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Single-use Credit Card Numbers Should Be Used More Often
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Single-use Credit Card Numbers Should Be Used More Often

You might be entirely unaware that most banks offer single-use credit cards when purchasing things online. Interestingly enough, this is one of the easiest ways to prevent credit card fraud from occurring. What happens many times is that hackers will access your credit card that you use on a website, and then they're able to make transactions on their own, thus stealing your funds. Utilizing single use credit card numbers can help prevent this situation from occurring and save you money from fraud.

So, how do they work?

Well it's fairly simple. You just need to ask your bank for a single use number, usually by requesting this information online. Then you enter in the details that your bank is giving you, and it ties to the same bank account number as what you already have. The reason the banks do this is that the number is only good for a single transaction, and then it is no longer usable for future transactions. So if a hacker manages to steal that particular number, it wouldn't do them any good because they don't have access to your actual bank account information.

This makes a lot of sense when purchasing things online. Many websites are not very secure, and even those that are secure are sometimes hacked. Take, for instance, the Sony Online breach that occurred earlier this year. Over 90 million accounts were compromised along with encrypted credit card information. Many outbreaks of identity theft and credit card fraud occurred after this information was leaked. Had the users of Sony systems all been using single use credit cards, then the damage may have been much less.

Future improvements I'd like to see

In the future, I really hope to see single-vendor credit card numbers. That way, you can use a single number that was unique to each vendor online. For instance, if you have an Amazon virtual credit card number, this number would only work at Amazon. So if a hacker somehow were able to obtain that information, they would only be able to use it to purchase items from Amazon, thus reducing the value of that card number for the hacker, and reducing the chances for them to steal your personal identity.

When wouldn't a single-use credit card number be useful?

Single-use credit card numbers aren't the answer to everything, though. In some circumstances such as purchasing movie, concert, or plane tickets, they often ask to see the physical card when you go to pick up the ticket at the desk with the credit card terminal. If you use a virtual number, then you wouldn't be able to present the same number you used to make the original purchase. Also, for subscription products, using a virtual number would not be very useful since you have to change the number every time you race your subscription comes up for renewal.

However, these circumstances are fairly rare, and if you just purchase physical products to be delivered directly to your home, then single-use numbers make a lot of sense (and can save you a lot of cents!).


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