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Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service? 242

Posted by timothy
from the other-than-giant-stone-discs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Paypal has quietly killed the Paypal plugin and the related virtual-card service. The service generated on-the-fly, one-time-use credit card numbers. When I called in and inquired about the service, I was told that the service has been discontinued, but may be relaunching something similar depending on interest. They are treating inquiries as a sort of petition, taking down names and contact info. The forums seem to be a lost cause, as no Paypal reps have replied to the numerous posts regarding virtual cards being discontinued. Does anyone know of a good alternative source of one-time-use credit card numbers?"
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Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service?

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  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:05AM (#33099656)

    Citibank, Citicard virtual account numbers [citibank.com].

    Bank of America ShopSafe [bankofamerica.com]

  • Discover card (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:07AM (#33099662)

    Discover Card still offers Secure Online Account Numbers using either a web or desktop app. http://www.discovercard.com/customer-service/security/create-soan.html [discovercard.com]

  • Try CitiVAN (Score:4, Informative)

    by bauzeau (128909) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:13AM (#33099686)

    Citibank offers a "Virtual Account Number" service for their credit cards (Mastercard). It works fairly well. You can do one-shot purchases, or recurring purchases with the same merchant only, or even cap the total you're willing to spend via a virtual number over a number of months.

    They have a web interface, but you can also download a Java applet that can generate numbers and fill in purchase forms for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:13AM (#33099690)

    I dont know about you but my bank account can create VCC's without me even having a credit card. All I need is the debit card and enough cash to actually create the VCC, and of course internet banking enabled. The VCC gets destroyed in a couple of days like normal and the balance amount goes back into your account. Considering that youngsters are advised against taking credit cards, and I haven't this is almost my only option for online shopping.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:16AM (#33099698)

    Depending on your needs I know of no good solutions but here are some:

    You can buy a Simon Gift Card at malls around the country. Don't be fooled by the name. You probably know your mall by a different name even though it is owned by Simon malls. You most likely have one in your town even if you think you do as I discovered. If you don't you will within close driving distance. I live in in the middle of nowhere practically! Not a major city or anything. The NJ/PA border area and have one even. Initially I thought I had to drive a ways. Wasn't true though. Had one 5 min down the road. The fee is $2.95 and you can get them as low as $20. The nice thing about these cards is whatever is left on the old one can be put onto the new one. BUT don't ask them to transfer it- that will cost money. Instead when you buy the new one split the transaction paying partly cash and pay the rest with the old Simon Gift Card. You can have them check the balance of the old Simon Gift Card if you don't know what it is for free.

    http://www.simon.com/giftcard/

    Another one is citiibank. I'm not a fan of citibank but you can open a checking account and they have a feature just like what paypal had which lets you create virtual numbers. Of course this doesn't work if you are a privacy conscious consumer. Or at least you can't open an account without ID.

  • by tapanitarvainen (1155821) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:47AM (#33099782)

    The advise to youngsters against taking credit cards is flawwed. Because of how the current financial industry and credit reporting works.

    If you never get a credit card or loan of any type, you will not have a credit history. This will be very bad later, when you need to apply for credit or a loan, you will be denied, or require a cosigner, and pay a much higher interest rate..

    As far as I know that is pretty much a US-only phenomenon. At least in most of Europe, the notion of "positive credit history" is all but unknown, when applying for a loan it doesn't matter if you've ever had a credit card unless you've failed to pay up. In many European countries many people don't have credit cards at all.

  • Re:Not dead (Score:3, Informative)

    by butlerm (3112) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:55AM (#33099802)

    It is not dead yet, but it will be. Paypal has announced they will be discontinuing service after September 22, 2010. Check out the link.

  • by networkBoy (774728) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:05AM (#33099822) Homepage Journal

    A cell phone contract will establish history in the US as well.
    Any contractual obligation over time whether pre or post paid (I.e. phone Vs. Car loan) will show up on your credit history. So does renting an apartment, paying facilities (gas, electric, cable, phone, etc.)

