Looking to make purchases online or set up recurring payments without the hassle and fees associated with a credit card?
The RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card makes it possible for you to shop online while paying with funds directly debited from your own bank account.
With so many bank debit cards and prepaid options to choose from, it’s hard to figure out which one is a good choice for you.
That’s where I come in. I’ve reviewed and researched various alternatives and have a good handle on what works and what doesn’t.
Before you make your choice, here’s what you should consider.
If you want to make secure online payments for purchases without a credit card, the RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card should do the trick.
- Accepted anywhere Visa is
- Links to your bank account, meaning no worries about sky-high interest charges or late fees as with credit cards
- No extra incentives like interest or cashback
- Doesn’t help build your credit
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) partnered with Visa to feature a Virtual Debit Card that lets customers safely pay for online purchases. Using the card, they can directly debit any payments from their own checking account.
This is another secure payment option for customers who do not have a credit card or don’t wish to use one for online purchases.
Features and Benefits of the RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card
If you’re curious whether the RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card might work for you, consider these features.
Visa debit cards are accepted at over 44,000 Canadian online merchants, and the Virtual Debit Card is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted, including major retailers like Amazon, Uber, iTunes, and Netflix.
Because the card links to your bank account, there’s no need to remember to make payments or end up with late fees.
Because credit cards aren’t linked to bank accounts, it’s much easier to make purchases and regret it later when your payment is due.
The Virtual Visa Debit Card lets you keep track of your purchases since it’s linked to your bank account. Because you’re using money already in your account to buy things, you might think twice about frivolous purchases.
No Annual Fee
One significant advantage of using RBC’s Virtual Visa Debit Card is that there is no annual fee. This feature makes it an affordable way for you to manage your finances without worrying about extra costs.
Do Visa Debit Cards Help Build Credit?
If you’ve struggled with credit card debt in the past and are looking to increase your credit score, the Virtual Debit Card isn’t your best bet.
While this Visa Debit card allows you to purchase items using money from your own account, meaning you won’t incur mountains of credit card debt, it doesn’t boost your credit score.
Using credit cards shows lenders you can responsibly pay back what you borrow. If you’re using a debit card where the funds come from your own bank account, you don’t have that opportunity.
The card comes with zero liability protection, meaning you’re not responsible for unauthorized transactions. Also, the card has a unique three-digit security code (CVV2) on the back of the reference card, which you can provide during online or telephone payments for added security.
Additional safety measures are also in place, such as the Visa Secure program, which helps you authenticate your identity during online transactions, further reducing the risk of fraud.
RBC also provides 24/7 fraud monitoring, alerting you to the first signs of trouble.
Easy to Apply
If you’re looking for a quick way to make online purchases and you already have an RBC account, accessing a Virtual Visa Debit Card is simple. Per RBC’s website, if you’re already an account holder, a Virtual Debit Card is already linked to your account, and you just need to contact the bank in order to receive it.
There are three ways to get in touch – either call, visit in person, or go through the mobile app.
Linking and Managing Your RBC Account
Connecting to a Chequing Account
To get started with your RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card, you will need to link it to your chequing account. This allows you to make purchases online using the funds available in your bank account.
RBC Mobile App Usage
Managing your RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card is even easier with the RBC Mobile App. With the app on your phone, you can:
- Monitor your spending and transaction history
- Set up customized alerts for specific types of transactions
- Easily make changes to your spending limits and controls
Just download the app from your device’s app store and sign in using your RBC online banking credentials.
Limits and Controls
You can set transaction limits and spending controls to manage your finances better. This is particularly useful to avoid overspending or potential fraud. You can set daily, weekly, or monthly spending limits, as well as limits for specific types of transactions, such as online purchases or international transactions.
These limits and controls can be adjusted at any time through your RBC online banking or the RBC mobile app.
You can use your debit card just like a credit card at most online retailers, and your funds are deducted directly from your bank account.
Phone and Mail Order Payments
You can provide your card details to merchants over the phone or through a mail order form, enabling you to pay for products and services without the need for a separate credit card.
Recurring Bill Payments
You can use your Virtual Visa Debit Card to pay for subscriptions, utilities, and other bills, making it an essential financial tool for streamlining your regular expenses.
