Tired of worrying about entering your card information on online shopping sites?
You should consider a service like Privacy.com.
- Simple to create virtual cards
- The free plan has robust features
- Per-transaction spending limit
- Cashback if you upgrade
- No security key login
- Lack of credit card support
Throughout this Privacy.com review, I’ll cover how the service works.
Afterward, I’ll dive into each of Privacy’s plan’s features. That way, you can determine whether you want to upgrade from a free plan.
What Is Privacy.com?
Privacy.com, otherwise dubbed Lithic, is a service that enables you to mask your debit card information by creating virtual or single-use debit cards.
That way, you can make online payments without putting your sensitive data on a potentially insecure website.
How Does Privacy Create Their Virtual Cards?
As of December 2021, Privacy began creating their cards through their banking partner Patriot Bank N.A. so more platforms will accept Privacy Cards.
They didn’t specify what platforms. Thus, I’ll keep an eye out for what ones.
Patriot is a financial institution located in Connecticut and their Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) ID is 412623.
Privacy used to use Lithic, a card issuing platform, to programmatically create virtual cards.
Who Is Privacy Best For?
So many people.
First off, if you’re shopping during the holiday season, you’ll enter your card information on various merchants’ websites.
However, if someone were to hack the merchant and expose your data to buyers on the dark web, then you’ll need to deactivate your card.
If you use a burner card and realize that you’re a victim of a security breach, all you need to do with Privacy is go to your card manager, deactivate, and delete your card.
Also, if you’re a parent with a kid who continually blows money on microtransactions with a virtual burner card, you can set a spending limit.
In general, you’ll need a burner card if you engage in any online transaction.
The company hides your real cards, so you don’t have to waste time dealing with damage control if anything happens to the website that has your information.
Privacy.com List of Features #
Privacy doesn’t feature creep, which means they don’t offer a bunch of useless features and try to sell them to you.
Instead, you’ll find practical uses for almost all of their free and premium features.
Throughout this section, I’ll cover the benefits of using Privacy and why you’ll love them.
Single-use or Disguised Cards
First off, you have to connect a source of funding to your Privacy account.
When you create a virtual card/s, they’ll pull money from your primary funding source whenever you engage in an online transaction with your burner card.
From my experience, it appears that many sites will consider your Privacy Card as a prepaid card.
I can’t find a list of websites that won’t accept these single-use cards, but they exist.
I have gotten Privacy’s virtual payment cards to work on Amazon and the Google Play store.
How To Create a Virtual Card on Privacy.com
Privacy makes it simple for you to create burner debit cards for online shopping sites.
Follow the process below, and you’ll quickly protect your debit cards from potential hackers.
1. Click “New Card.”
2. Set your nickname and select a picture to identify your card.
3. Set your monthly spending.
4. Create your card.
Afterward, you have access to various features to control your card.
For example, you can pause your card, which means that if any merchant tries to pull money, you’ll end up with a declined transaction.
Or, you can add a tag to your card to make it easier to find.
Moreover, you can customize the card’s appearance or loan the card to someone in need.
If you loan your virtual card, ensure you set a spending limit. Otherwise, you may find an empty bank account.
Card Creation Limits
You have a limit to the number of single-use cards that you can create per month, depending on what Privacy plan you’re on.
For example, the Personal (free) has a 12 card limit per month; whereas, the Pro has 36.
If you’re a business and opt for the Teams plan, you’ll have a 60-card limit.
Per-card Spending Tracker and Spending Limit
You can either view all of your transactions on your dashboard, or you can view every transaction for each card on their respective pages.
That way, you can pinpoint where your expenses source.
If you’re not happy with what you’re spending, don’t worry.
For each virtual card, you can set a spending limit. Per month, year, transaction, and total amount your card can spend.
You can adjust the dollar in increments of five. If you don’t care how much you spend, set your limit to unlimited.
Using your card as a burner? Set your card only to enable one transaction.
Account Spending Limit
It appears that whether you pay or use the free versions of Privacy, either way, you’re subject to a spending limit.
Their 24-hour spending limit is $1250 and their 30-day spending limit is $5000.
Fortunately, you can increase your spending limits if you fall under certain criteria:
- Subscriptions to recurring transactions
- At least 1–2 months of consistent spending
- Continually maxing your daily and monthly limits—this shows Privacy that you’ll need a bigger limit
Their website doesn’t specify how much they’ll increase your spending limit.
