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eh? are you serious? Yes, I worry about having to call and file a dispute, then keep track of it and most importantly, I hate it that in most of the cases they want to close the card and re-issue a different number. Talk about a hassle I would most definitely prefer to avoid at all costs.

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scripta said:   Yes, VANs are good for this. But you're not liable for unauthorized transactions, so what are you worried about? Let the banks, processors and merchants worry about their security.

If banks lose money because of your stupidity can you guess who will ultimately pay to cover their losses?

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uncleziba said:   scripta said:   Yes, VANs are good for this. But you're not liable for unauthorized transactions, so what are you worried about? Let the banks, processors and merchants worry about their security.If banks lose money because of your stupidity can you guess who will ultimately pay to cover their losses?It's their stupidity, not ours. And I imagine that eventually the merchant and the card processor loses, not the bank.

Personally, I'm much more alert about all matters of information security and privacy than anyone I know. I'm not arguing against either VANs or the fact that SSL only covers a short distance. I would never email my real cc number. But I do think that submitting info over SSL is good enough, since you don't ever have control over what the other end will do with this information.

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And, right there is why ignorance is Bliss. Everyone loses in one form or another. Whether it is the banks or processor or merchant, eventually the added cost of the right-offs is paid for by your hard earned dollars. For online transactions involving payment card info especially with accompanying personal information (PI) is why SSL is NOT good enough. It is much easier to target the last mile than in between whether it is encrypted or not. Since you don't have control, you limit your exposure by using VANs.

Let me offer you this that I run into often. You submit your info to a merchant over SSL using the public internet. However, that merchant then sends it via the SAME internet to their business partners and affiliates in the clear. So much for your assurance on SSL. But it doesn't even end there, they also send it over un-encrypted or easily crack-able WiFi around their business facility/homes etc.

Regardless of how good their intent is, no one is going to guard your infomation like you would. You therefore do what you can to limit being a victim. Such things as using a different first name for the Shipping address name, VANs etc will make that data less usable (the goal is to make it worthless) should it get into the wrong hands.

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You're not totally wrong, I'm just less paranoid. The scenarios you describe are possible, but the actual impact and cost is minimal to non-existent. My CC info was only stolen once -- it was cloned by a local merchant or waiter and used locally, not by a hacker gaining access to some server. The publicized cases of theft occur at fairly large card processors or large merchants (like TJX). Nobody steals credit cards from small businesses -- the effort is not worth the payoff.

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man, I don't know where you get your facts from. Credit card fraud is $5.5 billion worldwide. In the USA, it results in $500 million yearly damages. Of that approx 50% is via email and 12% online.

Here is a stat that might interest you:

According to a recent MSNBC article published in June 2012, credit card fraud is up 87 percent since 2010, resulting in a total loss of $6 billion. While consumers may be more vulnerable to having credit card information stolen, small businesses are often the largest losers in merchant account scams and credit card fraud.

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None of that tells you how much was lost by vendors and card processors due to their own violation of the security laws/rules, or having been hacked. I'd guess most of the email and online stats are probably due to phishing or stolen credentials (like paypal). Small business losing to credit card fraud is a different beast entirely. None of that has anything to do with whether SSL is used for the online transaction.

But the mention of small businesses losing due to merchant account scams is indeed relevant. No actual number was provided in your quote, however, and my guess is it's not statistically significant in the USA.

For the third time, you are not technically wrong, I just draw the line in a different place than you.

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To each his own. I have never had any credit or payment card issues for over 20 years except for the across the board card replacements issuers occasionally do when they "think" your physical card number may have been compromised in due to a breach in their systems. Never had an unauthorized charge either. I do roughly 15-20 purchasing transactions/day with my VANs (both via SSL, non-SSL and email) as I buy 98% of things online. I'll continue to do what I do and have peace of mind. You can live in denial and wait for the next time you need to dispute a charge.

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From: me***********************om
Subject: Re: VAN desktop application
Date: February 13, 2013 11:54 EST

Dear XXXX XXXX,

We regret any inconvenience.

We are pleased to inform you the downloadable version of our Virtual Account Numbers software will soon be available again for your use with implementation to be expected near the beginning of 2nd quarter. We apologize for any inconvenience the suspension of this service may have caused you. We will notify you once it is available and include instructions on how to re-download the updated version, which will include enhanced security features for your protection.

We appreciate your business and each opportunity to serve you.

If interested, be sure to check out other options available to you under the Benefits & Services menu. Most accounts are able to order replacement cards, get or update a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or request a credit line increase.

