No, a Visa Debit card (or Virtual Visa Debit) is a way to access and pay funds from your bank account and is similar to debit or client card as it uses the INTERAC payment network and payments are immediately withdrawn from your bank account. But unlike a Debit Card a Visa Debit Card  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 and 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 as 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 make mail order purchases, you have an option to access and pay directly from your bank account and make immediate payment without using a credit card.  Before the Visa Debt, the only payment methods online merchants would accept payment were; credit cards, Online payment system such as PayPal, prepaid credit card (or gift card) and for those with a chequing account, mail a cheque (most merchants do not accept this method)

Issues with the Other Online Payment Methods

Payment by Credit Card – Due to security reasons, most consumers are reluctant to give their credit card information, also, if you do not possess a credit card, by choice or a bad credit rating, you miss out on purchasing online products or services.

Mailing a Cheque – Most merchants do not allow it and if they do, for services as an example, it took a long time due to the mail and processing.

Prepaid or Gift Card – Similar to the Visa Debit as you could use like a credit card, but unlike a credit card, you had to either purchase a card with a set amount or keep reloading.  With set amount prepaid/gift cards, you had to register the card online every time you purchased a new card.  Another issue using prepaid/gift card to pay for services (for example, domain registration, web hosting etc.) if the service was recurring, it would not be an accepted method, even if you only wanted to make a onetime purchase.  Also you had to pay fees ranging between $3-15, depending on the amount and type of card.

PayPal or another Online Payment Company – An improvement, but if you did not have a credit card, it could take up to 5-10 days to have your payment added to your PayPal account and most often, the item or service would be on hold until the payment was received at PayPal.

The only drawback with Visa Debit is although it is used by 17,000 Canadian online merchants, it does not guarantee the merchant you use accepts this method of payment.  The good news is the list is growing daily.