Understanding Fees and Charges
Foreign Transaction Fees
If you use your card for transactions in a foreign currency, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee. This fee is typically a percentage of the transaction amount, reflecting the cost of processing the transaction and converting it to CAD.
RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card uses the Visa International exchange rate for these transactions, which may differ from the market rate. Keep this in mind when making purchases abroad or online retailers based outside Canada.
ATM Withdrawal Fees
Fees may apply when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Your fees will depend on the specific ATM location and if it’s affiliated with the RBC network.
To minimize or avoid ATM withdrawal fees, you should plan accordingly by:
- Withdrawing cash from RBC ATMs, where fees might be lower or waived
- Reducing the frequency of your ATM withdrawals by taking out larger amounts less frequently
- Exploring alternative cash withdrawal methods, such as cashback options during in-store debit transactions
Koho is a no-fee spending account to which you can add money either from an existing bank account or through a direct deposit from your employer. From there, you can use your Koho prepaid card to make purchases. The card is reloadable and accepted anywhere VISA is.
Koho also features an app with “Savings Goals” making it easy to check out your spending habits and create a plan to better your finances.
Koho offers additional features the Virtual Visa Debit Card doesn’t, including interest on its spending and savings account and cashback when you make purchases at participating providers.
As discussed earlier, the Virtual Visa Debit Card won’t help you build your credit, but Koho can. For an additional $7/month, you can enroll in Koho’s Credit Building Service, which reports your purchasing and payment activity to major credit bureaus, helping you to improve your credit score.
The bottom line is that the Virtual Visa Debit Card can help you make secure purchases online but doesn’t offer any additional features or incentives. If you’re looking to build credit and get rewarded for your spending habits with extra perks like cashback incentives, Koho is a better fit.
See the full Koho review here.
While there aren’t too many reviews about the Virtual Visa Debit Card, the ones I found aren’t very favourable.
For one thing, many reviewers aren’t really sure of the need for the card. Besides linking to your bank account, some questioned the differences between the Virtual Visa and other debit cards.
Others considered the benefits for travel purposes but questioned if Visa was trying to encroach on INTERAC’s territory and slap users with more fees.
Most users saw the need for the card if they wanted to avoid credit cards or didn’t have one, but as others pointed out, there are lots of debit and prepaid cards to choose from. The Virtual Visa Card doesn’t have anything that really makes it stand out from those other options.
RBC Virtual Credit Card Alternatives
These two cards are much better in my opinion than the RBC card:
Best Free Card
|Get KOHO For Free|
Best Paid/Travel Card
|Get KOHO Premium|
Read the full KOHO review here.
Frequently Ask Questions
Those looking to access the card must be at least 14 years old and have a deposit account and an active RBC Client Card.
2. Is There a Monthly Fee?
Users don’t incur an annual fee with the Virtual Visa Debit. In addition, purchases or recurring payments don’t count towards the debit transaction limit associated with your personal banking account.
3. What Is the Difference Between the RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card and the RBC Client Card?
There’s very little difference between both cards. Both are linked to your bank account and let you make purchases.
The Virtual Visa Debit Card is geared for online or telephone and mail purchases. You can also set up recurring bill payments with it.
Similarly, the RBC Client Card uses the INTERAC payment network and is accepted at most stores – in person and online.
The only difference between the two is that you can use the Client Card at physical store locations and ATMs – not true for the Virtual Visa Debit Card.
4. How do I check the balance on my RBC Virtual Visa Debit card?
Simply log in to your RBC online banking account. From there, you can view your account details, including the available balance in your linked bank account.
If you have the RBC Mobile app, you can also check your balance on-the-go using your smartphone or tablet. Make sure to enable notifications to receive updates and alerts related to your account activity.
Depending on credit cards can get you into a financial mess. Excess interest fees and mountains of debt can swiftly creep up on you if you’re not careful. For those reasons, many banks have introduced virtual or prepaid debit cards to keep spending in check.
The RBC Virtual Visa Debit Card helps you make purchases online or by telephone, but it doesn’t come with the perks other debit and prepaid cards do. Also, if you already have an RBC Client Card, there’s really not much difference between the two.
Ultimately, if you just want a card linked to your bank for online purchases, this card will do. However, there are many other options available with added benefits like earning interest, boosting credit, and pursuing added perks. If you’re looking for other options, check out these top virtual cards.