Your satisfaction is our top priority, and it matters to us that we satisfy all of your financial needs.

Thank you for using our website.

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Seems too many people were taking their business elsewhere as VAN was a great service to them and the incompetent leadership team finally realized that their customers have the power and not them. I've got the online one down to 10 seconds with a single typed login. However, this would be great if they come out with a cross platform one or at least a windows one that can run in wine.

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2devnull said:   Seems too many people were taking their business elsewhere as VAN was a great service to them and the incompetent leadership team finally realized that their customers have the power and not them. I've got the online one down to 10 seconds with a single typed login. However, this would be great if they come out with a cross platform one or at least a windows one that can run in wine.

i'd give them credit if they actually listened and will re-release the app. What's is your 10 second procedure? I can't do it without logging in twice..

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uncleziba said:   2devnull said:   Seems too many people were taking their business elsewhere as VAN was a great service to them and the incompetent leadership team finally realized that their customers have the power and not them. I've got the online one down to 10 seconds with a single typed login. However, this would be great if they come out with a cross platform one or at least a windows one that can run in wine.

i'd give them credit if they actually listened and will re-release the app. What's is your 10 second procedure? I can't do it without logging in twice..


Well, most of it was already mentioned by TheDiggler, Gpz1100 and some others in this thread. The only thing I did was download AutoFill extension for chrome and created 3 bookmarks. The first bookmark is auto populated by AutoFill, so I just hit TAB + click login, then go to the second bookmark, then the third where the VAN pop-up and then I manually login. It goes pretty quickly where it is at least tolerant for now at it is mostly quick clicks.

1) https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/LoginGet.do
2) https://online.citibank.com/US/JSO/SSO/Cards.do?targetAOApp=van
3) https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/VanWebConfirm.do

Acutally, you can record a macro with some other extension but I didn't explore that far with one that would actually work. I was thinking of just scripting it myself (bash, python etc.) but don't really have the time to play around too much at the moment as it may save a few clicks but not really on the page load times. Sometimes I just keep the pop-up open if I know I'll do a couple of back to back purchases.

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BTW - the reason I go to link #1 first and not CitiCards.com is that the Autofill extension doesn't seem to handle the Javascript on the latter page particularly well.

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uncleziba said:   From: me***********************om
Subject: Re: VAN desktop application
Date: February 13, 2013 11:54 EST

Dear XXXX XXXX,

We regret any inconvenience.

We are pleased to inform you the downloadable version of our Virtual Account Numbers software will soon be available again for your use with implementation to be expected near the beginning of 2nd quarter. We apologize for any inconvenience the suspension of this service may have caused you. We will notify you once it is available and include instructions on how to re-download the updated version, which will include enhanced security features for your protection.
April 1 is the beginning of the second quarter, so April Fools? Have already switched to BOA's ShopSafe (using its stand-alone/desktop app), w/ no plans to return to VAN, even if Citi releases another working desktop VAN app.

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I agree that the new Citi VAN procedure has too many hoops to jump through. Not nearly as convenient as the old desktop version. I did some research and found that Bank of America has their own online version. I applied for a Visa card and tested it today. BofA's version is called ShopSafe. Select the Account Details tab and scroll down to the Use ShopSafe link. It pops up, and you don't need to sign in again--only your three digit security code is required. You enter the amount you want to limit the purchase to and set the number of months it will be valid. The minimum number of months is two. You can also set it up for recurring payments. Much easier to use than Citi's online version.

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Saki33 said:   I did some research and found that Bank of America has their own online version. I applied for a Visa card and tested it today. BofA's version is called ShopSafe. Select the Account Details tab and scroll down to the Use ShopSafe link. It pops up, and you don't need to sign in again--only your three digit security code is required. You enter the amount you want to limit the purchase to and set the number of months it will be valid. The minimum number of months is two. You can also set it up for recurring payments. Much easier to use than Citi's online version.You could have simply read through this entire thread to learn about ShopSafe and also learn that they have a stand-alone desktop app for it. Read through this thread and you'll find the link to the app.

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You could have simply read through this entire thread to learn about ShopSafe and also learn that they have a stand-alone desktop app for it. Read through this thread and you'll find the link to the app.

