Capital One Virtual Credit Card Numbers Allows for Safer Online Shopping

Shopping online is a great way to buy things without having to leave your house.

One big concern of online shopping:

The security of your credit card number.

You may accidentally enter your card number on a less reputable site, or the online retailer might be hacked down the road, revealing your payment information to the hacker.

To address these worries, Capital One lets credit card customers create virtual account numbers for safer online shopping.

The feature is part of a digital assistant called Eno that is offered by the bank.

Learn how these virtual account numbers work so that you can shop with more peace-of-mind.

What is Eno?

Eno is an intelligent virtual assistant that Capital One has created to help its customers make the most of their credit cards.

You can sign up for Eno through Capital One’s website. Once you’ve signed up, Eno will send you a welcome text message. From there, all you have to do is text questions or actions to Eno.

The digital assistant can help with various tasks that include:

  • Monitoring for fraud in real-time
  • Setting automatic account alerts
  • Create virtual account numbers
  • Paying bills via text message

Eno intends to help you keep track your account and help you stay on top of your finances.

How to Create Virtual Account Numbers

One of the most useful features of Eno is the ability to quickly create virtual card numbers that you can use to make purchases.

What is a virtual account number?

A virtual account number is a way that you can use your credit card to pay for an online purchase without giving away your real credit card information.

Every credit card has a card number.

For Capital One cards, the number is 16 digits long. That number, plus the expiration date and security code serve to identify your specific card. If someone is able to get ahold of your card number, they could use it to make online purchases without your permission.

When you create a virtual card number, you're creating a second card number that is tied to your real card number. You can use this new, virtual card number to make purchases, and the charges will show up on your credit card account.

Why is this useful?

Because it’s much easier to prevent fraud when you use a virtual card number. If someone steals your real card number, you have to ask the card issuer to send you a new card with an entirely new account number. If you use that card for any regular payments, you’ll need to provide the new card’s info to any merchant that charged your old card.

With a virtual card number, you can set specific expiration dates, spending limits, or other restrictions.

If someone steals a virtual card number, they’re likely to be blocked if they try to use it to make a purchase.

Even if they can use the virtual card number, deleting the virtual card number and making a new one is easy.

You could create a separate virtual card number for every online merchant you shop at, making it easy to determine how someone got access to your card number.

Using Eno to generate a virtual card number

Using Eno to make a virtual card number is easy.

Log in to your Capital One account and open up Eno’s control panel. You’ll see an option to create a virtual card number. Click create and Eno will provide you with the virtual account number. You can also visit this page to lock or deactivate any virtual card numbers that you’ve created.

During this process, if you have multiple Capital One card, you’ll be prompted to choose one to charge when your virtual account numbers are used.

If you install the Eno browser extension for your web browser, you can automate the virtual card number process.

When you go to check out, Eno will pop up and ask if you’d like to create a virtual card number.

Follow the prompts, and Eno will automatically create, enter, and save your virtual account number.

Is it merchant/transaction specific?

One of the best things about Eno:

You don’t have to remember the virtual numbers that it creates for you.

Eno does all of that work for you.

That’s good news because you’re likely to have a lot of virtual card numbers. The card numbers it creates are tied to the specific merchant you’re buying from at the time that the number is created. If you want to use a virtual account number with a new merchant, you’ll need to make a new one.

Keep in mind, virtual account numbers are only for online shopping. You can’t use them at brick and mortar stores.

Do virtual account numbers expire?

Virtual account numbers do eventually expire, just like real credit card numbers.

Now:

You have to keep track of each number’s expiration date.

If you pay for a recurring subscription with a virtual account number and it expires, you might lose service when the company tries to charge your now expired virtual card.

You can check the expiration date for your virtual card numbers by visiting the Eno control panel on the Capital One website.

Why to Use a Virtual Account Number

The number one reason to use a virtual account number is security.

The reality is that online merchants are a major target for online crime because of the amount of payment information that they have.

Criminals who want to collect people’s payment data have sophisticated tools that they use steal that information. Cybersecurity experts and cybercriminals are constantly trying to outpace the other when it comes to discovering and exploiting new bugs and techniques.

In all likelihood, your card information being compromised is a when rather than an if.

So:

Using a virtual account number can significantly reduce the impact of having your payment information compromised.

The typical response to a compromised card

If someone steals your true credit card number, you’ll need to get an entirely new card.

This leaves you without a card until the new one is shipped to you, and means that you’ll have to update your payment information with every company that charges that card. This can be an arduous process and you’re likely to miss a few merchants.

Using a virtual card number makes dealing with this kind of situation much easier.

Just cancel the virtual card number and make a new one.

There’s no waiting for a new card to show up and no updating card information with multiple merchants.

Returning an Item

Returning an item bought with a virtual card number is no problem.

When you make a purchase using a virtual card number, Capital One automatically applies the purchase to your real card, even if it never reveals your actual card information to the merchant.

Similarly, if you return something that you purchase, Capital One will credit the return against your actual card, even if the merchant reports the return to Capital One using your virtual card number.

Should You Use a Virtual Account Number?

In short, there is almost no reason that you should not use a virtual account number.

Eno makes creating, managing, and using a virtual account number incredibly easy. There’s nothing extra required, just use the virtual card numbers as though they were regular card numbers, and pay your bill like usual. Everything else will be the same.

The security benefits of using a virtual account number are more than worth the very slight effort of allowing Eno to create the virtual account numbers.

Exception: booking travel reservations

The only exceptions to this are situations where you may new to show your card to confirm a reservation or pick up tickets.

If you use a virtual card number for this type of purchase, the merchant will never see your real card number.

When you go to pick up the tickets or check in to the hotel, you won’t be able to show the merchant the card that you used to make the purchase, because the card number that will be on record will be different than the number that is actually on your card.

In these cases, it might be better to make the purchase without using a virtual card number.

That will make it easy to go to the merchant and show them the card so you can check in to the hotel or pick up your tickets.

Conclusion

Eno, Capital One’s virtual assistant, can help you with a variety of tasks, including keeping your card safe by creating virtual numbers for you.

There’s no reason not to take advantage of this service, so keep your card protected by using a virtual card number whenever possible.

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