If you need burner cards to pay for expensive items or services, you may want to pair Privacy with other similar services.
Privacy.com Browser Addon and Extension
Usually, I hate plugins and find they create more problems than they solve.
However, Privacy’s different. Instead of switching tabs while you’re on your merchant cart page, you just need to click the plugin icon and click “New Card.”
Afterward, enter your nickname and spending limit.
And finally, shop.
You can manage all your burner cards with this plugin.
If you’re the type of person who usually runs multiple screens in your setup, I recommend skipping the plugin despite my praise.
You can download the extension for Chrome, Chromium-based, and Firefox browsers.
Privacy Pro (Paid Version) #
If you don’t have enough cards to fit your spending habits, you’ll want to consider upgrading your account to the paid version.
Unfortunately, they charge you monthly and don’t offer any lifetime or one-time plans or fees.
The following will cover the perks that you’ll get once and if you decide to go premium.
Keep in mind that this review just covers the Personal and Pro plans in-depth, not the Teams plan.
The Teams plan, the most expensive tier, gives you dedicated account management of up to 60 cards and transaction limits tailored to your business.
When using Privacy Pro, you’ll receive a percentage of your transaction as cashback.
As of now, it’s 1% cashback.
However, they can change this number at any time.
Also, it doesn’t appear that they have categories where you can’t get cashback.
Privacy will convert the cash back you earned into Privacy Credits every month around the 10th of the following month. Once you have your credits, you can spend them on any Privacy card, with some strings attached.
You can’t spend Privacy Credits on the following vendors and categories:
- International merchants
- Particular clothing merchants like YeezySupply, Footlocker, Nike, and Adidas
- Money transfers
Keep in mind that you’ll only get cash back on transactions that total up to $4500 per month.
Hidden Transaction Information
Without Discreet Merchants—hidden transaction information—transactions will appear on bank statements as Privacy.com [merchant name].
However, you can choose from a list of options to mask the merchant’s name with the feature. Afterward, something like Privacy.com NSA Gift Shop will appear on your statement.
Unfortunately, the burner debit card service can’t discard “Privacy.com” in the bank statements due to compliance regulations.
So I don’t recommend upgrading if your purpose is to remove Privacy.com from your bank statements.
But it works well if you want to buy a surprise gift for your significant other online and don’t want them to see the merchant.
If you don’t want delayed support, you’ll need to pay.
I understand that the company needs to make money and likely doesn’t have enough support staff to keep up.
Nevertheless, I don’t like it.
Thankfully the middle-tier subscription isn’t too much, though.
The premium support is a bonus if you want cashback, additional burner cards, and discrete transactions.
Who Should Use Privacy Pro?
If you’re a frequent spender, I highly recommend Privacy Pro. Otherwise, you’re better off sticking to the free tier.
With the Pro tier, you’ll have a lot more burner cards at your disposal and earn free money when you spend.
It’s affordable and one of few subscriptions that I can justify purchasing.
How Privacy Secures Your Data
Privacy follows the same security standards as banks. For starters, it’s Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Moreover, their team includes experts from known payment and security companies like American Express, Palantir Technologies, and Expensify.
All traffic is sent through Transport Layer Security (TLS) and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) when visiting their website.
Both of these measures protect their website against middle-man security attacks.
Moreover, their internal systems communicate using IPsec with AES-256 encryption, which is some of the best encryption you’ll find.
Regarding login, Privacy allows you to use One time passwords (OTPs) two-factor authentication.
While I welcome this feature, I have a gripe. I’d love to see hardware security key integration for a service where you store a lot of financial information.
Conversely, Privacy hashes your account passwords using Password-Based Key Derivation Function 2 (PBKDF2) with 100000 iterations.
With so many iterations, attackers have a significantly more difficult time guessing your password.
Getting Refunds With Privacy Cards
Can you get refunds from purchases that you used a Privacy.com card?
I had no problem doing so when I needed to refund a service that I was unsatisfied with. All I had to do was initiate the refund with the vendor like normal.
A day later, the money went back to my Privacy funding source, not as a Privacy Credit.
According to Privacy, you can still receive refunds even if you paused or closed the card that you used to purchase the product.
Privacy.com Alternatives #
If you want to experiment, have access to additional cards, or find sites that are similar to Privacy, keep reading. I’ll cover where each alternative shines and who it’s best for.
Stripe Issuing: Best for Business Owners
Stripe Issuing allows you to create both physical and virtual cards for your business.