I did not read the entire thread. I found this thread by doing a Dogpile search, and didn't notice there were four pages to go through. I was only hoping I might help someone else who didn't know about ShopSafe, and didn't realize you had already announced it. However, something beneficial did come to me from your attempt to embarrass. I found the link in one of your posts to the exe. file to install the desktop app. I had searched their website for it without success. I installed it on my Win7 64-bit system and it works. I did get the message that it might not have installed correctly, but I ignored that. The triumphal completion music is a nice touch, and it does indeed have the drag-drop and stay on top features we liked about Citi's desktop. I tested drag and drop in Waterfox/Firefox.

I hope you don't mind that I am repeating the download exe. link for the desktop app so that the next person doesn't have to search through four pages to find it like I did.

https://www.mbnashopsafe.com/ShopSafe_Setup.exe

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Saki33 said:   I did not read the entire thread. I found this thread by doing a Dogpile search, and didn't notice there were four pages to go through. I was only hoping I might help someone else who didn't know about ShopSafe, and didn't realize you had already announced it. However, something beneficial did come to me from your attempt to embarrass.Didn't make my comment in an attempt to embarrass. It was an attempt to educate.

I found the link in one of your posts to the exe. file to install the desktop app.That's precisely what I was expecting you to find.

I had searched their website for it without success.As did I, hence the reason I mentioned my Google-fu skills.

I installed it on my Win7 64-bit system and it works. I did get the message that it might not have installed correctly, but I ignored that.I have since successfully tested the install under Win7 x32, but its nice to have confirmation of a successful Win7 x64 install. Thank you for that.

The triumphal completion music is a nice touch, and it does indeed have the drag-drop and stay on top features we liked about Citi's desktop. I tested drag and drop in Waterfox/Firefox.I shut off the music/sounds in the app -- too annoying. You can configure that by navigating to the "Profile" tab, then "ShopSafe Preferences."

I hope you don't mind that I am repeating the download exe. link for the desktop app so that the next person doesn't have to search through four pages to find it like I did.

https://www.mbnashopsafe.com/ShopSafe_Setup.exe
Don't mind, but personally I'd prefer to see the first link as well (i.e. the web page containing the link to the .exe file):
https://www.mbnashopsafe.com/VistaInstall.html

Or, you can instruct people look for *my* last post listed on PAGE 3 of this thread (towards the bottom of that page), which is something I could have instructed you to look at, but I thought you'd be better served by reading through what's been covered in this entire thread.

BTW, welcome to FW!

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Or, you can instruct people look for *my* last post listed on PAGE 3 of this thread (towards the bottom of that page), which is something I could have instructed you to look at, but I thought you'd be better served by reading through what's been covered in this entire thread.

I have had several years' experience with both Discover and Citi in this regard, and I had already set up my account with BofA for the purpose of using ShopSafe, so there was nothing new there for me other than that the desktop app for ShopSafe does still exist, so, no, I was not well served by spending time searching four pages of the thread with ctrl-F. I blame myself for searching 4-1-2-3 instead of the more logical 4-3-2-1. However, I do thank you for the link to the desktop app.

On the bad news front I have already seen a problem with ShopSafe. I used it yesterday for a purchase at Amazon. During checkout I was invited to a free 30 day trial of Prime. I thought I might as well since it would give me two day free shipping. I limited the amount of the card to the exact amount of my purchase. Today I logged in to my BofA account, and got a surprise. Amazon had posted an additional charge--$1 for the Prime trial. My account detail shows that there is a pending charge for $1 above what I had limited that number to. This is not how this is supposed to work. I am not greatly troubled by the $1. That is less than the shipping would have cost me. But I am concerned about the apparent failure of the limit. So far it shows the charges are pending, so I am not going to jump to conclusions. If, however, the charges become final then I will have no confidence in ShopSafe to protect me from an overcharge by another merchant.

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^^As a test, you can set the amount to say $10 less than your total purchase, go ahead and submit the order. If Amazon doesn't send you an email about an issue with your payment, then indeed BOA's shopsafe is anything but.

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Gpz1100 said:   ^^As a test, you can set the amount to say $10 less than your total purchase, go ahead and submit the order. If Amazon doesn't send you an email about an issue with your payment, then indeed BOA's shopsafe is anything but.

Yeah, I thought about doing that on my next order just to test it, but I will wait until it's something I really intend to order. However, if ShopSafe works as intended it won't even go that far. The credit card number should be declined. That's the way it worked when I tested Citi's VAN.

