A virtual credit card comes very handy when you have to make any online transactions (Domestic or international). But, which all Virtual credit card services are available for Indians?
This is a complete resource for any Indian bloggers, freelancers, and business owners to learn about domestic and international virtual credit cards. If you need it for one-time usage or for multiple long term usage, you will find something for yourself.
Before that, why you may need a virtual credit card:
Bloggers and Freelancers often have to make payments online for goods and services like web hosting and advertisements. Debit cards are not accepted everywhere and owning a credit card is a must in some scenarios. Moreover, using a real physical card for the international payment have certain fraudulent risks and this could be easily mitigated by using a virtual credit card.
Back in the days, we could use our PayPal account or Payoneer account to receive and use the funds in account to make payment. Due to regulatory changes, that feature is not available for Indians and thus being in the possession of a VCC is an idle solution for us.
If you have always believed that availing a credit card required stringent approvals at the bank’s end and lengthy documentation procedures, then you are only half right. With the arrival of new Easy Credit cards and virtual credit cards, the process is no more as difficult as it used to be.
Difference between Easy and Virtual Credit Cards:
Virtual credit cards are the safest and best option for most needs. It is an online service linked to your Netbanking account or 3rd party services. Whenever you need to pay online, just log in to the online portal and create a credit card for the required denomination. (usually limit is between Rs. 100-50,000 for most Indian banks)
The virtual card is safe because it can be used only once and expires automatically after a few hours or days if not used. The card has a prepaid limit so your merchant cannot overcharge you. Also, you can use it at places you don’t quite trust too, without any worries as the merchant can’t reuse your card credentials after the first usage.
Easy or Instant Credit card is a service from some banks where you get a real physical card from the bank after you pay and maintain a fixed deposit with them as security money. Normally, the minimum amount of fixed deposit is INR 20,000 and up to 80% of the amount can be utilized for credit.
Using Entropay to Create Virtual Credit card for International Payment:
This is the fastest way you can have a Visa powered card which can be used for international transactions. Simply follow the steps & you will have your card within 5 minutes.
- Head over to Entropay & create your free account. (Update: Entropy service has been shut down)
- Login to dashboard & the first option you would see is “Create your Entropay card”.
- Click on it & you would see a screen like the one shown below
- Select the currency for which you wish to create the card for. (Hint: USD is perfect when you purchasing hosting or anything from U.S market)
- You can top up tany amount from $5-$300. Do remember, you can also top-up money from your Indian bank account. For that click on My account > My bank account
- Do note that adding fund will cost you 4.95% of top-up amount. It’s high but still a good solution when you need to purchase something from international market & you don’t have any other solution.
And finally you will have your Entropay card which can be used for the international transaction.
Create account on Entropay (The service has been shut down 🙁 )
I have tested this by purchasing hosting from Hostgator U.S & it worked flawlessly.
Which Card is best for me?
The need varies from person to person. If your needs are mostly like paying bills online, buying web space and booking tickets virtual credit card is enough for you. There are no fees attached, and unused money is deposited back into your account. The only limitation of virtual cards is that you cannot use it in places other than online merchants. For example, you cannot use it over the phone to book tickets or pay bills. Similarly, if you use it for buying music or Apps from iTunes store or apps from Google play store, you will have to update card info everytime you purchase.
Note: Now you can pay for your Google play store charges using balance in your Simcard from Idea cellular.
If you need to use the card over the phone or physically at merchant establishments, you must go for an Instant Credit Card. Same applies for those who buy a lot of content from the iTunes App Store or PlayStation Network Store.
Which Indian banks offer these services?
Easy Credit Cards can be availed from AXIS Bank. Both of these cards Instant & Easy have same features, though.
Update May 2016: ICICI has discontinued virtual credit card. You can always get Instant credit card from ICICI bank.
Pockets app by ICICI: Domestic pre-paid debit card
ICICI Bank offers Pockets app which is available for both iOS & Android device. This can be used by anyone with or without ICICI bank account. This is a mobile wallet & you can use it as a debit card. The only limitation is, it’s limited to online purchases within India. You can also request a physical debit card which would cost only INR 100. Note: this is a pre-paid debit card & useful when you want to secure your transactions.
What are the first time charges?
For a virtual credit card, no extra charges at all. You just need to maintain a Savings account with the bank in case you don’t have one already. The minimum balance for the account is usually INR 10K.
For easy credit card, AXIS bank requires you to have a minimum Fixed Deposit of INR 25K and a savings account with minimum balance of INR 5K. So, that’s INR 30K in total at the time of account opening if you don’t have an account already with them.
Similarly, ICICI Bank requires a minimum FD of INR 20K and saving the account of INR 10K. In total first time deposit of INR 30K. These deposits are fully refundable once you close your account. You can increase your credit limit up to three lakhs by increasing this deposit at the time of opening or later.
So decide your needs and then apply for the card you require. If you have more credit card, related questions feel free to ask us via comments. In case you are already using one of the above do share your reviews with our readers.