virtual card & a physical card differences?

I’m curious on the differences if virtual card & a physical card. Can the physical card make payments the virtual one can’t?


-Both are debit cards.
-Both use the Mastercard network.
-Both are tied to your Revolut account, and draw money out of your account when transactions occur.
-Both can be used to make online transactions (e.g. Spending money at Amazon, or using it as a payment method in an app, like UberEATS or Deliveroo.).
-Both can be used to transact in your base currency (GBP, EUR, …), and in different currencies (Either drawing out of your existing currency account, if there is a sufficient sum.), or by converting it at the interbanking rate.

-You can use your physical card to pay at physical payment terminals. Your virtual card cannot, since it doesn’t exist in the physical realm.
-The physical card can use contactless payments, chip-and-pin and magstripe. Your virtual card does not have the contactless payments feature, a chip for chip-and-pin transactions, and a magstripe for magstripe transactions, as it is not physical.
-The physical card has a PIN, used for withdrawing money from ATMs and when using the chip-and-pin feature when paying at a physical terminal. Your virtual card does not have a PIN (Note that a PIN code is different to SecureCode, which is Mastercard’s equivalent of ‘Verify by VISA’.).
-The physical card has the card security features as set out in the app (Location-based security, magstripe payments disabling, contactless payments disabling, ATM withdrawals disabling, e-commerce transactions disabling.). The virtual card does not (Given how it is virtual, it does not have a magstripe, cannot be used to make contactless payments, cannot be used to withdraw ATMs, and does not have location-based security as it can only be used to transact online, or by entering in the details into a terminal directly.).

In summary: The physical card is physical, and the virtual card is virtual, and therefore cannot be used for transactions made in the physical world (e.g. At a payments terminal in a restaurant.).


So I am still not clear about the pros of the virtual card…why bother? I must be missing the point here. Can anyone clarify? Thanks

Well, you can’t lose a virtual card. And it can’t be skimmed or stolen (card numbers can get stolen, of course). You can define a separate small budget. You can block the card by default and only unblock it occasionally before shopping online while the physical card is ready all the time. Some people want a dedicated card for online subscriptions …


Thank you Frank. Anyway I would have preferred if I could you the virtual card to generate one off or time bound cards. That to me would feel as a much improved security. I am waiting for my physical card so I guess I will figure out better then.

-Both use the Mastercard network.

Small detail, but there is a beta program with physical Visa cards, also it seems they now (sometimes?) give virtual Visa, I got one the other day.

Virtual card contributes more towards a thin wallet :grinning:

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Can a virtual card be used for payment over the phone?


I assume that if you only need to provide your card number and the 3-digit CVV, therefore analogous to an online payment, it’ll work.

However, wouldn’t recommend giving your card details to someone over the phone (unless it’s an automated process, e.g. council tax payments) as it’s a security risk.

@anon33247966 should be able to confirm this.

It should be working as long as you give the 3digit CVV.

precisely…recently a anti-virus software company made an unauthorised charge in my card through Paypal !..with a virtual card that it’s most of the time frozen the risk is much lower (at least, we expect so)…

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Hi, I just initiated virtual card after opening acount etc, so Im newbie to the things. I can see now the virtual card and there is a pont I m not understanding the way it works. The CVV code. As it is virtual, there is no other side of the card, so how can I know the CVV code? If such thing exists at all for virtual cards, I dont have any practice in it.

all your cards are listed with card number, valid thru and CVV in the card tab

You can see it right on the picture of the card. :grin:

I have a similar question: Can a disposable virtual card be used for payment over the phone? That would lower the fraud risk.

Yes, I need glasses :+1:

As I understand it, virtual cards can generally be identified as such by their BIN number (the first 4 or 6 digits of the card number). This allows individual merchants or payment processors to treat them differently if they wish to.

A concrete example of this is that Netflix will not accept Revolut virtual cards (or at least, not mine). Their support do not acknowledge this directly (they say the problem is with the card issuer) but anecdotal information on the Interwebs suggests they block them because people were using virtual cards to get multiple 30 day trials.

More generally, on a technical level any card of a given scheme (e.g. Visa or MasterCard) can be accepted by a merchant which uses a payment processor that supports that scheme. However practically speaking merchants and payment processors can and do implement their own rules. There are some restrictions on this in merchant agreements and such, but they are not always adhered to.

I can only speak for myself but my virtual cards have the same BIN like my physical cards and disposable cards.

I also have no issues using the virtual cards for any streaming or shopping sites.

In addition to this, I’ve never succeeded in using the virtual card with PayPal. Only the physical card works for me there.

That’s very interesting, perhaps I’ve put two and two together and made five.

My physical card was stolen so I don’t have it for comparison but my virtual MasterCard begins with 5273. It works fine with YouTube Music and a few other services, but not Netflix (where my physical card has previously worked fine). Are you successfully using a virtual card for Netflix?