  • by Kr3m3Puff (413047) * <me@ k i t s o n k e l l y.com> on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:12AM (#33099846) Homepage Journal

    As far as I know that is pretty much a US-only phenomenon. At least in most of Europe, the notion of "positive credit history" is all but unknown, when applying for a loan it doesn't matter if you've ever had a credit card unless you've failed to pay up. In many European countries many people don't have credit cards at all.

    The UK has been starting to introduce a "credit rating" system (thanks to the same companies in the US flogging their wares over here). It isn't as rigorous or specific as the US one and simply rates the risk. It tends to be some financial activity is good (no matter what type) but late payments or defaulted debt is bad. A lot of it has to do with a verifiable history. When I first moved over here from the US, I had a really hard time because I didn't have a previous address. Once I moved about a year in, and had a previous address in the UK, everything got substantially easier. Youth (I think 25) get a high risk rating no matter what.

    In the UK they are card happy (whether it be Debit or Credit) and has moved more and more to a cashless and chequeless society, but I had to remind my partner, who is a Brit, that on our recent holiday to Germany, we needed to carry cash with us and pay for things in cash, because lots and lots of places don't take credit cards and in fact, we found places that do take a card, only take one type of Debit card. Not fun if you aren't prepared.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:13AM (#33099854)

    No, it doesn't. A cell phone contract may require a credit check, but it will only be reported to the credit bureaus if you do not pay. If you get a cell phone and pay it on time, it'll never show up after the initial credit check, which itself will disappear after two years. Student loans, credit cards, store cards, mortgages, etc, all show up. Get a credit card early, use it once every 1-3 months, pay it off when you do use it, and you'll be building a steady history.

    Another tip: if you get an American Express card, all future cards you get with them will be backdated to your original account start date. This can be super helpful if you need to boost your average credit age.

  • Re:[USA only] (Score:2, Informative)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:22AM (#33099872)

    Paypal is worldwide, but as far as I know, when this particular service operated, the option to use this particular service, virtual debit card was only shown on PayPal's US website to US customers...

  • Re:[USA only] (Score:5, Informative)

    by laederkeps (976361) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @03:29AM (#33099880) Homepage
    Swedbank [swedbank.se] (Sweden) offers customers an unlimited number of virtual Visa cards with a given maximum amount and expiration date. They are debit cards tied to the same account as your real plastic card.
  • by bazorg (911295) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:16AM (#33099990)

    As far as I know that is pretty much a US-only phenomenon. At least in most of Europe, the notion of "positive credit history" is all but unknown

    I live in the UK and confirm what the other guy said. If your credit history shows a blank list, you will not get a normal mortgage.

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:47AM (#33100056)
    "If someone steals money from your debit card, it is your money that is gone. If someone steals money from your credit card, it is someone else's money that is gone."

    I'm not convinced that you understand how credit cards work, or for that matter, how money works.

    Doesn't matter if it's your bank or your credit card company, it's YOUR money that's gone. With a debit card the money comes out of your bank, with a credit card the money initially comes from the credit company, who sends you a bill, and you send them money from your bank. In either case you can file paperwork claiming fraud, and in both cases a valid claim of fraud will result in your money being returned. (specific policies vary by company and bank)

    Given the choice, I'd rather deal with a bank than a credit card company. I can walk into my bank and actually talk to someone, can you do that with ANY credit card company? My bank actually wants me to remain a customer, not because I have so much money that it's in their interest to keep me there, but because they actually care about customer service. Any credit card company won't give a flying fuck about you unless you hold one of their super exclusive cards (i.e. Amex Centurion, aka Amex black) that actually cost you roughly two grand per year to have. That's two thousand dollars per year just to hold the card. You're not even eligible for it unless you spend HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars on an Amex gold card. So, yeah, they'll take care of you if you're in the top 0.5% of customers.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:48AM (#33100058)

    Shopsafe works great, I use it any time I am buying from a small merchant (Newegg and the like I order enough they get to have the real number). It creates the numbers in real time so you just log in to the bank as you are going to check out and make a new number, or add money to a number.

