8 Best Virtual Credit Cards in Canada (Feb 2023)

18% of Canadians have suffered from credit card fraud at some point in their lives, according to a CPA Canada fraud survey.

Fortunately, virtual credit cards have become a popular method to enjoy the convenience of credit cards while minimizing your exposure to fraudsters.

It also allows those with bad credit scores a way to obtain a credit card.

As someone who travels outside of Canada extensively, I wanted to find a simple solution to this problem of safe credit card use.

I did a lot of research into the best virtual credit cards in Canada, which you can find below.

Best Overall
EQ Bank Card
  • Earn high interest on your loaded balance
  • 0% foreign exchange fees – up to 3% savings
  • Free cash withdrawal from any Canadian ATM
  • Earn 0.5% cashback on all purchases
  • No monthly fee

 

Best Free Cashback Card
KOHO Prepaid Mastercard
  • 1% cashback on groceries, billing & services
  • Earn high-interest savings
  • Credit build option
Best Paid Card
KOHO Premium Card
  • 2.0% cashback on groceries, restaurants, and transportation
  • 0.5% cashback on everything else
  • $9/month fee
  • 0% foreign exchange transaction fee
  • Credit build option

What Is A Virtual Credit Card?

A virtual credit card is a credit card that you can use online and often also in person.

The main way a virtual credit card is different than a traditional credit card is that virtual cards are prepaid credit cards that you load with money, which helps protect your account information from data breaches, fraudulent uses, and other compromises.

It also eliminates the need for a credit check, so even those with poor credit can be instantly approved.

The virtual card can usually come with a physical card as well, which will be mailed to you after you register. You can also set up your virtual credit card on your devices, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay (for most virtual cards), so you won’t have to carry the card physically.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Credit Cards

Pros
  • No credit check is needed
  • Better protection against fraud
  • Easy to sign up
  • Ideal for travelling
  • Physical card is not needed to use it
Cons
  • Can’t borrow money
  • Can’t build credit (Unless it’s the KOHO card, see below)
  • Must prepay money into the card

The Best Virtual Credit Cards In Canada

1. EQ Bank Card – Best Overall

Our Verdict
EQ Bank Card
9.8/10Our Score

EQ Bank Card

Prepaid Mastercard

  • Earn high interest on your loaded balance
  • No foreign exchange fees - up to 3% savings
  • Free cash withdrawal from any Canadian ATM
  • Earn 0.5% cashback on all purchases

EQ Bank has recently come out with the EQ Bank Card, which I consider to be an excellent chequing account, savings account, and credit card hybrid.

It combines elements of all three in a way that I haven’t seen any other card in Canada do, and it does it well. Let me explain how it works.

The card acts like a chequing account because you can withdraw cash from any Canadian ATM without any fees. You can use your account for bill payments or receiving direct deposits, or international money transfers.

The EQ Bank Card also acts like a savings account because you earn a very high 2.50% interest rate until you spend your money, which is much higher than what you could get at any traditional bank.

It’s also an excellent travel credit card as well, as it’s a prepaid Mastercard and can be used like a normal credit card. The card offers a 0% foreign exchange fee when using the card. For example, if you use a typical credit card in the U.S., you are typically hit with a 2-3% foreign exchange fee. The EQ Bank card eliminates this problem.

The flat 0.5% cashback also makes it an appealing free virtual credit card. For all these features, it’s impressive that it does not have any annual fee. It falls a little short of KOHO in terms of cashback, but the other features make this unique virtual credit card worth the new #1 spot.

How to sign up:

  1. Open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account here.
  2. Fund your account
  3. Order a free card, activate the card and load the card in seconds.

2. KOHO Prepaid Mastercard – Best Free Cashback Card

Our Verdict
KOHO Card Review
9.5/10Our Score

KOHO Card

Prepaid Mastercard

  • 1% Cashback on Groceries, Billing & Services
  • 1.5% Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee
  • Earn High-Interest Savings
  • Credit Build Option
  • No Credit Check Needed

The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard is a free virtual card that lets you earn cashback on all your spending, and it awards you bonus rewards when shopping from selected merchants.

The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard comes with 1% cashback on groceries, billing & services made using the virtual card. You can also earn 5% cashback on select merchants.

One killer feature I love about KOHO is that it has high-interest savings, where you can earn a decent 1.20% on your savings and spending account. This is over 30 times as much as many of the big banks in Canada.

Another fantastic KOHO option is that you can build your credit by signing up for its Credit Builder service for $10/month. This is a great option for those who can’t obtain a regular credit card due to poor credit and want to build it back up.

The card also lets you save some money on foreign transaction fees because the card only charges 1.5% instead of the typical 2.5 – 3.0%.

You can also send unlimited e-transfers from your KOHO account and earn rewards bonuses for shopping with select merchants. You can use your KOHO app to receive direct deposits or paying your bills.

