A one-time-use credit card is a credit card number that can be used once and only for a limited time. It’s commonly used as an alternative to traditional credit cards when making online payments. A select number of banks offer this kind of credit card, in which you generate a one-time credit card number for security.
A single-use credit card is a type of virtual card that allows online shoppers to mask their real bank or credit card information. The card relies on a uniquely generated card number, expiration date, and security code as a proxy.
One-time use cards may be connected to a traditional account as a free add-on for improved security. Because they are virtual credit card numbers, you can create as you want without affecting your credit score or account standing.
There are a number of benefits of a one-time-use card that are worth understanding.
Benefits of a One-Time-Use Card
Traditional physical credit cards come with many potential risks, and the benefit of a one-time use credit card often mitigates these risks. For example:
- The Risk of Theft is Low: If someone steals your physical credit card, they may make hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars worth of purchases before you can cancel the card. While you’ll usually be able to get the money back due to fraud, it is still concerning. A one-time use credit card minimizes this risk by allowing you to limit spending on the card and close it after one use.
- They are Easy to Replace: While physical credit cards take weeks to replace, which can be incredibly inconvenient, you can easily create new virtual credit cards in minutes.
- They Don’t Affect Your Credit Score: Another major downfall of physical cards is that opening and closing credit cards affects your credit score. On the other hand, virtual credit cards do not impact your credit score at all.
- They Can be Merchant-Specific: There are a number of consumer virtual credit card providers that allow you to automatically create a new one-time-use card when checking out with a merchant online. By doing this, you can ensure the credit card is only good for the purchase amount, which means it cannot be stolen. The information you enter is only good for a limited time and doesn’t show up anywhere permanent.
- They Offer INCREDIBLE Control: You can set your own limits with a one-time-use card, including a monthly, yearly, per transaction, or total spending limit. You do not have to limit the card to one-time use, but you can.
How to Get a One-Time Use Credit Card
Getting a one-time use credit card is far easier than you may imagine!
You do not need another credit card company to get one. Instead, you can either log into your bank if they offer this service (each bank is different) or create one within 10 minutes on Privacy.com (limited to US-residents only).
Here’s a breakdown of the simple steps to create a one-time-use credit card:
Step 1: Create a Privacy.com Account
First, head to Privacy.com to create your account. This should only take a few minutes. You’ll need to enter your basic personal and contact information such as:
- Legal name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Contact information
- Checking account for electronic transfers
To make an account, you must meet the following criteria:
- US resident
- Can verify your identity (for example, with an ID number)
Add a Funding Source to Your Account
Once you have your account set up, you must select your “Funding Source.” You can choose your debit card or bank account as a funding source.
Since you cannot use a traditional credit card as a funding source, you may not be able to earn “points” or conventional credit card rewards. You must have the money in the bank to make each purchase with the Privacy.com one-time-use card.
This means that you will not be able to build up a bunch of credit card debt with your one-time-use cards. Your credit card payments will only go through when you have enough money in the bank to fund them.
Create Your First One-Time Use Card
After you enter your funding source, it’s time to create your credit cards!
You can create your credit cards on Privacy.com at any time. You can have the credit card number expire after the first use, or hold onto it for several months and use it for recurring expenses. You can also set spending limits based on how you plan to use the card.
If you use 1Password as your password manager, you can create Privacy credit cards on the fly for your online purchases. Here’s how:
- Head to your Profile
- Go to “Accounts”
- Turn on the 1Password integration
- Connect your Privacy and 1Password accounts
- Create new cards at any time from the 1Password extension
Get the Expiration Date and Security Code
Once you get the expiration date and security code generated, you can use the virtual card information the same way you’d use your physical credit card info when making purchases online.
And if they are one-time use cards, that means that the moment they are used for the amount you have set, they will automatically close.
Who Should Get a One-Time-Use Credit Card?
A single-use credit card is valuable to anyone who shops online. They will help you protect your personally identifiable information and control your finances.
You can get as many virtual card numbers as you want, to use for one-time payments or recurring payments with set limits. You’ll often also get to decide how long the virtual credit card number is valid. If you don’t get to decide, the expiration date will be generated for you.
Protect yourself against potential credit card fraud with virtual credit cards. Overall, the peace of mind that comes with one-time-use credit cards is worth it.