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Here Are The Best Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Jonny Pease

Reviewer

Oct 6, 2023
Affiliate disclosure

With online banking on the rise and fintechs and e-money platforms appealing to a new generation of customers, it should come as no surprise that debit cards, too, are rapidly making the shift from physical to virtual.

Just like their physical counterparts, virtual debit cards are fully-legitimate cards (typically issued by Mastercard or VISA) that come with a 16-digit card number associated with your account, an expiry date, and a three-digit CVV number. You can use your virtual debit card the same as your physical one, the only difference being that you won't be able to swipe or insert it at point-of-sales machines, so you'll need to tap your device instead or pay online.

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In a rush? Here are our picks for the best instant virtual debit cards if you're...

In 2023, there are real advantages to using a virtual card over a physical one. For one, it's often more convenient, with the multi-channel functionality allowing you to make payments over your mobile phone, tablet, or PC and dodging the need to carry around your wallet. What's more, virtual cards run less risk of being lost or stolen than physical ones, and if they are (for example, if you lose your mobile phone), then you can easily block them online.

Virtual cards also almost always let you set spending limits yourself (unlike most physical cards) while still coming with the same top-notch security and anti-fraud protection.

However, your bank probably won't offer you a virtual debit card in most cases. Instead, if you'd like to use an instant virtual debit card, you'll need to open an account with an online bank or banking fintech. This guide explores the best options to get the job done quickly and cheaply!

Key Facts About Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

⚖️ Virtual Debit Cards Compared

15

💰 Average Monthly Fee

$0.00

💳 Major Card Issuers

Visa, Mastercard

🔒 Security

3-digit CVV, Touch ID, Expiration

🇺🇸 Best in US
🇬🇧 Best in UK

Best Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

Sadly, there isn't any one-size-fits-all account and virtual debit card that suits everybody. However, there are three that come pretty close! Below, we explore the fintech apps Chime, Revolut, and Wise, which offer virtual debit cards and associated accounts to customers in many countries worldwide:

Chime (USA Only)

Chime® is one of the most popular checking account services in the United States, in part thanks to its instant virtual card. In addition to no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and no credit checks, Chime's checking account comes with a VISA debit card, an optional savings account, and user-friendly mobile features such as mobile check deposit and real-time transaction alerts. Chime also offers an optional credit builder card, which you may also issue instantly as a virtual card.

  • Account name: Chime Checking Account
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 2
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay.
  • Availability: Social security number required.
  • More info: See our full Chime review or visit the website.

Revolut

A leading fintech, there's a good chance you've heard of Revolut. By signing up, you'll not only get an instant virtual debit card, but you'll also be able to access a broad range of financial services at no fixed monthly cost. However, partly because it's not yet a bank in the US and UK, we think Revolut is best used as a powerful spending tool next to a main bank account instead of in place of it.

  • Account name: Standard
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 20
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay.
  • More info: See our full Revolut review or visit the website.
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From the United Kingdom? Revolut is not licensed as a bank in the UK. The content found on this page relating to its products and services is not intended exclusively for a UK readership and may therefore contain inaccuracies from the perspective of UK customers.

Wise

Wise isn't a bank but a money transfer operator well-known for offering some of the cheapest international transfers globally. However, money transfers aren't Wise's only speciality — they also provide the Wise Account, a low-cost foreign currency spending account (that comes with a virtual debit card) that's best in class for foreign currency spending of all kinds, whether it's holidays overseas, online shopping, or international money transfers.

  • Account name: Multi-Currency Account
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 3
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay.
  • More info: See our full Wise review or visit the website.

Best Accounts With Online Debit Cards by Country

Which bank or fintech offers the best account and virtual debit card for you will depend on where you live. If you come from the US, Europe, or Asia, you'll probably have access to the full suite of benefits that make virtual debit cards truly unique, including compatibility with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others. If you're not from these regions, your options might still be more limited.

Below, we review the leading options in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, India, and Nigeria. All of the virtual debit cards themselves are very similar, so instead, we compare the accounts below based on what makes them the most unique in general:

United States Virtual Card Apps

In the US, big banks typically don't offer virtual debit cards, and only Citibank, Bank of America, and Capital One offer virtual cards at all (although these offerings are credit cards). We think the following fintechs have the best US debit card offerings:

  1. Chime®: Best for day-to-day checking.
  2. Revolut: Best all-around spending app.
  3. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

See our ranking of the best neobanks in the US to learn more.

United Kingdom Virtual Card Apps

UK high-street banks don't typically offer customers virtual debit or credit cards. Fortunately, however, online banks and fintechs usually do. Here are the best options available to UK residents:

  1. Starling Bank: Best overall choice (Starling is a fully-licensed bank).
  2. Monzo: Best for savings and interest (also a fully-licensed bank).
  3. Revolut: Best secondary account and spending app.
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.
  5. Monese: Best for ease of application and newcomers to the UK.