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Saki33 said:   On the bad news front I have already seen a problem with ShopSafe. I used it yesterday for a purchase at Amazon. During checkout I was invited to a free 30 day trial of Prime. I thought I might as well since it would give me two day free shipping. I limited the amount of the card to the exact amount of my purchase. Today I logged in to my BofA account, and got a surprise. Amazon had posted an additional charge--$1 for the Prime trial. My account detail shows that there is a pending charge for $1 above what I had limited that number to. This is not how this is supposed to work. I am not greatly troubled by the $1. That is less than the shipping would have cost me. But I am concerned about the apparent failure of the limit. So far it shows the charges are pending, so I am not going to jump to conclusions. If, however, the charges become final then I will have no confidence in ShopSafe to protect me from an overcharge by another merchant.A merchant I placed an order with somehow ended up duplicating the order (as two orders), where both got successfully charged to the ShopSafe # I used -- an SS # limited to "one order's" dollar amount. Thus, the SS # I generated was effectively charged DOUBLE its assigned limit.

BOA ShopSafe CSRs noticed that both the initial charge and the follow-up charge were submitted by the merchant using the same CC authorization code, but they couldn't explain why both charges managed to post to my account. The matter was escalated and investigated by a BOA specialist who determined that the ShopSafe system itself worked as intended (since only one authorization was ever obtained), but clearly there was an issue elsewhere in BOA's CC POSTING system. It was such a one-off event though, I doubt they'll make any effort to fix it. The investigating specialist also informed me that ShopSafe credit limits are permitted a bit of a "fudge factor" (meaning merchants can charge "a bit HIGHER" than the requested credit limit, although how much higher was unknown by the specialist), to account for variances such as S&H charges which the end user may have overlooked. I informed the specialist that this policy defeats the purpose of setting a credit limit, period. The lack of specifics on the the alleged "fudge factor" (be it a maximum dollar amount or a percentage of an SS #'s assigned CL) had me wondering whether it truly existed, but based on your experience above, there may actually be one.

BTW, I doubt your $1 pending charge from your Prime TRIAL will truly convert/post.

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Saki33 said:   I applied for a Visa card and tested it today. BofA's version is called ShopSafe. Select the Account Details tab and scroll down to the Use ShopSafe link. It pops up, and you don't need to sign in again--only your three digit security code is required.

Does BofA offer any kind of rewards program? I'm holding on to Citi because of the "thank you" points and hoping they will redeploy the app. BofA is no saint either - they got my blood pressure up quite a few times!

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TheDiggler said:    The investigating specialist also informed me that ShopSafe credit limits are permitted a bit of a "fudge factor" (meaning merchants can charge "a bit HIGHER" than the requested credit limit, although how much higher was unknown by the specialist), to account for variances such as S&H charges which the end user may have overlooked.

This reminds me of a fudge factor BofA had (or still has) on the debit card accounts. When the account runs out of money they will still permit new charges to go through until "a bit HIGHER" limit is reached. They will charge overdraft fee for each and every transaction. I went to a branch and found out that my "fudge factor" was around $25,000 - this was not a credit line, it's how far they would let debit transactions with overdraft fees to continue. This is of course done for my protection in case I forget to account for the S&H amount

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uncleziba said:   Saki33 said:   I applied for a Visa card and tested it today. BofA's version is called ShopSafe. Select the Account Details tab and scroll down to the Use ShopSafe link. It pops up, and you don't need to sign in again--only your three digit security code is required.

Does BofA offer any kind of rewards program? I'm holding on to Citi because of the "thank you" points and hoping they will redeploy the app. BofA is no saint either - they got my blood pressure up quite a few times!


It's 3% on gas, 2% on groceries, 1% everything else.

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uncleziba said:   This reminds me of a fudge factor BofA had (or still has) on the debit card accounts. When the account runs out of money they will still permit new charges to go through until "a bit HIGHER" limit is reached. They will charge overdraft fee for each and every transaction.The financial incentive highlighted above is seemingly something BOA can get away with for DEBIT Cards, but that's not the case anymore with CREDIT Cards. The Credit Card Reform Act of 2009 places clear limitations on "over the limit fees" summarized nicley here:
Limits on over-limit fees: Consumers must "opt in" to over-limit fees. Those who opt out will have their transactions rejected if they exceed their credit limits, thus avoiding over-limit fees. Fees cannot exceed the amount of overspending. For example, going $20 over the limit cannot have a fee of more than $20.While BOA seems to allow charges to go through which are higher than the chosen SS LIMIT (due to the "fudge factor"), in my case the excess charge did not exceeded the cc limit of the primary account, hence no "overage" fee was charged (plus, I never "opted in" for overages). Regardless, I wonder if BOA is in violation of the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009 when permitting an SS # (with user selected CL) to exceed its defined limit. The quote above claims that such transactions are supposed to be rejected, and that's anyway how SS *should* work.

