An American Express Virtual Card is a digital prepaid card that you can use to make online purchases. It’s a great alternative to using your personal credit or debit card when you don’t want to share your personal information. You can also use it to keep your spending organized since each virtual card has its own unique number and expiration date.

To get an American Express Virtual Card, you’ll need to be a cardholder and have an online account with American Express. Then, just log in to your account and click on the “Virtual Cards” tab. From there, you can create a new virtual card or manage your existing cards.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is a difference between an American Express Virtual Card and the newer Bluebird from American Express. Bluebird acts as a checking account replacement, whereas virtual cards are for making online purchases.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of using an American Express Virtual Card over something like PayPal, or to see whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

The Advantages of Using an American Express Virtual Card

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider using an American Express Virtual Card instead of other payment methods like PayPal. Here are some of the benefits:

1. Your information is safe and secure

Virtual cards are a great alternative to PayPal or another third-party service because all of your information is kept securely within American Express. Virtual cards also have the same Zero Liability policy as regular credit and debit cards, meaning you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made on your account.

2. It keeps a record of your spending

Most people don’t want to use their personal information for online transactions. That’s where Virtual Cards come in. You get all of the convenience of making online transactions without having to worry about leaking any of your personal information. Plus, you can keep track of which cards you used by checking out the record on your American Express account.

3. You can use them anywhere American Express is accepted

Just like a regular American Express credit or debit card, virtual cards are accepted at millions of locations worldwide. This makes them a great choice for online shopping or traveling abroad.

4. You can set spending limits for each card

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, you can set spending limits for each of your virtual cards. This way, you won’t go over your budget without even realizing it.

The Disadvantages of Using an American Express Virtual Card

Just like anything else, there are some disadvantages to using an American Express Virtual Card. Here are a few of the most common complaints:

1. You can only use them online

Virtual cards are great for online purchases, but they don’t work as well in other situations. For example, you won’t be able to use your virtual card at stores or restaurants because there will be no way to accept the card as a form of payment.

2. They can’t be used to withdraw cash from an ATM

There are some American Express virtual cards that allow you to withdraw money at ATMs, but those cards aren’t widely available and usually have other restrictions attached. The majority of virtual cards just let you spend the money that’s already in your account.

3. You can only use each virtual card once

Every time you create a new virtual card, it will replace the one you canceled (if there is one). This way, you won’t make any online transactions with expired cards. Unfortunately, this also means you won’t be able to use the same card more than once.

4. Fees may apply

Some virtual cards come with a small fee, while others don’t. You’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your specific card in order to find out if there are any associated fees.

The Bottom Line


If you’re looking for a convenient way to make online purchases or want an alternative to PayPal, American Express Virtual Cards are definitely worth considering. Just be aware of the limitations and fees that come with each card before making your decision.