3 Best Virtual Credit Cards In Canada (Oct 2022)

September 9, 2022
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There are quite a few good virtual credit cards out there, but some stand out above the rest for their cash back rewards, low-to-no foreign exchange fees, and even the option to earn cash back on purchases abroad. I constantly keep up with the latest promo rates and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.

I recommend the KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card as the #1 virtual credit card in Canada due to its no annual fees, complimentary financial advice, and bonus cash back on online purchases when you refer friends. It is one of the most flexible cards, even abroad, offering cash back on all purchases and zero foreign exchange fees.

What Is A Virtual Credit Card?

Virtual credit cards are temporary, digital credit cards that can be used a limited number of times (usually once) or for a limited amount. To use a virtual credit card, you have to request your credit card issuer to generate for you an Issuer Identification Number (credit card number), an expiration date, and a security code. This number generated is different from your real, physical credit card, and can be used as a credit card. It's a great way to make online purchases without sharing your real information.

Virtual credit cards can be linked to your main account or function as prepaid cards. The most customizable cards allow you to set up spending limits or a number of uses, so you can treat them as disposable cards. This type of card can be a great addition to your credit card collection for extra security when purchasing online, and some virtual cards even offer cash back benefits and discounts on select merchants.

Without further ado, here are the best virtual credit cards Canada has to offer:

The Best Virtual Credit Cards In Canada

  1. KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card: Best for promotional cash back rates and no annual fees
  2. KOHO Premium Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard: Best for no foreign exchange fees and saving tools
  3. STACK Prepaid Mastercard: Best for travel rewards and CDIC insurance

KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card

Great for automatic RoundUps and no annual fees
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    300+
  • Features & Benefits

    • No foreign exchange fee
    • Price protection
    • Complimentary personalized financial coaching
    • Receive both a physical and virtual card
    • Load funds via e-transfer or direct deposits
    • Sync your KOHO card with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay and receive real-time spending notifications
    • 10% cash back for 90 days after referring a friend
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for automatic RoundUps and no annual fees

    Pros

    • 0.5% cash back on all purchases
    • No annual fee
    • Refer friends and earn 10% cash back on all purchases for 90 days
    • Set up automatic RoundUps to grow your savings
    • Track your spending habits in real-time
    • Access your payroll 3 days early

    Cons

    • Low cash back rate plus no bonus points on any category
    • 1.5% forex exchange fees
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The KOHO Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t require a high credit score or a good credit history. This card has no annual fees and is compatible with most other KOHO services: you can manage it from your KOHO mobile app, build your credit, and link it with your KOHO Savings account. Anybody can apply for the card and approve it in just a few minutes.

    Perks and Benefits

    Some of the perks and benefits of this card are a base back on all purchases, a promotional cash back rate at partner stores, and low foreign exchange fees. Here’s the breakdown:

    • 10% cash back at partner stores (online and in-person)
    • 0.5% cash back on all purchases

    Additional benefits include:

    • No hard credit checks
    • No foreign fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Create a KOHO Save account and start to earn interests on your balance (1.2% APR)
    • Set up automatic RoundUps to grow your savings
    • Reload your card through e-transfers or direct deposits

KOHO Premium Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard

Great for no foreign fees and customizable cash back categories
  • Annual Fee
    $84
  • Interest Rate
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    300+
  • Features & Benefits

    • No foreign exchange fee
    • Price protection
    • Complimentary personalized financial coaching
    • Receive both a physical and virtual card
    • Load funds via e-transfer or direct deposits
    • Sync your KOHO card with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay and receive real-time spending notifications
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for no foreign fees and customizable cash back categories

    Pros

    • Earn 2% cash back on up to 3 categories (0.5% on all other purchases)
    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Free financial coaching with a professional
    • Earn up to 1.2% on your balance by signing up to KOHO Save
    • Set up automatic RoundUps to grow your savings
    • Access your payroll 3 days early

    Cons

    • High annual fee for a reloadable card ($84)
    • No welcome bonus
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The KOHO Premium Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t require a high credit score or a good credit history; anybody can apply for the card and have it approved in just a couple of minutes. This card has an annual fee of $84 and is compatible with most other KOHO services, including the KOHO mobile app, KOHO Credit Building, and KOHO Saving.

