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With the rise of identity theft and credit card fraud, some banks and credit card companies now offer temporary credit card numbers you can use for online purchases separate from your typical bank card.

Unlike your regular credit card, temporary numbers aren’t sent to you on a physical card.  They’re simply numbers you can use online in place of your standard credit card number.   They’re linked to your primary account.  But they don’t show any of your personal information, so hackers can’t see (and then steal) your information from unsecure sites.

Depending on the type of temporary credit card you get and what purchases you would like to use it for, a temporary credit card number can be used for a one-time purchase on a website you’re not familiar with or for a specific amount of time… say, the next three months while you book your flight, hotel, travel insurance, and tours for your upcoming vacation.

Your personal information remains secure.  And, because the numbers you’re using are temporary, you can avoid unwanted additional fees or membership charges sometimes written into the fine print on special travel deals.

Here are just a few of the major credit card companies that now offer temporary credit card numbers:


**Bank of America (MBNA)


While obtaining a temporary credit card number is not a necessity for making online purchases, it is an extra precaution you can take if you are worried about becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

That said, certain credit card companies offer automatic buyer protection and travel insurance on purchases made with your regular card that might not be offered with your temporary credit card.

Every company is different.

For more information on travel insurance and whether or not your credit card will cover you in the case of an emergency IF you book your trip using their card, see this article in our archives: Travel Insurance: You May Already Own It.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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