I received by mail my BDO virtual credit card early this year. I skimmed the cover letter. It says it’s recommended to use this card for my internet transactions for more security. I don’t shop via internet but I use my credit cards in the internet for plane ticket purchases and watching dramas online [for those really, really, good asian dramas, hahaha].
Anyway, in layman’s terms, it’s virtual because it may have a credit card number and a validation code but in truth, the same are non-existent, as the card is just a sub-account of my BDO Mastercard. It’s supposed to be safer because the recipients cannot access my real account information . Aside from this, the virtual card has a certain limit and thus, minimizing the risk of loss. While it is solely for internet transactions, the virtual card is not allowed if one is still required to present the card later on — like what our airline companies do upon check in in case of e-tickets. It is the nature of the virtual card that in does not physically exist, but I’m baffled why I have a physical card with my name and [virtual] account number on it.
I was in a buying frenzy for a couple of airline tickets in the last week of January for my mother, my aunt, my hubby, and hubby’s and mine’s ticket for the coming holy week. I know I’m not supposed to use the virtual card for airline tickets because PAL expressly prohibits using such cards in their website. Unfortunately, I mistakenly used my virtual credit card to buy the airline tickets.
I found out later while I was printing hubby’s e-ticket for his travel and preparing to photocopy the card that the purchase was made via virtual credit card. I frantically called the PAL hotline [via long distance because the office here has not heard of a virtual card!]. The customer service advised me to just secure a certification from BDO that the virtual account is a sub-account of my existing credit card account.
So I went to BDO and gave them my letter of request. Gosh, they don’t even know what a virtual credit card is. They asked me where I got my virtual credit card and I told them I received it through the mail. The bank officer had to make several calls and since I was in a hurry, I told her I’d follow it up later that day.
It was almost bank closing hours when I called to inquire on the said certification. I was told that they have already referred the matter to the credit card department and was advised to wait further. Less than an hour later, I received a call from BDO and was informed that they will not issue such certification because the BDO Virtual Card has a physical card which may be presented upon check in. BDO further said that I just show the welcome pack cover letter as it already mentions that my virtual credit card is only a sub-account of my credit card account.
When I got home that day, I rushed to the drawer where I keep my credit card bills, hoping to find such cover letter but it wasn’t there anymore. For this reason, I called PAL hotline again and told them BDO won’t make the certification they wanted. I did not mention about that welcome pack cover letter but I insisted telling them that BDO’s virtual card has a tangible card which may be shown when required to verify the purchase. The customer service officer told me to hold the line [for a very long time] because she had to refer the matter. When she finally came back, she made sure she heard me correctly that my virtual card had a physical card with my name on it and my virtual account number. I said yes. Then, she said it wasn’t a problem then – I just photocopy a copy of my card and my identification card and attach it to the e-ticket of my husband.
Our PAL office here is not that strict and they hardly check the copies of the credit card and valid ID for e-tickets so it was not a problem. What I was apprehensive about was the return trip from Manila to BXU. Fortunately, my hubby was able to check in without any question on that virtual card purchase.
Thus, I guess one can still purchase airline tickets thru the virtual card provided the virtual card has a physical card with the virtual card number and one’s name on the card. What the airline companies are after is only to check whether or not that ticket was not fraudulently purchased that is why they need to see the card and the ID upon check in.