Best Virtual Debit Cards in 2023

Here's a rundown of the best virtual debit cards.

Updated: October 7, 2023

Are you thinking about getting a virtual debit card? With the meteoric rise in popularity of mobile payment systems like these, physical debit cards may soon become obsolete.

How do electronic debit cards work and what are they? Where can they be used, and more importantly, why they should be used. 

In this comprehensive guide to virtual cards for UK residents, we'll address all of this and more. We’ll also review top-pick virtual debit cards, such as Wise, that are now offered in the United Kingdom.

1. Wise★★★★★Click Here
2. Revolut★★★★★Click Here
3. Monese★★★★★Click Here
4. Monzo★★★★Click Here
5. Skrill★★★★Click Here

At a Glance, Pros and Cons

Let’s look into the pros & cons of the UK’s top virtual debit cards?


✅ Security. A random card number generated by a virtual debit card will provide an extra layer of protection to your online purchases.

✅ Convenience. Your actual debit card is not required for in-store purchases. Your mobile device can be used as payment.

✅ Speed. When you sign up for a new account or if your card is about to expire, you won't have to wait for a card to be sent. You may be able to start using your digital bank card as soon as your account is activated.

✅ Extra possibilities on this card. You may use a prepaid card or connect it to your bank account or credit provider to use a virtual debit card for one-time or recurring online purchases.

✅ Options on currencies. You can avoid costly currency conversion costs when making purchases from foreign merchants by using a prepaid debit card that can be loaded with funds in many currencies.


❌ Possibly won't help in-person. A virtual debit card associated with a digital wallet may be limited in its usefulness if only certain brick-and-mortar establishments allow contactless payments.

❌ Constraints on the use of the card. Keep in mind that many banks and credit card companies have restrictions on the total amount of purchases that may be made using a contactless card.

Top virtual debit cards — Reviews

A virtual card is a card that exists only in a digital form.

A virtual card is an electronic version of a traditional debit card. Instead of carrying a physical wallet, you may keep the card in your phone's digital wallet. When you open an account with a digital bank or use a prepaid card, you get a virtual card.

Cards are issued with unique numbers, verification codes, and expiration dates, yet the whole process takes place in cyberspace.

Virtual cards are interchangeable with digital cards and disposable credit cards. Digital cards are just digital copies of traditional bank cards kept on your phone, whereas throwaway cards are temporary digital forms intended for a single transaction.

We're all used to using our debit cards at ATMs and retail locations, as well as while shopping online. Of course, debit cards may be far safer and more practical than carrying around a lot of cash. But what if there was a risk-free substitute that allowed you to leave your wallet at home?

In the UK, where can you get a virtual debit card?

Digital and mobile-only banks are at the forefront of the shift towards virtual debit cards. Some of them include Wise, Monese, and Skrill, all of which we will examine below. Each one functions like a debit card in theory, and some even provide prepaid and one-time usage options.

Currently, these are the top virtual cards:

  • Wise
  • Revolut
  • Monese
  • Monzo
  • Skrill

Typically, digital cards provide the same exchange rates and costs on multi-currency purchases as debit cards. Aside from being on your phone, there is no other difference.

With that said, some of our favourites are below 👇

1. Wise — Best overall virtual debit card

Leaving the country? Check out Wise when researching virtual debit card options. Wise's virtual multi-currency card offers competitive foreign exchange rates.

You can open a Wise personal account online for free, and for 5 GBP you can obtain a real debit card. You may quickly manufacture up to three reusable virtual cards that can be added to mobile payment systems like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Get a debit card that can be used for contactless purchases and cash withdrawals at ATMs in 175 different countries when you open a Wise multi-currency account. A virtual card is also available, with all the same benefits plus additional protection and portability.

Your Wise digital card may be used everywhere that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay, in any local currency. Currency is converted for you at the card's standard mid-market exchange rate. No additional costs are assessed for making an overseas transaction, and the currency conversion charge is minimal.

In addition, there is no need to pay a conversion charge if you already have the currency in your account. You can take advantage of the card's flexibility by not loading any currencies onto it before your trip (manage 50+ currencies at once), or by doing so.

All in all, the Wise digital card is an additional simple and low-cost option for those who are travelling, working, or studying abroad. 

Opening a Wise account online is fast and simple, and there are no ongoing costs involved.

2. Revolut — Top virtual debit cards for instant availability after signing up

Revolut, a popular digital accounts provider, has many options for virtual cards.

When you sign up for a Revolut account, you'll get a digital card. A virtual debit card can be added to your Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet immediately, eliminating the need to wait for a real card to come in the post. This paves the way for you to quickly begin using your phone as a payment method.

Single-use cards are also available from Revolut. These are one-time-use debit cards that exist solely in cyberspace. However, after you've used your virtual card, you won't need to apply for another one. Once the transaction is complete, the information is updated so that you may continue shopping.

A Standard Revolut account is free to join up for, whereas premium accounts cost money each month. 

You may be able to create both a permanent virtual card and one or more temporary virtual cards, depending on the kind of account you have. The Revolut mobile app can be used to control any kind of Revolut card, whether digital or physical.

3. Monese — Excellent for extra protections

Monese provides both a digital replica of a physical debit card and independent virtual cards. Extra protection while making purchases is provided by the unique 16-digit number on these cards.

Free virtual card activation is limited to one per Monese account. Take note: your e-card will never expire.

However, unlike other virtual cards like Wise or Revolut, you cannot simply replace it if it is lost or stolen; instead, you can only ‘lock' it to prevent further use. As a result, it is not “disposable” in the same sense as the products provided by Wise and Revolut.

