American Express Virtual Credit Card—Features, Eligibility, and Setup
The rising frequency of payment card fraud is one of the major factors causing an increased interest in and need for virtual cards. These cards are an effective solution against cybercriminals, masking your real financial information during online transactions and protecting it from getting stolen in case of a breach on a merchant's server.
Nowadays, many banks and fintech companies provide virtual card services. One such example is American Express®, a renowned online-only bank that allows its eligible cardholders to generate and use virtual cards with their Google accounts.
In this article, you can learn about the American Express virtual credit card and find out:
- What it is
- How to use it
- Who qualifies for it
- How to apply
The provided information is valid as of September 2023. Visit the official American Express website or contact the bank directly for the latest updates.
What Is the Amex Virtual Card Number?
The American Express virtual credit card, which the company named the Amex virtual card number, is a digital payment solution that substitutes the user’s physical card, ensuring their real financial information is never shared with merchants.
The user can acquire an Amex virtual card number by connecting the eligible Amex card to their Google account. They can then use the virtual card to shop wherever Amex cards are accepted. Currently, users can shop with the virtual card number:
- From their desktop or mobile device via Google Chrome
- In Android apps, where available
The Amex virtual card number is suitable for one-time purchases only and shouldn’t be used for recurring payments. Purchases made with the virtual card will appear on the user’s bank statements the same way as transactions made with their standard credit card.
The virtual card number lets users enjoy most benefits that regular Amex credit cards provide, such as Membership Rewards® points, Amex Offers discounts or bonuses, and security features. However, the virtual card is not eligible for use with the Membership Rewards® Pay with Points at Checkout feature.
Amex Virtual Card Number vs. Instant Card Number vs. vPayment
It is important to note that Amex offers two additional features similar to the virtual card number—the Instant Card Number and vPayment. Although they share some common traits, these payment options have distinct use cases. To avoid confusion, understand the differences between these two services:
- Instant Card Number–This is a feature that gives eligible users the ability to access their newly approved card digitally while they’re waiting for the physical version to arrive in the mail. The users can also add the new card to one of five digital wallet options.
- vPayment–This is a virtual payment solution designed for businesses. It creates a single-use card number for each purchase and allows the cardholder to set payment amounts, date ranges, and other transaction details.
How To Use the Amex Virtual Card Number
To pay with an Amex virtual credit card number, the user should:
- Log into their Google account
- Use Google Chrome (on desktop or mobile) or one of the select Android apps to shop
- Choose the Amex virtual card number as the payment option from the drop-down menu at checkout
Chrome will auto-complete all the required card details for every transaction. The user only needs to confirm the action and enter the one-time verification code sent to their mobile phone via text.
For card settings, the user should visit the Manage Digital Wallets page on Amex’s website and sign in. There, they can suspend, resume, or delete the virtual card. After deleting the card, the user can generate a new one.
To disable the feature altogether, the user needs to unenroll the physical card by turning it off in Chrome’s payment settings.
Who’s Eligible for the Amex Virtual Card Number?
The Amex virtual card number feature is available for most credit cards issued by a U.S. banking subsidiary of American Express. However, the card must be valid and not associated with debt.
Ineligible cards include:
- Prepaid cards, such as American Express Serve® Cards or gift cards
- vPayment card numbers, i.e., single-use virtual account numbers
- Buyer-Initiated Payment and Business Travel Account programs
If their card was issued by a licensed third-party financial institution, the cardholder can check their eligibility by contacting the issuer via the phone number printed on the back of the card.
Customers who have multiple eligible credit cards can choose to enroll them all for the virtual card service. In that case, all virtual cards will be associated with the same Google account—the one the user was logged into at the time of creating the virtual cards.
How To Get the Amex Virtual Card Number
The following table will explain the three methods for obtaining the Amex virtual credit card: