As we’ve seen in recent months, online shopping has been embraced by South Africans.

While this is great, one has to wonder how safe all those credit card numbers, CVVs and other data is online. We’re not saying that businesses don’t take online security seriously, but accidents happen and when they do, it’s often a disaster.

In a bid to make its customers’ online shopping experience a bit safer and more convenient, FNB has announced the Virtual Card.

As the name implies, the Virtual Card is completely digital and lives within the FNB App. The Virtual Card is available for Debt, Fusion and Credit Cards, as well as on Debit Cards for business customers.

So what is the Virtual Card.

For one, the entire card’s details are digital which makes cancelling and activating a new card incredibly easy. The prime feature however is a dynamic Card Verification Value (CVV) number.

This means that you could save your card details with a merchant and rest assured that even if those details are stolen, without the CVV, the details are useless.

“One of the key security features on our Virtual Card is a dynamic Card Verification Value (CVV) security number that changes every hour to help customers minimise the risk of fraud when shopping online. The Virtual Card will be safely stored on the App and customers will have the ability to temporarily block, cancel or replace the Card via our App,” says chief executive officer of FNB Credit Card, Chris Labuschagne.

What’s more is that FNB is looking to move away from One Time PINs that are delivered by SMS. Instead, customers will now receive a message through the FNB App to approve or deny transactions.

For FNB customers this is concerning as there are times where FNB App messaging has failed. Of course this goes for OTPs delivered via SMS and at least FNB controls its app and can make improvements as needed.

The Virtual Card can also be used for contactless payments including tap to pay and scanning QR codes.

Unfortunately as Apple Pay is still not available in South Africa, Apple users will only be able to scan a QR code. Android users, however, can tap and pay as soon as a Virtual Card is enabled.

So when can you get your Virtual Card?

FNB has said it is launching this solution as a pilot project at the with a full release set for September/October ahead of Black Friday and the Festive Season.

When the Virtual Card does launch you can link one to an existing physical card for free. In fact, you can create as many Virtual Cards as you want, for free.

As the card is tied to an existing FNB card there is no need to apply for a new line of credit or a new account.

This seems like a great idea especially as more and more South Africans embrace ecommerce. We hope that this solution is as secure as it seems but we’ll have to see how it performs in the wild.

One thing we are excited for is the fact that we can create a Virtual Card for all of our subscriptions and not have to worry should we lose our wallet or our physical card expires.