We recently wrote an article about how you can protect your identity with a virtual credit card number. These single use credit card numbers are tied to your actual credit card number, but are unusable by others if an online merchant’s website was ever to be comprised in any way. If someone were to obtain your credit card number and try to use it elsewhere, it simply would not work; protecting you and your identity. Virtual credit card numbers are available from a number of issuers. In this article, we’ll tell you what needs to be done to obtain a virtual credit card number by issuer for more secure online shopping.

Bank of America®

All Bank of America credit cards offer ShopSafe®. ShopSafe® is a free service that can generate a temporary credit card number every time you make an online purchase. Before you make your purchase, just sign-in to your Online Banking account and access ShopSafe®. Enter the limit for your card number and the temporary number will be generated automatically. A 16-digit card number is generated that you can continually use specifically with that merchant. No need to ever generate more than one card number for each merchant. ShopSafe® is only available to those with a Bank of America credit card and who utilize Bank of America’s Online Banking service.


For those with a Citibank credit card, generating a virtual credit card number is just as easy. Log in to your online account and select ‘Virtual Account Numbers’ on your screen. You can choose to launch or download the tool to generate a virtual credit card number. Enter your real credit card number and the tool will automatically generate a new number for you. Then enter the new card number where appropriate into the merchant’s website. You only need to generate one number for each merchant. Virtual credit card numbers are available only on individual and student credit cards.


Discover® Card’s virtual credit card generator, Secure Online Account Numbers, is a free tool that launches from your desktop or your internet browser anywhere online. For the desktop version, download the tool and it will automatically launch each time you go to make a purchase. Sign into your account and your billing information will automatically be transferred into most merchant forms. For the browser version, access your online account with Discover® in a new window and click “Create Secure Account Number.” All you have left to do is copy and paste the virtual credit card number into the merchant’s form along with your other billing information.

This added layer of security is one of several great ways to protect your personal information from identity thieves. If you have a Bank of America credit card, a Citibank credit card or a Discover credit card then take advantage of these single-use card numbers. If your current credit card issuer does not offer this technology, we encourage you to express interest in them providing virtual credit card numbers.

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2 Responses to “How to Generate a Virtual Credit Card Number”

  1. […] online purchases. The best way to avoid online credit card fraud is with temporary card numbers. Bank of America, Citibank and Discover all offer some version of a temporary credit cards for their …. If you had used one of these numbers to pay for your PlayStation Network account, for instance, […]

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