    Through KOHO Saving, you can earn interest on your balance (up to 1.2% APR), something that is very rare in credit cards. It’s worth noting that KOHO reports to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, making this card a great option for rebuilding your credit.

    Perks and Benefits

    The KOHO Premium Reloadable Card's primary benefit is its cash back rewards. KOHO offers bonus cash back on the 3 biggest spending categories: groceries, eat & drinks, and transportation. All other categories earn a base rate of 0.5% cash back. Here’s the breakdown:

    • 2% cash back on 3 spending categories (Groceries, eat & drinks, transportation)
    • 0.5% on all other purchases

    Additional benefits include:

    • No foreign fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Create a KOHO Save account and start to earn interests on your balance (1.2% APR)
    • Set up automatic RoundUps to grow your savings
    • Reload your card through e-transfers or direct deposits

STACK Prepaid Mastercard

Great for instant approval, no annual fees, and CDIC insurance
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
  • Welcome Bonus
    $5
  • Rec. Credit Score
    300+
  • Features & Benefits

    • 20% cash back on select hotels with STACK Travel
    • Discounts on a variety of merchants
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for instant approval, no annual fees, and CDIC insurance

    Pros

    • $5 bonus
    • Instant approval (no credit or credit history checks)
    • Load money with e-transfers, visa debit, through payroll deposits, or at select merchants
    • Access to a Virtual Card and a digital wallet
    • Redeem rewards at over 150 partner stores
    • Insured directly by the CDIC for up to $100,000

    Cons

    • No welcome bonus
    • Doesn't help you build your credit score
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The STACK Prepaid Mastercard is a no-fee reloadable card that doesn’t have a credit score requirement. It doesn’t have a minimum deposit either, but you will need to deposit before you can start using your card.

    This card doesn’t charge foreign fees on purchases abroad, online, or ATM fees (keep in mind the ATM network may charge a fee).

    Rewards

    Has a unique rewards system: it doesn’t use points or rewards but instead offers discounts on purchases up. Here are some of the offers available:

    • $1 off grocery purchases (up to 4 times every month)
    • $1 off gas purchases (up to 4 times every month)
    • $5 every time you refer a friend

    Make sure to check STACKS' site; they’re always partnering up with different stores and offering deals and discounts on purchases.

    Perks and benefits

    • Instant cash back on everyday purchases
    • Supported at over 140 retailers
    • Earn cash back on FX and ATM withdrawals
    • Special offers every week
    • Set up payroll payments and get paid 2 days earlier

    Insurance

    This card is insured by the CDIC for up to $100,000 per insured category per user.

How Do Virtual Credit Cards Work?

Not all credit card issuers offer virtual credit cards. Virtual cards are functionality that some credit card issuers offer their cardholders; they’re usually designed to be used once for security purposes, so if you make a purchase over an unsecured network, your physical credit card number won’t be compromised. Virtual credit card numbers can’t be traced back to your original credit card number or your bank account.

Most virtual credit cards are compatible with digital wallet services like Google Pay and Apple Pay, and some function like reloadable cards and allow for multiple uses. Some virtual credit cards can be used in-store as well as online.

