What are Virtual Cards?

Virtual cards are a digital version of a plastic payment card and are offered by all major card issuers and card schemes such as Mastercard®. For each transaction a unique 16-digit card number is created and used for booking.

A virtual card number can be subject to uniquely specified controls (depending on card issuer settings), including:

  • How many times it can be used (often only for one payment)
  • How much can be spent with it
  • Which merchant(s) can accept it
  • The time period that it can be used

It works like any other credit card, but provides a more secure, efficient, and low-risk method of making payments as a result of these controls. With this information you have everything you need to make bookings and settle payments. The merchant / hotel processes a virtual credit card as a card-not-present transaction.

One special feature of virtual cards is their single-use characteristic. Each card number is valid for a maximum of three authorizations (however this can differ depending on the card issuer). After being used for these authorizations, the card number becomes invalid and cannot be used again.

Mastercard® Virtual Card