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A few years ago when I ordered my laptop from Toshiba online they mistakenly billed me a second time. They emailed me they had a problem with my credit card when they tried to post the charge. I informed them I had already paid, and the charge was already posted. I had no problem because Citi did not honor the second billing, and Toshiba had already shipped. Toshiba eventually straightened out their accounting, but I was spared the hassle.

The main reason we put a limit on the card is to prevent a merchant from tacking on undisclosed extra charges, or billing us again, besides not having our real number out there on the internet. If I make a mistake on the amount, and don't allow for S&H, I expect the card to be rejected and my mistake will make me go through the process again. I am fine with that. My fault. I am not fine with them having a fudge factor. It defeats the whole purpose of placing a limit. At this point I am not even sure BofA has a limit.

As far as the credit card company is concerned, it's in their interest to have consumers using these one time use cards. I'm afraid it might not be in BofA's interest to go to the trouble to fix this though. It was programmed in for a reason, and they probably don't think it's broken. The number of people who would stop using their card because of it probably isn't significant to them.

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TheDiggler said:   Saki33 said:   
BTW, I doubt your $1 pending charge from your Prime TRIAL will truly convert/post.


I don't either. I didn't read the fine print when I agreed to the trial, but it probably said something like credit card required for trial and that they'd charge $1 to that card to be applied toward full subscription at the end of the 30 days. I already have the date marked on my desktop calendar to cancel, but one of the nice things about controlled payment numbers is that you can't be automatically renewed if you don't want to be. I'm not so sure with ShopSafe, so I will be attentive to the date.

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call Citi for the new VAN issue... it is totally useless now (even I used web VAN for years.. before I just bookmark and login, now I need to go through all process and relogin again for VAN...), I was in Amazon when I was going checkout, I went to Citi to get virtual number but.. the process is too long.. now, I need to login into citi page first, and then a lot of clicks, then login again to the virtual number panel and generate.. then I got timeout in Amazon already...

so I call Citi for this problem which I never needed to face before.. the person agrees with it but he cannot do anything but he will help me to keep as customer feedback. he said if more people call in for this issue, they will look at it; otherwise, they won't do anything. so please call Citi for this VAN issue! and it really causes problem and make us not willing to use VAN. In the end,this will increase their cost for the card stolen issue in the future!

thanks!

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I am as upset as anyone about the loss of the desktop app, and the number of steps it takes to generate a VAN, but the situation isn't as dire as that. I just now timed it and it took me 1:10 to get signed into the web site popup. That is an annoying extra minute, but I don't think Amazon will time you out in that short a time. I have taken a long time in the checkout process several times at Amazon and never been timed out. I don't recommend calling Citi though. That just delays people who have more important reasons to call them. Register your complaint online by sending them a secure message. That's what I did, and I told them the reason I am using Citi is because of the VAN (true). I got the reply that they are aware of how many steps it takes online, and that the desktop app is coming back in the second quarter of 2013. If they hold to that schedule it means no later than this July. The news about the return of the desktop app has previously been reported in this forum, but I am repeating it for those who missed that post.

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if you use a never registered computer (or sometimes, it happens once a while....) it will pop up a page to to send you validation code through email, phone..etc I think because everything adding together to get timeout.

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Kdogg said:   I've been using the web version of the virtual account generator since it was launched. Not once have I had to have a security code sent. I just tried the service a few minutes ago and was able to get a virtual number like I have done in the past. No security code required. Even if it was required it's not a huge deal to me. I have to do it with my Chase account ever few weeks because I never save cookies.

If you use it all the time, just bookmark the url of the generator pop up window. It will take you directly to the generator login page.


This does not work for me anymore. I use to have a bookmark for the popup site but when I click on it now, I get

The page you requested could not be located.

We suggest trying one of the links below to find your information.
Citi Cards Home PageSite Map
If you have a Citi card and need immediate assistance, call 1-800-950-5114.
For technical assistance, call 1-800-347-4934.

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spydermonkey said:   
This does not work for me anymore. I use to have a bookmark for the popup site but when I click on it now, I get


I've been using the 2devnull method (actually less one link)

https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/LoginGet.do --> Login
https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/VanWebConfirm.do --> Login

two logins, but at least don't have to accept the user agreement etc. (I don't trust my browser to save the CC site password, although it may be safer in case there is a keylogger on the PC)

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Does this still work for you?
I login to the first link and it takes me to the home page.
then I login to the second link and it also takes me to the home page.

