UK-based Starling Bank is introducing new virtual debit cards this week that allow customers to manage their spending, savings and even security for free. These new virtual cards link to a Starling main bank account and use your balance, but they have a unique card number, CVV and expiration date. That makes them perfect for bundling payments and tracking how much you spend, or using separate cards for security purposes.
Not a day seems to go by without a security breach somewhere, and the worst ones can reveal your card numbers and details. While Starling Bank introduced its virtual cards mainly to track expenses, you can also use them to assign a virtual card to various utilities or even have a virtual card that you use online on websites where you normally don’t. shops. You can also quickly lock or remove your virtual card, making it easy to block future payments.
These virtual cards are also great for budgeting or allocating payments like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Apple TV Plus to a single card, so you can see how much you’re paying each month for streaming services. That’s especially useful during a cost-of-living crisis in the UK, where inflation hits goods every day and energy prices skyrocket.
Starling’s virtual cards work online or over the phone, and you can even use them in stores if you add the virtual cards to your Android or iOS mobile wallet. They’re just like regular debit cards, but you don’t get a physical version.
You can have up to five virtual cards active at a time, but you can create up to five new cards each week. So if you have annual payments, you can create a card for this, remove it, and then use that slot for regular payments. The cards can be created in the Spaces section of the Starling Bank app and each card has a daily spending limit of £500 or a maximum of 50 transactions per day.
Starling Bank and competitors such as Monzo have been challenging traditional British banks for years. Both are mobile banks and do not have physical locations or clerks at counters. Instead, everything goes through your phone. They have been hugely influential in the UK, pushing mainstream banks to implement more mobile-friendly banking while demand for personal banks has plummeted.
Monzo and Revolut have offered similar virtual cards before, but they are much more limited. You have to pay £5 a month for Monzo’s Plus account to access virtual cards, and Revolut only gives you one virtual card for free. Starling Bank offers five virtual cards for free to current account holders.
These new virtual cards from Starling Bank are just what every bank needs. They sound like a great way to manage your spending and security, and I personally like the idea of being able to temporarily use a virtual card for certain transactions and not have to worry about my card details falling into the nefarious hands.