Pros & Cons Of A Virtual Credit Card

Pros: Why A Virtual Credit Card May Be Worth It

  • Virtually immune to fraud; virtual credit cards can’t be stolen or cloned
  • Start using your virtual credit card before your physical card is issued
  • Create single-use virtual cards, and don’t worry about data breaches
  • Easy to generate new virtual card numbers
  • You can set spending limits and expiration dates for your virtual card

Cons: Why A Virtual Credit Card May Not Be Worth It

  • When requesting a refund, some retailers may have the policy to return the funds to the same account that made the purchase
  • Some merchants may require you to verify your credit card number more than once

How To Choose A Virtual Credit Card In Canada

Features And Customization

If you’re specifically looking for a virtual credit card – as opposed to a physical credit card that offers virtual card functionalities – you want it to be as customizable as possible. The best virtual credit cards allow you to set spending limits, a number of uses, or even an expiration date. Virtual cards can help you budget; in that respect, they’re similar to prepaid cards.

Annual fee

If you’re looking to pay off debt, the last thing you want is an annual fee. Some cards offer cash back or other perks to attract customers. Still, those perks usually encourage spending – and if you’re shopping for a balance transfer credit card, you’re probably looking to reduce your spending. Look for a card that charges no annual fee; you can always apply for a dedicated rewards card that will offer better perks.

Personal Or Household Income Requirements

Some credit cards may come with an income requirement ranging from $60,000 to $80,000. These cards tend to require a higher credit score and come with the best benefits. However, this is not the norm: most cash back credit cards have no-or-very-little income requirements.

How To Apply For A Virtual Card In Canada

Age

In Canada, the minimum age to request a credit card is the age of the majority. Teenagers under that age can’t get approved for credit cards but can be added as authorized users to one of their guardian’s or parent’s credit cards. For reference, the age of the majority in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan is 18 years old. In all other provinces, the age of the majority is 19.

Proof of Identity

You will need to provide information verifying your identity. In this step, you can provide a photo of your Canadian passport, a driver’s license, a military ID, a health card issued by a province, or an employee identification issued by the federal government.

Residency Status

Canadian credit cards are available to Canadian residents, work Visa holders or Canadian citizens. If you’re not either, you will need to register with Equifax or TransUnion before signing up for a credit card. You may also be required to visit a physical bank branch.

Credit score

Some credit cards in Canada require a minimum credit score. The higher your credit score, the more likely your application will be accepted. The cards with the best intro bonuses, rewards, and benefits usually have higher credit score requirements. 

Personal Or Household Income Requirements

This is not the norm, but some credit cards require a minimum annual income of at least $60,000 for individuals or $100,000 for households to apply. These cards tend to require a higher credit score as well.

Virtual Credit Card FAQs

Are Virtual Credit Cards Worth It?

Virtual cards might be worth it for you:

  • If you make a lot of online purchases and would like to add a layer of security
  • If your credit card application was approved, but the physical credit card hasn’t been issued
  • If you need to make a purchase but your physical credit card was stolen, and you haven’t received your new one

Virtual cards might not be worth it for you:

  • If you don’t make a lot of online purchases
  • If you purchase only at the biggest stores that are unlikely to be breached by a vulnerability

Keep in mind you are never forced to use a virtual credit card – it’s just a benefit some credit card issuers provide.

What Is The Best Free Virtual Credit Card In Canada?

The best free Virtual card in Canada is the KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card. This card doesn’t charge annual fees, offers up to 10% cash back when purchasing online at partner stores, and has a base 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

How Do I Get A Virtual Credit Card In Canada

To get a virtual credit card in Canada, your first need to apply for a credit card that supports virtual cards. Here are the steps:

  • Log into your credit card account or credit card app
  • Set a limit on the number of purchases, money spent and uses
  • Generate a virtual credit card number
  • Use your virtual credit card information to make a purchase

Do Virtual Credit Cards Affect My Credit Score

No, virtual credit cards do not affect your credit score. Virtual credit cards are separate entities from credit cards; you can think of virtual cards as no-fee prepaid cards that you can use whenever you want, without credit card checks or interests.

Which Banks Allow Virtual Credit Cards In Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), the Bank of Montreal (BMO), and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) offer virtual cards. Many other smaller banks do so as well.

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