Cheapest Virtual Debit Card Options

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The cheapest virtual debit card helps make online purchases a little more affordable. Compare your options before you invest.

What Is a Virtual Debit Card?

A virtual debit card is one you never touch. There is no actual plastic card, but rather just a card number sent to you through email. After applying for and obtaining this card, you can load money onto it from a checking account, or other approved method. You can then use it online to make purchases. For those who do not have access to a traditional credit card but want to make purchases online, this virtual option works well.

Finding the Least Expensive Card

Many virtual debit cards charge setup or origination fees. Some charge monthly maintenance fees or transaction fees. Some companies have a variable fee, associated with the number of transactions or the size of transactions made. Others charge a flat fee. To learn what the costs of the card are, read through the terms and conditions. These may change from time to time.

Mango Prepaid Card

One of the cheapest virtual debit cards is the Mango Prepaid Card. Once you sign up for the card, and load it with funds, you can begin using it online or on your cell phone. To avoid the monthly fee, just load at least $500 per month on the card.

  • There are no overdraft fees.
  • Funds are FDIC insured.
  • Free direct deposit is available.
  • There is no sign up, activation or transaction fee.
  • The monthly fee, when it applies, is $5.00.

For those who need regular access to making purchases online, this card offers one of the lowest fees possible. You can use it anywhere that MasterCard is accepted.

Cliffs Card

Another company to consider is Cliffs Card. The benefit of this card is anonymity. Since you do not have to provide your personal information, just an email address, the card does not link you to the purchases you make. For those who need to make discreet, online purchases, this card may be a good choice.

However, this comes at a price. The Cliff's Card's pricing is a flat fee charged at the time you purchase the card. The fees for a $20 card, for example, are $11. You will receive your virtual information in email and have immediate access to the use of the funds.

Virtual Wallet

A virtual wallet is a type of virtual card that allows you to make payments using just your smartphone and an application. With this system, individuals are able to simply log into an app on their cell phone and use in-store technology called Tap & Go to make purchases. The virtual card allows you to simple tap the device on the in-store device and the payment processes automatically.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is one of the options to consider. It is a secure method for making purchases anywhere accepting PayPass (look for this logo in retail establishments.) It will link to your preexisting Citi MasterCard. The fees are those of your particular Citi credit card. You can also link this app to your Google Prepaid Card. Add funds to this card using a credit card. The company even gives you a $10 credit when you use it.


PNC Virtual Wallet does not require a minimum balance and does not charge a monthly service fee. You may pay a fee if you exceed monthly usage limits. This virtual wallet allows you to link to your PNC account. You may earn interest on the funds in your account.

Other Providers

As this technology grows and expands, expect other providers to come online to offer virtual wallets. Fees will range significantly. Visa and PayPal are working to develop prepaid virtual wallet offers, too. The expectation is for an announcement of these services by the fall of 2011.

Choosing Your Card

When selecting any of these cheap virtual debit cards, read the terms. Verify the company is legitimate and has a good reputation. You may also wish to contact any debit card issuer you hope to use long-term to ask if they allow immediate virtual access to your money, even if eventually they will send a card to you.

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Cheapest Virtual Debit Card Options