How to create and use virtual cards in the Google Play Store

Payment methods have become increasingly convenient over the years, from the ancient barter systems to the current cash, cards and bank transfers. However, there is no end to progress. One of the newest payment innovations are virtual cards that allow you to transact without the physical equivalent in plastic. These could be debit or credit cards and are stored in digital wallets.

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Google’s new virtual card feature takes the traditional virtual card and modifies how it works. Instead of a standalone card linked to your bank account or digital wallet, it’s linked to your physical card. When you make an online purchase with your physical card, the feature replaces your actual card number with a unique virtual card number, hiding your real information from merchants. Read on to find out how to create and use Google’s virtual card on your top-of-the-line 5G PC or phone.



How does the Google virtual card work?

The virtual card feature gives you a new number that overrides your physical card number when you shop online. But the underlying principle is different. For some card issuers, you get a single virtual card number for all purchases, but the CVC/CVV changes for each merchant. Meanwhile, other issuers give you a separate virtual card number for each new merchant you shop with.

How to create a virtual card on Google Pay

As useful as Google’s virtual card feature is, not everyone can use it. There are a few reasons for this. For starters, the feature is currently only available in the United States. Also, your physical card must support the feature. If you’re a US resident, you can activate a Google virtual card on your phone or computer by following these steps:

  1. Go to Google Pay website at pay.google.com on your Chrome web browser.
  2. Navigate to Terms of payment tab at the top of the screen.
    Google Pay homepage

  3. Find the card for which you want to create a virtual number.
  4. To select Activate the virtual card. This option is only available if the card supports the feature.
    Google Pay payment methods

  5. Click Turn on.
  6. Click Done.

The screenshots show the process of activating a virtual card on a laptop, but the mileage is similar on Android. The only difference is that you have to open a hamburger menu to see the file Terms of payment option.

Check the details of a virtual card

Once you have created a virtual card, you can use it for several transactions as long as your original physical card is valid. If you need to check the virtual card details for any reason, please follow the steps below:

  1. Visit pay.google.com on your web browser or open the file Google Pay application on your Android device.
  2. Go to Terms of payment form. On Android, tap the hamburger menu icon and tap Terms of payment. You will see a list of your added cards.
    Google Pay homepage

  3. Locate the card you want to view.
  4. To select Manage the virtual card.
    Google Pay payment methods

  5. Choose View and manage virtual cards. You will be directed to the issuer’s website, where you can manage the virtual card.

Using a virtual card with Google Pay

Once you’ve created your virtual card, follow these steps to use it for different types of transactions.

Online shopping

When shopping online, you can make payments quickly, securely and efficiently with the Google Pay virtual card. The checkout page of a supported website usually shows the option to autofill your virtual card for payment. However, if it does not appear, follow the steps in the previous section to check the card information and enter it manually.

In app purchase

Many applications, including the Google Play Store, offer in-app purchases or subscription services. When shopping on those platforms, the Google Pay option appears and you can use your virtual card to complete the process.

Google does not charge any fees for using its virtual card. However, your bank or payment network (Mastercard, Visa or American Express) may deduct normal transaction costs.

If you haven’t created a virtual card, checking out on a supported platform with your regular card may allow you to activate the virtual card feature before completing your purchase.

How to deactivate a virtual card

If you choose to deactivate your card for any reason, please follow these steps:

  1. Visit pay.google.com in Google Chrome or open the file Pay the app on your phone.
  2. To select Terms of payment.
    Google Pay homepage

  3. Find the card you want to deactivate.
  4. To select Manage the virtual card.
    Google Pay payment methods

  5. Click Turn off at the bottom of the screen. A confirmation popup appears.
  6. To select Turn off to confirm.
  7. Click Done. The card is no longer active.

Google says that deactivating a virtual card disables it on Google Pay, but it may be active on other platforms where you’ve manually used it. You must contact the issuer to cancel the card outside of Google Pay.

Google Virtual Cards offer a convenient and secure way to transact online without revealing any sensitive personal information to merchants. However, a physical credit or debit card that supports the feature must be added to your account to use it.

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