We’re all shopping online more than ever before, and despite the encryption used to protect your payment information on most websites, there’s still a risk that your card details could be stolen or misused.
To help combat this, Google is launching a feature in Android and its Chrome web browser called Virtual Cards. It replaces your real card details with a distinct virtual number whenever you use the autofill feature at the checkout.
This means that you never have to enter your three-digit CVV and this, along with the use of a virtual long number, helps to ensure that your real payment details are protected as they’re never stored on any website you shop with.
Google says it has “worked closely” with Mastercard, American Express, Visa and Capital One to develop the feature, which will be available “this Summer” in the US, though Mastercards won’t be supported until “later this year”.
You’ll be able to go to pay.google.com to enable the feature for any cards you have stored there. They must be eligible, although Google didn’t specify any of the conditions for eligibility.
On the portal, you’ll also be able to see your virtual card number and see recent transactions on your virtual card.
The announcement was just one part of a suite of new privacy and security features, including turning on 2-step verification by default and moving to a passwordless future.
It is also adding what it’s calling ‘safety status’ to apps “apps so you never have to worry about the security of your Google Account”. A yellow icon on your profile picture will warn you of any actions you need to take to keep your account secure.