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Here Are The Best Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Jonny Pease

Reviewer

Feb 20, 2024
Advertiser disclosure

With online banking on the rise and fintechs and e-money platforms appealing to a new generation of customers, it should come as no surprise that debit cards, too, are rapidly making the shift from physical to virtual.

Readers often choose these as best online accounts with instant debit cards:

What Is a Virtual Debit Card?

Just like their physical counterparts, virtual debit cards are fully-legitimate cards (typically issued by Mastercard or VISA) that come with a 16-digit card number associated with your account, an expiry date, and a three-digit CVV number. You'll be able to view this virtual debit card info within its mobile app.

You can use your virtual debit card the same as your physical one, the only difference being that you won't be able to swipe or insert it at point-of-sales machines, so you'll need to pay online instead or tap your device (if you add it to your mobile wallet).

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In a rush? Here are our picks for the best instant virtual debit cards if you're...

In 2024, there are real advantages to using a virtual card over a physical one. For one, it's often more convenient, with the multi-channel functionality allowing you to make payments over your mobile phone, tablet, or PC and dodging the need to carry around your wallet. What's more, virtual cards run less risk of being lost or stolen than physical ones, and if they are (for example, if you lose your mobile phone), then you can easily block them online.

Virtual cards also almost always let you set spending limits yourself (unlike most physical cards) while still coming with the same top-notch security and anti-fraud protection.

However, your bank probably won't offer you a virtual debit card in most cases. Instead, if you'd like to use an instant virtual debit card, you'll need to open an account with an online bank or banking fintech. This guide explores the best options to get the job done quickly and cheaply!

Key Facts About Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

⚖️ Virtual Debit Cards Compared

15

💰 Average Monthly Fee

$0.00

💳 Major Card Issuers

VISA, Mastercard

🔒 Security

3-digit CVV, Touch ID, Expiration

🇺🇸 Best in US
🇬🇧 Best in UK

Best Online Bank Accounts With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

Sadly, there isn't any one-size-fits-all account and virtual debit card that suits everybody. However, there are three that come pretty close! Below, we explore the fintech apps Chime, Revolut, and Wise, which offer virtual debit cards and associated accounts to customers in many countries worldwide:

Chime (USA Only) — Best for No Fees

Chime® is one of the most popular checking account services in the United States, partly thanks to its mobile app. In addition to no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and no credit checks, Chime's checking account comes with a VISA debit card, an optional savings account, and user-friendly mobile features such as mobile check deposits and real-time transaction alerts. Chime also offers an optional credit builder card².

However, Chime's virtual debit card is temporary: it'll only be available to use virtually until you activate your physical card after it arrives, after which only your physical debit card will be usable.

info icon

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

  • Account name: Chime Checking Account
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 1
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay.
  • Availability: Social security number required.
  • More info: See our full Chime review or visit the website.

Revolut — Best for Travel Abroad

A leading fintech, there's a good chance you've heard of Revolut. By signing up, you'll not only get an instant virtual debit card, but you'll also be able to access a broad range of financial services with no monthly account maintenance cost on the Standard plan. However, partly because it's not yet a bank in the US and UK, we think Revolut is best used as a powerful spending tool next to a main bank account instead of in place of it.

  • Account name: Standard
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 20
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay.
  • More info: See our full Revolut review or visit the website.

Wise — Best for Foreign Account Details

Wise isn't a bank but a money transfer operator well-known for offering some of the cheapest international transfers globally. However, money transfers aren't Wise's only speciality — they also provide the Wise Account, a low-cost foreign currency spending account (that comes with a virtual debit card) that's best in class for foreign currency spending of all kinds, whether it's holidays overseas, online shopping, or international money transfers.

  • Account name: Multi-Currency Account
  • Monthly fee: USD 0
  • Virtual card type: VISA
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 3
  • Can set spending limits: Yes
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay.
  • More info: See our full Wise review or visit the website.

