MasterCard Canada launches virtual payment card

MasterCard Canada has launched MasterCard Virtual Solution, what the company calls the first virtual payment card for Internet, mobile commerce, mail order/telephone order and other remote and recurring payment purchases that does not require a physical card.

Craig Penney, vice-president and general manager for MasterCard Canada, said that while there are payment cards being promoted for on-line use, the reality is that they are physical cards that can be used both on-line and off-line and do not offer any additional security benefits to a regular card.

MasterCard said its Virtual Solution provides a separate account number that can only be used when the cardholder is not physically present for a purchase or transaction. Consumers always have the option of obtaining a physical card for their virtual accounts if they desire. Customers also have the option of linking the virtual card to their existing card account so they are issued only one combined statement, MasterCard said. An added benefit of the new virtual card is that it allows cardholders to provide family members, such as a child away at university or college, with unique accounts for remote purchases and online spending, the company said. MasterCard is providing this service through participating member financial institutions.

If a cardholder’s virtual card is ever compromised, they will still have their primary card for making purchases or obtaining cash, Penney said, and this will provide cardholders with peace of mind when purchasing online or through other remote payment methods.

MasterCard Canada also announced that it has implemented a Zero Liability Policy. For cardholders that have taken reasonable care to safeguard their cards, this policy eliminates the former $50 cardholder liability charge for unauthorized transactions. The new policy is effective immediately and applies to all consumer card purchases, including those made over the Internet, said MasterCard.

Penney said that while the fee has rarely been applied in the past, the company wanted to send a clear message that consumers should feel confident about using their MasterCard card to make electronic and other remote purchases. However, is still important that cardholders are vigilant in the use of their cards, Penney warned.

To ensure the security of their payment cards, cardholders should keep all account information confidential, commit PIN numbers to memory, check their billing statements, and inform their financial institutions immediately if a card is lost or stolen, or they suspect their account is being used fraudulently, MasterCard said.

MasterCard can be reached on-line at

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