    Discover has the same kind of thing, though I've not used it. Looks like the same idea though.

    Seems to be getting to be fairly common with banks.

  • by Cimexus (1355033) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @05:40AM (#33100202)

    Indeed. The US system seems bizarre to the rest of the world.

    In the rest of the world, countries either don't even have a credit reporting system, or if they do, it works from the assumption that you start with GOOD credit history, and the only thing that hurts it are previous debts you have defaulted on. I.e. someone that has never had any credit cards or other debt will be able to get a loan just as easily as someone who has had previous debt, but has paid it off on time etc. The idea of 'building' a credit history is un-necessary - just don't default on debts and you will be fine.

    In my country all they do is look at your income, assets, expenses and any records of previous defaults, and make a judgement on that. There is no 'credit score' as such. The US system seems really weird (and unfair!) to me - since I am a person that has never really had any debt and almost never uses credit cards.

  • by jareds (100340) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @06:03AM (#33100248)

    I'm not convinced that you understand how credit cards work, or for that matter, how money works.

    And I think you're being willfully obtuse.

    Doesn't matter if it's your bank or your credit card company, it's YOUR money that's gone. With a debit card the money comes out of your bank, with a credit card the money initially comes from the credit company, who sends you a bill, and you send them money from your bank. In either case you can file paperwork claiming fraud, and in both cases a valid claim of fraud will result in your money being returned. (specific policies vary by company and bank)

    When you receive a bill, there is no force of nature causing you to send payment. Here's how it works with a debit card:

    1. Money is stolen via your card, coming immediately from your bank account.
    2. You notice the discrepancy (perhaps because you want to withdraw money you expected to have but don't, in which case it sucks to be you).
    3. You ask the bank to return or restore the money, claiming fraud.
    4. (a) The bank returns the money, or (b) the bank denies the claim.

    In case 4(a), you have no access to the money in the time between 3 and 4(a), which could be 10 business days (two weeks). In 4(b), it is up to you to pursue legal action against the bank.

    Here's how it works with a credit card:

    1. Money is stolen via your card, being paid from the card company's accounts.
    2. You receive a bill including the fraudulent charge (note: the company is asking you for money, rather than vice versa).
    3. You make a claim for fraud.
    4. You send a payment only for the non-fraudulent amounts.
    5. (a) The company accepts your claim, and that's the end of it, or (b) they deny your claim, so you keep getting bills and other collection action.

    In 5(b), it's up to the company to pursue legal action against you, rather than vice versa. In all cases, the money remains in your control at least until the company wins in court. (Of course, you would lose the money with the debit card as well if you lost against the bank in court, but the money would have remained out of your control immediately.)

    The point is clear: your money is gone with a debit card in that you lose actual control of it, and have to ask for it back. The card company's money is gone with a credit card because they have to ask you for it back (perhaps not entirely, if they haven't paid the merchant yet, but that's not your concern).

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @06:05AM (#33100252)

    I'm not convinced that you understand how credit cards work, or for that matter, how money works.

    It doesn't take a black card to get good response to fraudulent charges on a credit card because federal banking laws very explicitly define what the banks must do and for once the rules are very favorable to consumers instead of the banks. Meanwhile the only rules governing fraudulent debits are arbitrary ones set up by individual banks and the debit networks. Violating a federal law is a huge deal, the banks don't play around with that -- but breaking their own internal policies, the consequences are practically nil, it puts you at the mercy of someone who might just be in a bad enough mood to take it out on you.

    Furthermore the previous poster is exactly on the mark about it being the bank's money at risk for fraudulent charges and your money for a fraudulent debit. At best you can expect your bank to refund the lost money and any of their internal fees. But if that fraud caused any of your checks to bounce or your automated payments not to go through you are looking at fees from the payees - returned check and late payment fees - and you have no chance of getting your bank to reimburse those fees since they aren't internal and really are whatever the payee wants to set them at.