After creating these cards, you have full control of their distribution and management.
Same with Privacy, you can set spending limits on each card and choose whether you want to use them once or multiple times.
Other nice features for business are that Stripe allows companies to create branded physical cards.
Unlike Privacy’s subscription model, you’ll pay whenever you generate a physical or virtual card.
You will also need to pay transaction and international transaction fees.
As of December 2021, they charge .2% + $0.20 per domestic transaction. Stripe also charges 1% + $0.30 per international transaction.
- Physical and virtual cards
- Same features as Privacy
- Great for businesses
- Transaction fees
Capital One Eno: Best for Capital One Account Holders
You’ll only find this feature useful if you have a Capital One account.
Their Eno tool allows you to generate and manage virtual card numbers for your account. You can use these card numbers to disguise your card number just like Privacy.
What sets Eno apart from Privacy is the price.
You don’t have to pay for Capital One Eno.
- Unlimited virtual cards
- Same features as Privacy
- Must have a Capital One card
Revolut Premium: Best for Travelers, Expats, and Digital Nomads
Revolut offers various financial services like investments, banking, and budgeting.
However, they also offer disposable cards.
You can connect these to your Revolut account and use them as self-destructing cards whenever you purchase something.
So that means you can’t use Revolut’s virtual cards on subscriptions.
Also, you must subscribe to their Premium membership. Their Premium subscription is £6.99 ($9.25). And as a Premium Revolut user, you’re only able to create one burner card per account, which means you can’t set specific cards for various websites.
According to Revolut’s website, you must be a resident of the following countries to use Revolut:
We are currently only supporting legal residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The EEA includes:https://www.revolut.com/en-BE/help/profile-plan/verifying-identity/what-countries-are-supported#:~:text=We%20are%20currently%20only%20supporting,Kingdom%20and%20the%20United%20States.
- Automatically handles disposing of your old card and creating a new one
- Great for you who have a Revolut account
- More affordable than Privacy
- 1 burner card per account
- Can’t use virtual cards on subscriptions
How To Get Started With Privacy
Before considering signing up for Privacy.com, know that they only accept legal United States residents.
Moreover, you must provide information to verify your identity like:
- Full name
- Contact information: phone number and email
- US bank account: they don’t allow international banks
From there, you fill out the application and wait 24 hours to see whether they’ve approved your account.
If they decline your account even though you proved you’re a legal US citizen and provided a legitimate US-based bank account, you’ll need to contact their customer service.
I didn’t have any issues when signing up. However, some people have encountered strange scenarios of being declined for no reason.
Anyway, if you use my link when signing up, you’ll get $5 free that you can spend anywhere online.
Privacy.com Frequently Asked Questions
Privacy has some areas on their website where they’re vague.
I aggregated some frequently asked questions that should help you better understand the virtual card company before creating an account.
Is Privacy.com Safe To Use?
Yes, Privacy.com is safe to use. They’re PCI-DSS compliant, they hash account passwords using PBKDF2, and they use AES-256 encryption.
You can learn more about Privacy’s security by following this link.
How Does Privacy.com Make Money?
Privacy makes its money from subscription fees from Pro- and Team-tier plans. Moreover, they earn from transaction fees they give merchants.
Does Privacy Work on PayPal?
Privacy.com does work on PayPal during my test. When adding a Privacy Card, you won’t need to do anything special—add it like a normal Visa card.
Keep in mind that PayPal will consider Privacy’s burner cards as Visa Prepaid cards.
Does Privacy.com Show up on a Bank Statement?
Yes, Privacy.com will appear on a bank statement as Privacy.com [merchant name] on a free account. However, if you use a paid account, it’ll also appear as Privacy.com in the beginning, but you can mask the merchant name.
Who Owns Privacy.com?
Boling Jiang, an America-based investor who owns Privacy.com. Since Privacy.com was rebranded to Lithic, you’ll want to explore this page to learn more about the company’s investors.
Is Privacy.com Right for You?
If you’re tired of controlling the aftermath of a data breach that involves your card information, I recommend signing up for Privacy.com.
You don’t need a premium account if you want to create a small number of cards.
However, if you decide to upgrade, you’ll have a lot more cards and cashback.
The virtual card service has robust security and will enhance your quality of life by removing an item from your checklist of things to worry about.
If you want $5 for free, sign up through my link, and you could start using Privacy’s burner cards within a day.