Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Using A Virtual Credit Card WIth PayPal - Not Possible Anymore

When I bought my domain, almost two years ago, I didn't want to use my credit card (I'm paranoid that way :) ). I looked about a bit and I found out that PayPal would allow you to use 'virtual' cards that some banks offer. These are one-time usage cards that have some user-imposed limit. By using these cards, which will expire after use (or if unused within certain time-frame), you're safer when participating in online transactions since you don't expose your physical card details.

Anyway, I had an HDFC account and I'd signed up for the NetSafe cards facility. So I also signed up for PayPal and registered a virtual card. Now PayPal had (has?) this thing where your account needed to be verified. A certain amount of money ($1.95 at last check) is deducted from your card and the transaction details have a 4 digit pin (which appears immediately in the transaction details for the virtual card) which you then need to enter in a form in PayPal to prove that you indeed own the card and are not running some sort of scam. After this account verification, you were free to use your card for further transactions. Except that I registered a virtual card which was now invalid after the verification transaction. So I generated another card and added that to my PayPal account and I was good to go.

Yesterday, I was trying to buy a new domain name. I tried doing the same thing I'd done earlier but my transaction kept getting declined. On closer inspection, I saw that PayPal was now asking me to verify my card! This meant that every card you now add to your PayPal account needs to go through the verification process. Which spells doom for virtual card users since the card would be invalid after the verification transaction!

I'm not quite sure when or why this happened, I'm not a frequent user of PayPal; I only registered because GoDaddy, my registrar, had the option for payments via PayPal and PayPal could be used with virtual cards. Well, not anymore! Finally, I ended up registering my actual credit card (luckily for me, I'm also subscribed to alerts via SMS so I received my transaction code almost immediately, instead of having to wait for a couple of days for it to show up in my online transaction list) and using that to make my purchase.

Disclaimer: This information isn't an official announcement from any of the parties mentioned. It's what I figured out after trying out a few things with my account; make sure you've read up on whatever it is that you want to do with your virtual card and/or PayPal account.

 If you're a HDFC bank account holder and are having troubles with NetSafe, check out this well-written post with screenshots.


Ashish Vashisht said...

Here's more good news - when someone blocks money on your card (i.e. they say they will take the money but don't actually take it - also known as running an authorization) If this is an international transaction, it may take as much as 30 days for the balance amount to return to your account. So if you made a Netsafe for Rs. 1000 and someone ran a $1 authorization on it, you'll only get the money after 1 month. On the other hand if someone actually took $5 from your account, the remaining Rs. 750 will return to your account in 3 days...

Anup said...

I have paypal account with balance. Is it possible to get domain with out credit card and using Paypal balance? said...

As far as I remember, your PayPal balance will be used first and then your credit cards and bank accounts will be debited.

And GoDaddy, at least, supports payments via PayPal and I would imagine others registrars would as well.

So to answer your question, yes, if you have sufficient balance in your PayPal account, you should not need a card to buy a domain name.

ketan said...

how to use vcc in paypal? my paypal account shows no option for virtual credit card.

ketan said...

also is it safe to put credit card number on paypal?

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