I just wonder how you make it work? thanks a lot! this will save a lot of time.

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bobyang said:   Does this still work for you?
I login to the first link and it takes me to the home page.
then I login to the second link and it also takes me to the home page.

I just wonder how you make it work? thanks a lot! this will save a lot of time.


it still works for me. the second link opens the VAN app. I'm using Chrome browser.

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I am using chrome too.. may I know how do you make it works...

here is my steps:
1. https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/LoginGet.do --> Login
2. using the same session and https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/VanWebConfirm.do (the same screen as the first link) I see the red "For your protection, sessions are open for a limited period of time on our website. Please sign-on again. " on the page..but still enter the same information and login.. still go to home page https://online.citibank.com/US/JPS/portal/Home.do

thanks!

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bobyang said:   I am using chrome too.. may I know how do you make it works...

here is my steps:
1. https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/LoginGet.do --> Login
2. using the same session and https://www.accountonline.com/cards/svc/VanWebConfirm.do (the same screen as the first link) I see the red "For your protection, sessions are open for a limited period of time on our website. Please sign-on again. " on the page..but still enter the same information and login.. still go to home page https://online.citibank.com/US/JPS/portal/Home.do

thanks!


That doesn't work for me either. Chrome here.

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EDIT 2013-03-30: During the past week or so, according to their support person I spoke with, Discover has implemented new security requirements that break the SOAN bookmark approach -- they now require you to go through their main site. (If you attempt to go direct to the bookmark, it will forever keep asking you for username and password, without giving any error message and without getting you an SOAN. )Once logged in, a direct bookmark works to get you the privilege of providing your credentials a second time. Discover is still somewhat less lame than CitiCards now in that at least Discover works without unblocking popups, and the 16-digit number from Discover can be cut and pasted without intervening spaces between blocks of 4 digits as are delivered by CitiCards.

-----------------------------------------

I too am a longtime Citi VAN user frustrated by the Web based version and its double-login requirement. I am guessing that they withdrew the downloadable app because it was somehow exploitable and they were losing money on it. But the Web-based version is so gratuitously difficult to use that it almost makes me think they are trying to drive customers away.

One of the places their customers could go is Discover. I got my Discover It card today, which I applied for in response to Citi's breaking their VANs. Discover has a Web-based SOAN (Secure Online Account Number) feature. I have just given it a pretty thorough workout, through the point of generating a SOAN. (I'm going to assume that the SOAN will actually work for a purchase). Getting a SOAN via their Web interface requires me to : Login to discover.com with username and pasword. Click my bookmark. Enter username and password a second time. Click a button to generate a SOAN. Now I have a 16-digit number (no annoying embedded spaces) that I can copy/paste into a merchant's form. Done.

The SOAN model of usage is slightly different from Citi VAN. A SOAN always has the same credit limit and expiry date as the physical card. Their intended usage model is that you will typically use one SOAN per merchant. Because my expiry date is 5 years in the future, this lets me put SOANs on file with merchants and not have to update anything for a long time. (Your mileage may vary -- I don't know if they give 5 year cards to everybody). This works fine for merchants whom I basically trust; the SOAN is my insurance against inconvenience in case the merchant's system gets cracked and their customer credit card numbers are compromised. For a merchant I don't trust not to overcharge my card, I would do the labor of getting a Citi VAN that lets me limit the purchase amount (though I have heard that these limits can be circumvented by the merchant).

From traces of it still in their FAQ, I conclude that Discover used to have a downloadable app that did form filling, but that they have withdrawn it. This suggests that maybe both they and Citicards are buying services from a shared vendor. I am glad to read in this forum that Citi is predicting a revived downloadable app in 2Q2013. If Discover revives its downloadable app in 2013, the guess of a shared vendor will be further supported.

So far, so good with Discover. Their online account management seems effective enough. The terms of their deal are as good as on my Citi VAN cards, provided that I pay in full monthly to avoid their 25% per annum interest rate.

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David thanks for the review.

I've used the discover version a few times, but still prefer citi's, even with all the hoops. Being able to control the dollar amount and expiration dates is as important as the VAN itself. This functionality has many uses.

Lets hope your source for the citi 2q2013 update is correct.

rated:
Thanks for the review David. Ive heard that BofA also has some type of virtual number system. Anyone know how it compares to Citi? (Dollar amounts, time limits, etc)

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