Separately, another exciting offering in the UK is Curve, which we reviewed here. Though not an online bank account with an instant debit card itself, Curve is a personal finance app that allows you to bundle all your existing bank cards into one platform to be used digitally. This essentially allows you to turn your non-virtual cards into virtual ones in just a few taps!

See our ranking of the best online banks in the UK to learn more.

European Union/EEA Virtual Card Apps

Like in the US and UK, virtual debit cards are generally offered by fintechs and online banks in Europe. Here are the best options for EU/EEA residents:

  1. N26: Best all-around (N26 is a fully-licensed bank).
  2. bunq: Best virtual credit card (also a fully-licensed bank).
  3. Revolut: Best secondary account and spending app.
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

See our ranking of the best online banks in the EU to learn more.

India Virtual Card Apps

If you're from India, you're in luck! Many Indian banks already offer full bank accounts that come linked with virtual debit and credit cards, putting Indian banking ahead of the crowd when it comes to virtual transactions.

Some notable examples of banks offering virtual cards are HDFC, SBI, Axis Bank, ICICI, and many others. We recommend checking directly with your bank to determine if they already support this service.

Nigeria Virtual Card Apps

The most interesting virtual debit cards in Nigeria are the following:

See our full list of the best virtual dollar cards in Nigeria to learn more.

Canada Virtual Card Apps

  1. Neo Financial: Best high interest and cash back account with virtual Neo Money™ card
  2. KOHO: Best mobile finance app with a virtual debit card.
  3. Tangerine: Best or online chequing (cards can be added to Google Pay).
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

Australia Virtual Card Apps

  1. Revolut: Best overall spending app.
  2. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

Russia Virtual Card Apps

Virtual cards are becoming increasingly popular in Russia, and many Russian banks (including Sberbank, Alfabank, VTB, and others) already offer virtual cards to retail clients. However, it's worth noting that not all Russian banks offer virtual cards yet, so it's always a good idea to contact your bank to see if they offer these products.

How To Set Up Virtual Debit Card

Setting up a virtual debit card is fast and easy, requiring only an internet connection and a few minutes of your time.

There are two methods to get the job done, depending on what you're after. On the one hand, you could sign up for an online account that comes with an instant virtual debit card (like Revolut or Wise). After registering and being verified (usually in just a few hours), you'll be able to use a virtual debit card while you wait for a physical one to be sent by post.

Here's more about how it works:

Method 1: Open an Online Account

  • Step 01

    Compare online banks

    Use Monito to compare online banks and neobanks to find one for you. Many come with virtual debit cards by default.

  • Step 02

    Sign up for a service

    Once you've found an online account — sign up! All providers on Monito offer accessible, online-only applications.

  • Step 03

    Wait to be verified

    You'll probably need to submit your ID and other personal information. Wait until your account has been verified, which can take anything from a few minutes to a few days.

  • Final step

    Start using your virtual card!

    Once you're verified, you'll be able to start using your virtual debit card right away, regardless of the status of your physical card.

On the other hand, you could also opt to add your regular debit (or credit) card or cards onto a mobile payment app or mobile wallet like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others. This option is best if you're looking for the convenience of being able to pay with your smartphone but aren't necessarily looking to sign up for a new app or online bank.

Here's a bit more about how it works:

Method 2: Use a Mobile Wallet

  • Step 01

    Choose a mobile wallet

    The main options are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, and Garmin Pay. Choose either one you already use or one that'd be convenient for you to start using.

  • Step 02

    Add a new card

    Add a new card in the app by entering your card number, expiry date, CVV number, and full name and address.

  • Step 03

    Activate the card

    Most mobile wallets require you to manually activate the card before using it. You can do this in the app under the 'Cards' section.

  • Final step

    Start using your virtual card!

    Use your virtual card by tapping your mobile phone or watch at point-of-sales or making payments online as usual.

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Tips From the Author

For me, the iPhone's Wallet app was very intuitive. All I had to do was click the "+" symbol to add cards to the wallet. I took photos of the front and back of the card (I could also manually input my card's 16-digit number, expiration date, and 3-digit CVV). Upon confirming the info and accepting Apple's terms and conditions, the card was ready for contactless spending via my iPhone.

FAQ About Opening a Bank Account Online With Free Virtual Debit Cards

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.21% is determined by FDIC as of November 17, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

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Compare Online Banks With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

Filters
Sort by
  1. Wise Multi-Currency Account Monito Score 8.9
    open
    • Languages
      English +21
    • Country availability
      Austria +37
    • Services
      Multi-currency account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Spending while abroad
    • Bank details
      Euro IBAN +11
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar +50
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Very low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  2. Chime Monito Score 8.8
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United States
    • Services
      Partial bank account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      US account & routing no.
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers

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