Majority (USA Only) — Best for Immigrants to the US

Majority is an all-in-one fintech platform that we recommend to newcomers to the United States and anyone who has friends and family living abroad. You can make free international calls to 20+ countries, access cheap international money transfers, get cash back, and use their Visa debit card that charges.

Under the "Card & Account" section of the Majority app, you’ll be able to view your card details instantly. You can integrate them with Apple Wallet or Google Wallet to make payments directly with your smartphone too. For added security, you can set blocks on your card within the app.

Another added benefit of Majority is that you don’t need a social security number to apply. Non-US citizens will just need to show proof of US residency, and you can use your home country’s government-issued ID when you apply.

Just take note that “Know Your Customer” (KYC) laws require Majority to verify your identity. If you use fraudulent ID cards or social security numbers associated with multiple dates of birth, your application will be rejected. Also refrain from using Voice over IP (VoIP) phone numbers, which are assigned to a user but not to a physical location.

  • Account name: Majority
  • Monthly fee: $5.99
  • Virtual card type: Visa
  • Max. number of virtual cards at one time: 1
  • Spending limits: Pre-set in Majority app
  • Can block card online: Yes
  • Mobile wallet compatibility: Apple Wallet, Google Wallet
  • More info: See our full Majority review or visit the website.

Best Accounts With Online Debit Cards by Country

Which bank or fintech offers the best account and virtual debit card for you will depend on where you live. If you come from the US, Europe, or Asia, you'll probably have access to the full suite of benefits that make virtual debit cards truly unique, including compatibility with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others. If you're not from these regions, your options might still be more limited.

Below, we review the leading options in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, India, and Nigeria. All of the virtual debit cards themselves are very similar, so instead, we compare the accounts below based on what makes them the most unique in general:

United States Virtual Card Apps

In the US, big banks typically don't offer virtual debit cards, and only Citibank, Bank of America, and Capital One offer virtual cards at all (although these offerings are credit cards). We think the following fintechs have the best US debit card offerings:

  1. Chime®: Best for day-to-day checking.
  2. Revolut: Best all-around spending app.
  3. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.
  4. Majority: Best for foreigners with proof of US residence.

See our ranking of the best neobanks in the US to learn more.

United Kingdom Virtual Card Apps

UK high-street banks don't typically offer customers virtual debit or credit cards. Fortunately, however, online banks and fintechs usually do. Here are the best options available to UK residents:

  1. Starling Bank: Best overall choice (Starling is a fully-licensed bank).
  2. Monzo: Best for savings and interest (also a fully-licensed bank).
  3. Revolut: Best secondary account and spending app.
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.
  5. Monese: Best for ease of application and newcomers to the UK.

Separately, another exciting offering in the UK is Curve, which we reviewed here. Though not an online bank account with an instant debit card itself, Curve is a personal finance app that allows you to bundle all your existing bank cards into one platform to be used digitally. This essentially allows you to turn your non-virtual cards into virtual ones in just a few taps!

See our ranking of the best online banks in the UK to learn more.

European Union/EEA Virtual Card Apps

Like in the US and UK, virtual debit cards are generally offered by fintechs and online banks in Europe. Here are the best options for EU/EEA residents:

  1. N26: Best all-around (N26 is a fully-licensed bank).
  2. bunq: Best virtual credit card (also a fully-licensed bank).
  3. Revolut: Best secondary account and spending app.
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

See our ranking of the best online banks in the EU to learn more.

India Virtual Card Apps

If you're from India, you're in luck! Many Indian banks already offer full bank accounts that come linked with virtual debit and credit cards, putting Indian banking ahead of the crowd when it comes to virtual transactions.

Some notable examples of banks offering virtual cards are HDFC, SBI, Axis Bank, ICICI, and many others. We recommend checking directly with your bank to determine if they already support this service.

Nigeria Virtual Card Apps

The most interesting virtual debit cards in Nigeria are the following:

See our full list of the best virtual dollar cards in Nigeria to learn more.

