or CVV-Code, which stands for Card Validation Code or Card Verification Code respectively. The VISA CVC and Mastercard CVC is a three or four digit number that serves as another step of verification to ensure ownership of the card.
Virtual VISA Card
GIROMATCH helps you
  • Name: Falk Martinez
  • Number: 4513 2586 5876 0869
  • CVV: 593
  • Expiration: 09/2022

Credit Cards are quite popular online and one of the most used payment options in the World. If you are based in Germany than a virtual or a Prepaid Card is a good option to get around in your daily life. While Germans mostly pay with cash or the debit card, credit card usage is becoming more common as most banks issue not just debit cards, but also an additional VISA or Mastercard. So if your going to a restaurant, want to pay at a hotel or do some online shopping, cashless virtual payments are more and more the way to go.

Advantages and disadvantages of a virtual credit card

Pros

  • Speed: Virtual cards are delivered instantly to your inbox. You don't need to wait for the actual card to arrive in the mail, therefore you can use it right away.
  • Safety: Online credit card offers safety and reliability as it is much harder to be stolen like the plastic in a wallet. You do however have to pay attention on which sites you enter your credit card information
  • Transparency: If you go for a virtual prepaid card, you have full cost transparency. If theres no cash, then there are no costs. This makes virtual prepaid cards attractive for younger people, too.
  • Flexibility: Virtual credit cards are more flexible than you thought, thanks to popular wallet apps such as Paypal, Google Pay or Apple Pay. You can also order more than one depending on how you want to use it. Different providers give you different choices for services and names as well.
  • No bank account required: You don't need a new bank account. If you have an existing one, you can just charge up by transfering money to your new card.

Cons

  • Cannot be used for travel: Going abroad or travelling is not the best use for your virtual Mastercard or VISA. While you can book and pay your Hotel online, once you arrive they still might need a physical card for deposits and the like. Therefore the plastic is still needed. But: Google Pay and Apple Pay make your virtual card mobile since you can include them in your Google / Apple Pay App.
  • No cash or ATM use, only used for online payments: Since you dont have anything to put inside the ATM, you cant withdraw any cash from those card. You have to stick to online shopping or transfer the deposit you have left to a different account
  • Check the fees: Depending on your provider, the fee structures can be quite different. Some charge a % of the balance for inactivity, other's require a yearly fee. Make sure to check the fees before you sign up, which have to be made public to you as per German consumer protection laws.

How do I generate a virtual credit card?

The virtual credit card can be ordered right on the banks website. Every consumer with an existing German bank account and German residence as well as a clean credit history can get a data set right after. Whereas prepaid credit cards usually come without any credit history check, virtual cards carry a limit and are thus not free of background checks or information on income, residence and the like. Depending on the type of provider you have chosen, higher limits also require a more in-depth verification. Usually every banking institute needs some of the following:

  1. Registration at the bank or the card provider
  2. Username and password for online banking access
  3. Email or communication information for card info and access
  4. Valid mobile phone number for verficiation
  5. Funding the credit card with cash from an existing account or ATM

Frequently asked questions regarding virtual credit cards in Germany

What's the difference between a virtual card and a regular credit card?

A regular credit card is usually a charge card, meaning it has a limit that is set depending on your standing with the bank and your credit history. The bank then sends you an invoice after a month of use which you have to pay, or they use direct debit to charge it from your bank account. A credit card with credit limit usually comes with free monthly fees, but the interest rates for the used credit can be quite high, ranging from 5 up to 20% p.a.

Virtual credit cards have been tailored for online shopping and virtual payments. Whether for buying something on Amazon or charging up your Paypal account, the owner of virtual cards does not need the actual plastic card. In terms of credit, virtual cards can differ substantially. Some offer a free limit included after application whereas others function as virtual prepaid credit cards where you have to first charge up by paying amount X to the card. The benefit of these prepaid cards is that credit checks, including Schufa, can be avoided.

How do I charge an online credit card?

In Germany, every card usually comes with a certain bank account or a reference number where you can transfer funds to and then use the card. Some cards also come with a free limit which allow you to use the card first without charging them. For these cards you are usually paying a yearly fee or standard rates for the interest on the outstanding limit.
If you have a German bank account already, it is quite easy to charge up virtual cards as you can use services such as Sofortüberweisung, Giropay or just traditional bank account transfers which take between 1 and 2 working days in SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area).

How do I pay online with a virtual credit card?

All you need is a working credit card number (fake does not really get you far, a CVC code and the expiration date with your name to process a payment. And of yourse there has to be balance or a credit limit on the card.

How can I use a virtual card for paying in shops?

Apart from online shops, download portals or Amazon and the like you can use the virtual credit card in an actual brick and mortar store if you use an online wallet like Paypal or Google Pay. Just hold your smartphone to the terminal and the apps will do the rest.

How do I charge my virtual card?

Usually you get a reference number or a maybe even an actual bank accoun that comes with your card. Then you can transfer funds to the IBAN, which is the bank routing number and bank account number at once. After funds have arrived, feel free to buy what you like.

Is the virtual card anonymous?

Many consumers like the anonymity when paying something online. However with German money laundering laws, you always have to be identified at some point. We recommend you check out prepaid credit cards if you like anonymity.

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