Google Pay and Apple Pay allow you to use your virtual card in both online and in-store purchases. The Monese app makes it easy to keep track of purchases, lock and unlock your card, and get push alerts whenever you make a payment.

You can create a new virtual card inside the app if you are currently a client of the mobile-only Monese. Choose the ‘virtual card' option by swiping left from the ‘Card' menu. One virtual card may be created for each currency account. You'll need an actual Monese card first, though.

4. Monzo — Great for premium users

Virtual cards are available to Monzo customers only if they have a Plus, Premium, or Business Plus account.

The most popular UK-based digital bank, Monzo, offers a good selection of banking services and products.

Premium account holders can create up to five virtual cards at once for both online and in-store use. Plus accounts cost 5 GBP per month, while Premium accounts cost 15 GBP per month. Unfortunately, you can’t get this in Monzo's free current accounts. 

In contrast to the standard debit card that comes with a bank account, each Monzo virtual card has its own set of identifying details. 

You can also use ‘Pots' with as many as five virtual cards at once. With these, allocate a certain amount of money in your account for a certain purpose (such as savings or regular expenditure). Each pot can have its own virtual card and is also compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

5. Skrill — Popular for exporting

Skrill is not a debit card but rather a prepaid card. It’s also a “challenger bank”.

You'll need to add funds before you can make purchases, but because you can never spend more than what's available on the card, overspending is impossible.

Skrill, a specialist supplier of digital wallet services, mainly offers the Skrill Virtual Prepaid Mastercard. Like any other virtual card, it can be used online. 

A 16-digit number will be assigned to it and stored in your Skrill account or other mobile wallet. You may use it to shop online or in-store at any merchant that accepts Mastercard or contactless payments. However, you can't use it to withdraw cash from an ATM.

As the name of the card implies, a balance must be added before it can be used and that it must be replenished when it is depleted. You may, however, pay with your existing Skrill balance.

You shouldn't have too much trouble submitting an application for a Skrill Virtual Prepaid Mastercard. Credit checks aren't often performed on first-time cardholders, and the application is free.

UK’s top virtual debit cards — Buying Guide

Let's go further into how these services work:

How do virtual debit cards work?

Virtual credit cards not only make online purchases easier, but they may also increase your safety.

The 16-digit card number on a virtual card is produced randomly and, in many situations, may be regenerated instantly. To illustrate how virtual cards function, imagine making an online purchase from a shady website.

In this situation, you may finish making your purchase as usual, and then, after the payment has been processed, you can throw away the card you used and create new card information. That way, if someone were to steal your card number, all they'd have is a random string of digits.

Information used to build a virtual card is kept in an encrypted manner, making it impossible to trace back to the original physical card. If your virtual card number were ever compromised, you could simply cancel the card and save the inconvenience of cancelling and replacing your actual card.

What's the difference between a digital, virtual, and throwaway card?

Virtual cards, disposable cards, and digital cards are all phrases that may be used to refer to the same thing when discussing electronic versions of traditional plastic cards.

However, there is some variation among these cards that is worth learning about so that you may choose the one that best suits your needs.

Virtual cards, as we've previously established, are digital substitutes for traditional credit cards that exist only in the app on your phone. 

Disposable cards are another name for virtual cards that can be rapidly regenerated; after one usage, they are erased and replaced with fresh cards.

Digital cards often refer to the use of a physical card in conjunction with a mobile wallet service such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. You can now use your phone to make purchases, but unlike a virtual or disposable card, the numbers on your actual card and your digital representation will match. 

How can I make a virtual debit card? (In 2 easy steps…)

Virtual or digital cards can be set up in a few different ways, each dependent on the chosen card and the user's preferences.

There are 2 key steps: 

Step 1: Register for a virtual debit card service.

Virtual debit cards are available immediately after online account opening and verification; examples include Wise, Monzo, and Revolut. 

It's possible that you'll have to place an order for a physical card before your virtual card can be created, but in any case, you should be able to start using it as soon as it's ready.

Step 2: Use a mobile payment system.

As we've already established, another option is to convert your real card into a digital card by using a mobile wallet. 

Using a mobile payment system like Apple Pay or Google Pay, you can use your usual bank card to make purchases. Simply launch your chosen mobile wallet software and follow the on-screen instructions to add the new card. 

In many cases, you can skip entering your card data by scanning the card using your phone's camera.

Leading virtual debit cards: The Verdict

Keep in mind that the Wise digital card could be the best option for minimising hassle, ensuring safety, and maximising your savings when travelling internationally.

Who benefits from a virtual card?

There are several situations in which digital cards might be useful. If you like to leave the home with as little as possible in your pockets, a virtual card may allow you to get by with only your phone and your keys.

If you are concerned about the safety of your credit card information, a virtual card may be the best option for you.

If you're worried about spending too much, remember that making a purchase with a virtual card should be the same price as making one with an actual card when utilising the tap-and-pay method.

Last but not least, Virtual cards come in useful for paying for subscriptions; just pay with a disposable card and you won't be charged again the following month or year. You can also re-subscribe at any time, but you'll need to use a new payment method to avoid having your old card automatically charged without your knowledge.

Related Guides:

Top-rated virtual debit cards — FAQs

Why use a virtual debit card?

Is there a PayPal prepaid card option?

Where else other than TD Bank can you get a VDC?

Where do prepaid cards and debit cards vary virtually?

Why are people favouring prepaid debit cards online?

What are the negatives of virtual debit cards?

Is there a way to move funds from PayPal to Google Wallet?

Is it possible to steal a virtual card?

Are e-gift cards against the law?

Is there a CVV on a virtual card?

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