How to Obtain a Secondary Credit Card Number

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Getting a secondary credit card number can be an important tool for stopping hackers and thieves when shopping on the Internet. Due to the controversy surrounding theft of credit card numbers, more and more companies are offering the ability for customers to get virtual credit card numbers for one-time use. Because many hacked or stolen credit card numbers are sold on the virtual black market, having a throwaway credit card number for online transactions is a valuable tool toward stopping thieves and achieving better peace of mind.

Check your online account access or call your credit card company to see if they offer secondary credit card numbers. Most major banks, including Citibank and Discover, will issue virtual credit card numbers free of charge to customers.

Signing up for the secondary credit card number service is usually easy and can be done over the telephone or online. You will then likely have to download software or create a separate online login to generate the virtual credit card numbers.

Use the number only one time each to generate maximum protection. You can keep creating new secondary credit card numbers for each purchase.

Buying virtual credit card numbers or secondary card numbers through online or in-store Visa, American Express, Discover, or MasterCard gift cards is possible if your credit card company does not offer secondary credit card numbers. However, due to the expense of the numbers ($2 to $10 per card) and the fact that if your actual credit card number is stolen you are rarely liable for purchases, this is probably not a good financial bet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that you cannot get airline tickets, hotel reservations, pizza delivery, movie tickets, or any other purchase that requires a merchant seeing an actual credit card with a secondary credit card number.
  • Do not use a secondary credit card number to pay recurring bills such as cell phones, utilities, cable or gym memberships. Otherwise, you will likely experience billing problems. Do not share your online passwords with anyone, even if they claim they are from your credit card company. Be sure to password protect your computer to achieve maximum safety from your virtual credit card numbers.

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