PayPal Virtual Card: Useful, Secure – Yes; Innovative – No

PayPal is inviting selected users to test their virtual debit card program.

“The virtual number is a MasterCard number used in place of your credit or debit card number. Each time you make a purchase from a website, a new number is generated. This avoids the problem of having the number stolen. Since it’s only good for one use, it doesn’t matter if someone steals it.

It certainly make sense, but I find it funny that it’s beeing heralded as new.  Like I’ve said before, “I only ever use throwaway, virtual credit card numbers on the Net, so scammers can bill all they want, they can’t charge my card” – that’s a service by CitiBank, and I’ve been enjoying it for at least five years. 

That said, it’s still a significant move, I’m sure PayPal will reach more tech-friendly users than Citi does.  So Markus Frind may be right:

If there is uptake on this it will really change online commerce.


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