Canada Virtual Card Apps

  1. Neo Financial: Best high interest and cash back account with virtual Neo Money™ card
  2. KOHO: Best mobile finance app with a virtual debit card.
  3. Tangerine: Best or online chequing (cards can be added to Google Pay).
  4. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

Australia Virtual Card Apps

  1. Revolut: Best overall spending app.
  2. Wise: Best for foreign currency spending and holidays.

Russia Virtual Card Apps

Virtual cards are becoming increasingly popular in Russia, and many Russian banks (including Sberbank, Alfabank, VTB, and others) already offer virtual cards to retail clients. However, it's worth noting that not all Russian banks offer virtual cards yet, so it's always a good idea to contact your bank to see if they offer these products.

How To Set Up Virtual Debit Card

Setting up a virtual debit card is fast and easy, requiring only an internet connection and a few minutes of your time.

There are two methods to get the job done, depending on what you're after. On the one hand, you could sign up for an online account that comes with an instant virtual debit card (like Revolut or Wise). After registering and being verified (usually in just a few hours), you'll be able to use a virtual debit card while you wait for a physical one to be sent by post.

Here's more about how it works:

Method 1: Open an Online Account

  • Step 01

    Compare online banks

    Use Monito to compare online banks and neobanks to find one for you. Many come with virtual debit cards by default.

  • Step 02

    Sign up for a service

    Once you've found an online account — sign up! All providers on Monito offer accessible, online-only applications.

  • Step 03

    Wait to be verified

    You'll probably need to submit your ID and other personal information. Wait until your account has been verified, which can take anything from a few minutes to a few days.

  • Final step

    Start using your virtual card!

    Once you're verified, you'll be able to start using your virtual debit card right away, regardless of the status of your physical card.

On the other hand, you could also opt to add your regular debit (or credit) card or cards onto a mobile payment app or mobile wallet like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others. This option is best if you're looking for the convenience of being able to pay with your smartphone but aren't necessarily looking to sign up for a new app or online bank.

Here's a bit more about how it works:

Method 2: Use a Mobile Wallet

  • Step 01

    Choose a mobile wallet

    The main options are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, and Garmin Pay. Choose either one you already use or one that'd be convenient for you to start using.

  • Step 02

    Add a new card

    Add a new card in the app by entering your card number, expiry date, CVV number, and full name and address.

  • Step 03

    Activate the card

    Most mobile wallets require you to manually activate the card before using it. You can do this in the app under the 'Cards' section.

  • Final step

    Start using your virtual card!

    Use your virtual card by tapping your mobile phone or watch at point-of-sales or making payments online as usual.

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Tips From the Author

For me, the iPhone's Wallet app was very intuitive. All I had to do was click the "+" symbol to add cards to the wallet. I took photos of the front and back of the card (I could also manually input my card's 16-digit number, expiration date, and 3-digit CVV). Upon confirming the info and accepting Apple's terms and conditions, the card was ready for contactless spending via my iPhone.

FAQ About Opening a Bank Account Online With Free Virtual Debit Cards

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and over-the-counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change anytime. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance is required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ SpotMe® on Credit is an optional, no-interest/no-fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account available to qualifying members with an active Chime Credit Builder Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no-fee overdraft service attached to the Chime Checking Account available to qualifying members after Visa debit card activation. Both SpotMe on Credit and SpotMe on Debit are sometimes collectively referred to as "SpotMe" or, if you have signed up to use SpotMe with only one account, "SpotMe" means the elected service. To qualify for SpotMe, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account monthly. Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account and/or Secured Deposit Account (associated with your Chime Credit Builder credit card) up to $20 but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime’s sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe Debit Terms and Conditions and SpotMe on Credit Terms and Conditions.

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Compare Online Banks With Instant Virtual Debit Cards

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  1. Wise Multi-Currency Account Monito Score 8.9
    open
    • Languages
      English +21
    • Country availability
      Austria +37
    • Services
      Multi-currency account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Spending while abroad
    • Bank details
      Euro IBAN +11
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar +50
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Very low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  2. Chime Monito Score 8.8
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United States
    • Services
      All-in-one finance app
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      US account & routing no.
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers

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