For a card that has no annual fee or monthly fee, KOHO has so many features that go above and beyond, which is why I made it one of my top virtual credit card picks.

3. KOHO Premium Prepaid Mastercard – Best Paid Card

Our Verdict
KOHO Premium Card Review
9.5/10Our Score

KOHO Premium Card

Prepaid Mastercard

  • 2.0% CashBack on Groceries, Restaurants, and Transportation
  • 0.5% CashBack on everything else
  • Low $9/Month Fee
  • 0% Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee
  • Credit Build Option
  • No Credit Check Needed

The KOHO Premium card has all of the fantastic features of the regular KOHO card, but it costs $9/month (or $84/year). So what do you get for this extra cost? Quite a lot.

Main differences between KOHO Regular and KOHO Premium:

Instead of 1% cashback on groceries, billing & services, you get 2% cashback on all grocery, gas, restaurant, and transit purchases with the premium card. The premium card also offers you 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Instead of a 1.5% foreign exchange transaction fee, with KOHO premium, you get 0% foreign exchange transaction fees.

Based on these upgrades, this means that if you are planning to spend about $600 per month on your KOHO card, it’s probably worth it to upgrade to Premium.

And if you are planning to travel outside of Canada and use your credit card, I would say that it’s almost always better for you to choose KOHO premium because of the 0% foreign exchange transaction fee, which is a huge bonus as this can add up.

These two additional features push KOHO premium to my top choice for the best paid virtual credit card in Canada.

4. Wise Card – Best For Sending Money Abroad

stack logo
  • Send and receive money in over 50 currencies
  • Very cheap way to send money to over 200 countries.
  • Transparent transfer fees
  • 2 free ATM withdrawals overseas, up to $350 CAD/month
  • No foreign transaction fees

Wise Card is a great alternative to having a bank account overseas. You can send and receive money in local currencies in almost any country you travel to, and you can withdraw in local currencies as well.

Wise Card is like a hybrid between an international bank card and a prepaid Visa credit card. It’s great for travelling also, as there are no foreign transaction fees.

Start by opening up a Wise account, deposit some money in, and convert to any currency you want for a very transparent fee. Comparing it to other alternatives such as big banks or Paypal, your currency exchange fees will be much lower.

There’s no cashback, though, so if you were looking for that, this card won’t have it.

Start by opening up a Wise account for here, then request the credit card for free.

5. Wealthsimple Cash Card

wealthsimple trade review Logo
  • 1% cashback
  • 0% Foreign Transaction Fee From Wealthsimple (Visa will still charge you a fee)
  • No Annual Fees

For a free cashback card, Wealthsimple Cash is great. It gives you 1% cashback on all purchases made. A nice feature is that you don’t need to take it in cash if you don’t want to. You can choose cash, invest in stocks, ETFs, or crypto.

Note that a lot of other reviews about this card claim that there are no foreign exchange transaction fees, but this is a bit misleading.

You will get charged by Visa for FX fees if you use it outside of Canada, so it isn’t a true no FX fee credit card.

Because of this, I don’t think it’s the best card for travel, but it’s great if you just simply want some cashback.

6. MogoCard – Best Security Card

MogoCard Visa Prepaid Card
  • Free identity fraud protection
  • Free credit score monitoring
  • Freeze your credit card instantly if lost or stolen
  • Unique rewards such as tree planting

If you’re worried about security, MogoCard is a great choice. It comes with security features such as credit score monitoring, identity fraud protection, and you can also instantly freeze your card using the app.

There are also unique rewards such as one tree being planted for every transaction you make on the card.

However, it doesn’t have cashback and has high FX fees, so for me, the main reason to get this card would be for security and credit score monitoring. You can sign up for Mogocard here.

7. Stack Prepaid Mastercard – Former Best Travel Card

stack logo
  • No-fee prepaid credit card
  • Offers instant cashback with over 140 retailers
  • Offers zero liability protection

Stack is a simpler prepaid card that does not earn base rewards for all your purchases. However, you can earn bonus rewards with over 140 select Stack Mastercard retail partners.

You can also use the STACK Finance app on your smartphone to see your weekly spending habits and get a better picture of your finances, allowing you to manage your spending much better. The card comes with zero liability protection, and you get the ability to freeze your credit card account at any time.

I used to have Stack a lot higher in the rankings, but they have removed their no-fee foreign transaction feature. This was a killer feature, and it was unfortunate to see them remove it.

It’s a cautionary tale that credit card features can change, so keep an eye out for the ones you use.

8. RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card

rbc bank logo
  • Made by a reputable financial institution
  • A safe and secure method for online payments
  • Funds are debited directly from your RBC bank account.

