A Visa Debit card (or Virtual Visa Debit) is a way to access and pay funds from your bank account. It is similar to a debit or client card because it uses the INTERAC payment network. Also, payments are immediately withdrawn from your bank account. But unlike a debit card, a Visa can be used to make purchases even if you cannot physically be there to make the payment. The Virtual Visa Debit also enables you to set up recurring bill payments without having to send your bank details or a void cheque.
The Visa Debit is accepted by over 17,000 Canadian online merchants and more merchants are added each month. It can also be used for merchants outside of Canada, anywhere Visa is accepted. The Visa Debit does not have any annual fees and makes money management easier. Transactions are debited from your bank account at time of payment.
Why would I need a Visa Debit
If you shop online, by telephone or mail order, you have an option to pay directly from your bank account. Before the Visa Debit, the only payment methods online merchants accepted as payment were: credit cards, online payment system such as PayPal, prepaid credit cards (or gift card) and, for those with a chequing account, a cheque.
Issues with the Other Online Payment Methods
Payment by Credit Card – Due to security reasons, most consumers are reluctant to give out their credit card information. Also, if you do not have a credit card by choice or a bad credit rating, you miss out on purchasing products or services online.
Mailing a Cheque – Most merchants do not allow it and if they do, processing may take a long time.
Prepaid or Gift Card – This is similar to the Visa Debit because you can use like a credit card. However, unlike a credit card, you must either purchase a card with a set amount or keep reloading. With set amount prepaid/gift cards, you need to register the card online every time you purchase a new card. Another issue using prepaid cards is when you attempt to use one to pay for recurring services (domain registration and web hosting). For recurring services, this is not an accepted method. Also you have to pay fees ranging from $3-15, depending on the amount and type of card.
PayPal or another Online Payment Company – This is better, but if you do not have a credit card, it can take 5-10 days to have your payment added to your PayPal account and most often, the item or service will be put on hold until the payment is received.
A downside to Visa Debit is that it is not always accepted as a method of payment. The good news is that the list is growing daily.