    No, the only people who should ever use a debit card are the ones who just plain can't qualify for a credit card or are so bad with money that they can't control their spending (and they better be sure not to get so-called "over-draft protection" on those debit accounts because until recently it was impossible to get a debit card without over-draft protection since those over-draft fees are massive cash cows for all banks).

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @06:10AM (#33100262)

    Well, for one thing, Mastercard recently bought Orbiscom. Mastercard sees paypal as a competitor. Since all disposable credit card numbers (including disposable VISA numbers) are handled through Orbiscom's systems Mastercard may have made it prohibitively expensive for Paypal to do business that way.

  • Re:Entropay (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @07:36AM (#33100428)

    4.95% charge to deposit? $8--9 to get it back.? Do you use computers or have guys with green eye shades?

  • Portugal's MBNet (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sodki (621717) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @07:48AM (#33100478)

    Virtual every debit and credit card in Portugal can have access to MBNet [mbnet.pt], a nationwide initiative in which you can have your one time credit card numbers.

    We actually have a pretty accessible banking system here in Portugal. We have a state regulated entity called SIBS that pretty much guarantees that every banking system should be able to talk to the others. In practive, this means that every bank has at least one ATM that is compatible with every debit and credit card in the country, and can be used for free, with no taxes for money withdrawal and other operations. It's pretty sweet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @08:02AM (#33100516)

    Discover Secure Online Account Numbers [discovercard.com]

  • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @08:42AM (#33100640) Homepage

    There are only two kinds of people:

    • Those who have had a bad experience with Paypal and stopped using them.
    • Those who haven't had that experience yet.

    For me it was a refund over a graphics card from ebay that was dead on arrival. They lied to me about the refund process until the card was returned to the seller and then once it was posted switched their line and insisted that they would never have agreed to a refund. I never used them again.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:12AM (#33100730)

    "In the US, Federal law limits you to $50 in exposure to theft of a credit card. With debit cards you are at the mercy of your bank, so I'm glad you are comfortable with yours"

    Both Visa and Mastercard have a zero liability policy for unauthorized use of your card, provided you report a lost card within 24 hours. The only difference with a debit card is that you have to wait for your money to be returned to you, because it was taken directly from your account.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @09:46AM (#33100836)
    At least in the US, they don't get a choice, they can take your CC number, but once it comes time to pay they are legally required to take cash. Because you typically pay for said services after you've used them they're debts which means that the company is legally obligated to take cash. Paying ahead of time, they can turn down cash, but once it's a debt they don't get a choice in the matter. If cash is what you want to pay with, cash is what they have to accept.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @10:17AM (#33100960) Homepage Journal

    http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.shtml [ustreas.gov]

    Q? I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn't this illegal?

      The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," which states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."

    This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

  • Re:Entropay (Score:3, Informative)

    by sco08y (615665) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @12:03PM (#33101400)

    That's considerably less than the loading some credit-card acquirers gouge their merchants for, by comparison, and which you probably never see.

    When other people do it it's "gouging," but your motives are purer than the driven snow.

    Color me skeptical. I understand that handling money safely is expensive, and I don't begrudge people making a living off it.

    But the 5% has nothing to do with how much merchants have to pay. They're still going to pay fees to their acquirer with your card. If you were selling a regular credit card, you'd charge interest to your customers.

    And, yes, customer support and financial security are expensive. You live in a highly regulated country, yet with all those regulations, you have about the same problems with fraud as here. You also have to provide more benefits and pay more income taxes to your support staff, driving up your costs. Higher taxes and more regulations do make goods and services more expensive, and that helps explain why you charge 5% while banks fund similar services by reinvesting deposits.

    Having said that, the numbers may be changing if Paypal is canceling this service.

  • Epassporte (Score:3, Informative)

    by dindi (78034) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @12:49PM (#33101668) Homepage

    Epassporte gives you an ATM card and a Virtual card (not many though, only one). They allow different deposit methods, and are accepted pretty much everywhere.

    Hope this helps

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