PayPal is entering the virtual world with their Virtual Debit Card, aimed at preventing fraud and keeping your account safe. This idea by no means is new. My CitiBank card has been offering this for quite some time now, and I’m surprised it’s taken others, including PayPal so long to follow.  Regardless, it’s a great service, and one that a lot of people will benefit from.  The screenshot below is what I saw when I logged into my account. 


There’s more to it than just the virtual debit card.  Here’s what you can expect from PayPal Virtual Debit Card after downloading it:

  • Fraud Site Alert: Warns you if you land on known or potentially fraudulent websites (And who hasn’t? They’re all over!)
  • Privacy and 100% Protection: Financial information you provide is never shared with any merchant.  And you get 100% protection against unauthorized payments sent from your account.
  • Faster checkout: The form fill feature automatically completes shipping and billing details (you can customize what it will fill in).

PayPal Fraud Image One of the best features is the fraudulent site alert. There are so many scammers out there pummeling fraudulent emails out to unsuspecting PayPal account holders.  The image to the right shows what you would see if you were on a fraudulent site.  A message pops up letting you know that you shouldn’t enter in your personal information. Some browsers have protection like this built in, so this will be yet another safe-guard to protect your account.

When you go to pay online using your Virtual PayPal debit card, you’ll be issued a card number that is good for that transaction only. If someone steals your account information, it won’t matter! A new number is generated for each purchase that you make. This new service will be available to use anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.

For now, only selected PayPal users have been invited to try this service out.  You’ll know if you’ve been invited by logging into your PayPal account. You’ll have a message letting you know, and a link for the download (4.8 MB). Now, in order to download the program, PayPal will call the phone number that is attached to your account and give you a security code to enter in. After you’ve entered in the correct code, you’ll be able to download the program.

After I downloaded the program, I went through the set-up process. I was asked to select an image(screenshot above). There were about 100 different images to choose from, and this image will appear on the screen every time that you use the Virtual Debit Card.  If you don’t recognize your image, or don’t see any image at all, this means that you shouldn’t log into the system because it’s a fraud attempt on your account.

You’ll need to be using IE 5.01 or later for the application to be integrated into the browser, along with Windows 98, ME, 2000, NT, or XP (we tested on Vista, and it worked as well). You can still use it without IE to generate a card number, but features like the form fill and fraud detector won’t work. If you’d like to take the tour that PayPal has put together on their website, click here. If you’d like to view the tour that users will see when setting up an account, click here. The tours are essentially the same thing, however the second goes more in depth on how to use it.

News Source: Slashdot