Can I get a virtual credit card to use online straight away?

There’s no denying that credit cards and online shopping have made it easier to buy all sorts of things that you’d be unlikely to find on the high street – in fact for many people, the only reasons left to go to the high street at all are the banks and coffee shops.

But do you even need to do that? Plenty of people have coffee machines at home that are a close match to the takeaway java you find on the high street, and with the rise of online banking too, there’s often no need to go into a physical branch anymore.

So what about when you need a credit card fast for online shopping? You probably get prompted to apply for a credit card every time you log on to your online banking, if you already use the internet to manage your current account, but actually applying is a different story.

Why does it take so long to get a credit card?

There are a few stages to go through when you apply for a credit card online. If you already have an account with a particular bank, they may take that as enough proof of ID, but they will still probably run a new credit check before approving a new credit card – or loan, mortgage or overdraft, for that matter.

So that’s one extra stage, and it will leave a mark on your credit file even if your application is not approved. Ironically, just applying for credit cards can reduce your credit score for future applications.

Even if you are approved, you will typically have to wait for your card to be issued and sent out to you in the post, and once you receive it, you may need to log on to your internet banking and go through a card activation procedure before you can buy anything on your new credit card.

Faster cards for online shopping

If you don’t have 3-5 days to wait for a new credit card application to be approved, the card to arrive in the post and to manually activate it online so you can start buying things, what faster cards for online shopping are available?

Prepaid cash cards are one option, but these are not widely accepted, and you’ll usually have to go out in person to a petrol station and buy one for the equivalent amount in cash – and anything you don’t spend will be left as loose change on the card, which can be difficult to use up in full.

There are e-wallets like PayPal too, but setting these up from scratch can be awkward, as they will often ask you to make a small payment from your bank account as a way to verify your identity, and their fraud checks for new members can create delays lasting at least several hours.

Get an online shopping debit card in 3 minutes

Credit cards offer extra protection on big-value items, as if the supplier does not fulfil your order, you can sometimes claim compensation from your credit card issuer.

Debit cards don’t have this, but if you just need a card for everyday online shopping like groceries and clothing, a credit card probably wouldn’t offer any extra protection for purchases of that value anyway.

Importantly, a debit card does not involve any credit – so there’s no need to check your credit file, no black mark on your credit history, and no impact on your credit score at all.

At Arro Money we issue a MasterCard® debit card with every new Arro Personal Account, and our automated online ID check means you can open an account – and get your virtual debit card – in just three minutes.

What is a virtual debit card?

When you need a debit card fast for online shopping, you’ll struggle to find faster than the Arro Personal Account.

Our online signup and automated ID check – with no credit check required – can authorise your new account in three minutes, with guaranteed approval on all eligible applications.

We issue your MasterCard® debit card and activate it immediately, and send you all the details via SMS, so you can type the card number into website checkouts and buy online without a physical card.

You still get a physical debit card in the post within a few days – but until then you can shop online with the virtual card details, without needing a physical credit or debit card in your hand.