We’ve all become used to entering our credit and debit cards into a million and one sites online but with regular news stories of websites being hacked and relieved of massive databases of card numbers, it’s becoming more likely that you’ll fall victim to credit card fraud through no fault of your own.
Step forward Privacy.com who this week launched a new service aiming to become the VPN of the card payment world.
Just as a VPN puts a layer of privacy between you and what you do on the internet, Privacy.com does the same but for your online payments.
Each transaction you make using the Privacy.com system will now allow you to use a virtual credit card number for every online payment you make and best of all they claim you can use any name and billing address that you like. This is where the VPN privacy style system comes into play.
Users are required to link their bank account to the Privacy.com website and from there when you spend on the virtual credit card numbers supplied by Privacy.com your bank account will automatically be debited to cover the charged amount.
The actual website you make payment on won’t receive any of your payment details and if Privacy.com’s claims are true that you can use any billing details then you also won’t have your personal information linked to the service or product you’re buying.
Of course, when using billing details that aren’t your own the system will be limited to digital purchases and subscriptions rather than physical products but with more of our entertainment and software purchases now consumed as software as a service, the Privacy.com payment system could very well be a game changer in the anonymous payment sector.
Privacy.com aims to make online payments safe and anonymous.
Privacy.com currently only works with stores that accept Visa credit or debit cards but with the ability to set limits or create one time only “burner” cards then it could be the solution to signing up to all those 30-day free trials without getting charged at the end because you forgot to cancel.
As well as manually being able to create and manage your virtual card numbers Privacy.com also have a Google Chrome and Firefox plugin that will automatically generate and fill payment forms on the sites that you visit taking out any of the hassles of manually generating and entering them.
Although the new service looks good on paper it isn’t without its possible pitfalls.
Firstly the service is only currently available in the United States for users of a select number of banks. A US$1000 per day or $2000 per month limit is also currently in operation.
Some users have raised concerns that due to the service taking funds directly from your bank account if there were any issues with fraudulent payments then you wouldn’t be covered as US checking bank accounts don’t insure you against fraudulent payments whereas direct credit card payments do.
With more companies now storing your card details for ‘ease of future purchases‘ and a noticed increase in database breaches relieving companies of their customer card details, Privacy.com just could very well be the future of protecting your online payments.