Capital One today officially introduced a new way to use its virtual card numbers from a web browser, in order to make shopping online safer. Virtual card numbers, of course, aren't new - Bank of America and Citi both offer a similar feature that creates a temporary credit card number linked to your real account number for the purpose of online shopping. But Capital One's implementation of the feature will be handy for its cardholders.
Instead of requiring users to create account numbers on a settings screen of some sort, Capital One is using its smart assistant, Eno, by way of a web browser extension, to make the creation of virtual card numbers easier to access, and quicker to use.
You may know of Eno as the bank's chatbot that can do a number of things, besides the creation of card numbers. You can also text Eno (227-663) to check your balance, track your purchases, pay your bills, and more, from your mobile phone.
In case you think virtual numbers had already arrived at Capital One, you're not totally wrong. The company had quietly introduced its virtual card number functionality in November 2017, but hadn't made a formal announcement about the feature until now, as it's been in pilot testing and not broadly available.
Like other virtual card number products, Capital One's card numbers let you pay without needing to use (or even locate) your credit card account information, once the extension is set up and configured.
The extension instantly creates virtual card numbers when you go to a site's checkout page, which can then be given nicknames to make them more memorable. The numbers can later managed from an online dashboard where you can lock or unlock them as needed, or delete them when they're no longer necessary.
The ability to lock the numbers is a handy way to turn off subscriptions. That's something many people today struggle to with - especially now that everything from music to videos and even apps have attached themselves to the subscription model.
The Eno extension will also auto-fill your payment information on the checkout page, and reappear when you return to the same site in order to provide you with quick access to the virtual card number you created there last time.
And Eno will also automatically update your virtual numbers to map to your new plastic card, if it's ever replaced.
The virtual numbers are fully integrated with your Capital One account, so you'll continue to earn rewards, the company says.
The extension currently works with personal cards, and via Google Chrome or Firefox on the desktop. But the plan is to expand support to more platforms in time. Eno will also add more features, including the ability to set transaction limits, set time limits on specific merchant cards, and create virtual cards designed for one-time use.