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What are Single-Use Credit Cards?

by on June 18, 2011

Single-Use Credit Cards

Shopping online is undoubtedly easier and more convenient than the brick and mortar alternative, but it is not always the safest option.

A 2009 Consumer Reports survey showed that two-thirds of 1.7 million households who were victims of identity theft committed over the internet, were related to online shopping. Shoppers should look into safer alternatives such as single-use credit cards.

Single-use credit cards are also called disposable or virtual credit cards. They provide various alias credit card numbers for the same account. In this method, each merchant that you transact with is assigned a different account number, where all of the numbers would be linked to the same base account.

This card is ideal if you want to store your credit card information with an online vendor while cutting down on identity thief because your real account number is never revealed during a transaction. In addition, you can also set a limit on on the card as well.

However, these cards cannot be used for any on-site purchases, including those that require you to show your card at the time of pick-up, because the number on your card and the number used to make the purchase will not match. Another downside is that account numbers only last for 12 months, so you have to update them constantly to maintain automatic bill payments.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/05/30/investopedia52574.DTL
Image Credit: http://www.hotnewsworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/virtual-credit-card.jpg
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