The RBC Virtual Visa Debit card is a smart and safe way for you to pay for online, telephone, and mail order purchases by debiting funds directly from your RBC bank account. It requires the prerequisite of being a customer with RBC bank. Issued by one of the most significant financial institutions in Canada, it is an ideal way to shop online with the added peace of mind that your information is safe and secure.

The RBC Virtual Visa Debit card does not come with the benefits of credit card transactions like cashback or discounts with select retailers. However, you can use the virtual card for all online retailers that accept Visa payments.

Compared to other cards on this list, I’d only recommend this card if you already have an existing RBC bank account.

How To Use Your Virtual Credit Cards

Virtual credit card is a bit of a confusing term, as it usually can be used both as a physical card in person and online.

Some virtual credit card providers offer provisions for browser extensions that support virtual credit cards.

You are expected to log into the website and generate a one-time password. This contains a unique credit card number and security code. You will get an expiration date for your virtual card and can also set a spending limit on the card.

Here is a quick look at how your virtual credit card works and what you effectively have to do to use it:

  • Sign up with a virtual credit card issuer of your choice to obtain your virtual card details. The details include your card number, validity date, and CVV.
  • Preload your card with money.
  • Make your online purchases and use the information the virtual credit card issuer provides when you check out instead of the normal credit card details.
  • Submit the payment and complete your transactions.
  • The funds will automatically be deducted from the account linked to your virtual credit card.
  • You can also connect with Apple Pay and Google Pay for most of the virtual credit cards or use the physical card you receive in-store.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Virtual Credit Cards?

Here are some of the benefits of using virtual credit cards:

1. No Credit Checks Needed

Because the cards are prepaid, you won’t have to get a credit check to use them. However, you can still build your credit with a paid option that companies like KOHO offer.

2. Avoid Issues With Data Breaches

Virtual credit cards add another layer of security to protect your identity and payment information on the merchant’s website. Virtual credit cards come with the same security features as physical credit cards, so they offer adequate protection. In case hackers manage to breach the data of online merchants you shop from, any information that they steal will be effectively useless.

3. Excellent for travelling

Many of the virtual cards in the list above have zero or very low foreign transaction fees, which makes them ideal for travelling. You can also load up several cards to have them as a backup in case you lose your wallet without having to fear that you will be exposed to huge credit card losses.

4. Easy In-Store Shopping

When you add a credit card to your digital wallet on your smartphone or smartwatch, it is typically in the form of a virtual card.

Using digital wallets like Apple Pay for in-store purchases is convenient because it can be as simple as tapping your device on a terminal. The transactions are secure, straightforward, and easy, and they don’t require you to carry a physical credit card with you.

5. Free Of Charge

Most virtual credit cards come free of charge because they are linked to your existing bank accounts.

6. Instant Delivery And Use

Regular credit cards can take a long time before they are made and delivered to you. Most virtual credit cards offer the advantage of instant registration, and you don’t have to wait for the delivery of a physical card before you can start using it. You can receive the virtual card number almost instantly after completing the process to sign up for it and use it to make payments.

7. Set Spending Limits

An underrated advantage of virtual credit cards is the ability to set spending limits. This feature is available with most virtual credit cards in Canada, and it lets you get better control over your spending habits. Preloading the cards with cash also helps control overspending habits that normal credit cards suffer from.

Virtual Credit Cards In Canada FAQs

1) Where can I use virtual credit cards?

You can use your virtual credit card for online purchases with any online retailer that accept the payment method in Canada and other countries.

2) Can I use my virtual credit card in Canada like a normal credit card?

Yes, in most cases, you can use a virtual credit card like a normal credit card, as a physical card will be shipped out to you.

3) What information does my virtual credit card contain?

The information on your virtual credit card includes the following:

  • A 16-digit virtual credit card number
  • Expiry or validity date
  • 3-digit CVV2 code
  • Name of the account holder

This is all the information you need to enter on merchant websites when you’re making online purchases. Since the virtual credit card offers you unique and dynamic information for your online transactions, any data breach that allows hackers to get access to this information will keep your personal and account information safe.

Conclusion

EQ Bank and Koho are my top picks for the best virtual credit cards in Canada.

Virtual credit cards provide you with the benefits of stress-free online shopping, particularly when you’re shopping with a merchant that you are not sure you can entirely trust.

You can enjoy the convenience of online shopping with credit cards without the risk of identity theft or data breaches impacting your financial health.

If you’re interested in other regular credit cards, check out my list of the easiest credit cards to get approved for in Canada.

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

Check Out These Posts:

1 thought on “8 Best Virtual Credit Cards in Canada (Feb 2023)”

  1. Koho requires the applicant to have a mobile number to receive SMS messages for two step verification. This requirement eliminates anyone living in a rural or remote area that does not have cellphone coverage, or anyone without a cellphone.

    Reply

Leave a Comment