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Tuesday Feb 21, 2017

RBC and Visa Launch Virtual Visa Debit

3 May 2012

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Visa have announced the launch of a brand new product, which has been designed to allow consumers to pay for products over the phone or mail order purchases, directly through their bank account. Yes, your bank account, which means this is not a credit card.

The product launched is the RBC Virtual Visa Debit.

What can the RBC Virtual Visa Debit do for me?

As I mentioned, the RBC Virtual Visa Debit is a new product that has been designed to allow consumers to pay for products online, over the phone or mail order purchases directly form their bank account.

What makes this great is the fact that it is linked with Visa, which means you have several features that Visa offers on their credit cards. The features include:

  • Visa’s Zero Liability
  • Verified by Visa
  • E-Promise
  • Address Verification Service (AVS)
  • CCV2 (Three digit security code)

How does the RBC Virtual Visa Debit work?

In order for the RBC Virtual Visa Debit to work, RBC deposit account holders will receive a reference card, which will hold all of the information they will need to make an online purchase with the funds withdrawn from their bank account. The reference card will have:

  • A Visa Debit Number
  • An Expiry Date
  • A Three Digit Security Code

Keep in mind, this reference card has been designed for strictly online, telephone and mail order purchases. It cannot be used at a physical store, ATM or financial institution.

I love this idea, and although there are banks who offer Visa Debit included in their debit card (CIBC Advantage card) the RBC Virtual Visa Debit is ideal for anyone who wants the option, but with limits on what they can do. The fact that you can only make purchases online, through the telephone or by mail order and that you can’t withdraw funds or make in store purchases does add a bit of security on top of it.

Ideally, I hope to see this product, turn into a digital wallet, because in my opinion it isn’t too far of a stretch. Then again, I have been wanting a digital wallet for some time now ☺.

What do you think of the RBC Virtual Visa Debit?


 UPDATED: CIBC Advantage Card name corrected

About the Author


My favorite weapon of choice is the samurai sword. I use it to cut my chicken during dinner, cut my hair and periodically carve my name into stone when I am bored. I love meditating on top of a 15ft high pole and eating those sushi’s with smoked salmon on top. I love everything there is about Canada and everything financially related to Canadians. I write deily posts from Canadian Banks to Credit Card information.

Comments (17 )

farcodev Wrote:

Hmm for all my electronics/computer purchases I use the interac online, I don’t see the advantages of this Virtual Visa, especially that with IO there’s no adress verification and the like.
Of course for the many canadian that doesn’t use Interac Online (like it could be cool.

Mike Wrote:

I like this virtual product as long as it doesn’t interfere with my ability to do Interac online debits. Been using online debit payments for years and I love the security of it – feels like the safest way to use debit online. I would have to get used to the idea of having my debit card number and data out there with Visa and the risks of having it getting stolen and fraudently used. Zero liability is great but if fraud purchases are made out of my deposit account my life can get complicated pretty quickly. It will be great to have a debit option for all those merchants that do not take Interac though.

Doug Wrote:

Correction needed: Scotiabank does not offer Visa Debit cards. CIBC’s Advantage card is the only one that does.


Naveen Wrote:

Hi, thanks for profiling the RBC Virtual Visa Debit card!

For anyone looking for more info on the product, please check out: For questions and help with the new card, please connect with me on Twitter at @AskRBCCanada.

Naveen Atwal
Community Manager, RBC Royal Bank

Sensei Wrote:

The RBC Virtual Visa Debit is a good innovation. We are always happy to spread the word on new products! :)

Sensei Wrote:

Yea, I am with you on the whole Interac purchase. But this can always be a nice alternative for people skeptical of using Interac online.

Sensei Wrote:

That’s what I am thinking; this will be perfect for people looking to make debit purchases on merchants who do not take Interac. Visa is always a good option as well because you can earn reward points/ cash back though.

Sensei Wrote:

Thanks for pointing that out! Can’t believe I made that mistake.

Okane Wrote:

I wish I had this card when I arrived in Canada. At least, even without a credit card, I could have taken advantage of all the low price I could find in shopping online.

Sensei Wrote:

That is so true! It is great for someone looking to shop online, without having to put stuff on credit. Although if you were to to do that once you pay it off immediately then you are golden :)

David Samson Wrote:

And as this reply is posted the CIBC Advantage Card is not working on any purchase i tryed online. But. As a debit card it work perfecly

Brian Fisher Wrote:

As an RBC Visa customer, I got the card in the mail this week & was curious as to who had what advantages. I left a message with RBC asking what were the charges to a merchant using this service. They got back to me by phone even. Much appreciated on my part for their initiative. Unfortunately no one could provide an answer.

However If I understood correctly, Visa Debit may be making their money from conversion fees for international purchases to the tune of 2.5% to change a Canadian Dollar into a U.S. one. A merchant fee for a Visa Credit Card transaction is around 2% so this is a bit more than that and it’s the client who pays.

This product may be acceptable for domestic online purchases but beyond that I don’t know. I already use a bank account debit system with PayPal and I don’t seem to recall any currency conversion fees.

Caveat emptor.

David Wrote:

This is exactly what I need right now. I want to purchase from a website that only accepts Credit Cards and I don’t have one.
Any info on the release date of this?

Sensei Wrote:

It is already launched! You can find more info on how to get it here:

Ben Wrote:

I am a RBC client and still don’t understand why they did not include on client card like CIBC and TD instead of launch another seperate card to manage? Very disappointing for a big bank like RBC!

Matt Wrote:

I don’t really see the point of this. I guess it’s a nice alternative if you don’t already have a CC. I’ll never use this unless I can collect rewards points through it, like I do with my RBC Visa.

Rob Wrote:

I don’t see the point of this card for the consumer. First, you lose the float (up to 30 days) that you get by paying by credit card. This is great for Visa and the merchant, not so great for you. Second, there is the issue of security. Yes, you have to have the number and the 3 digit security code. But there’s no secret PIN. So if you’re dumb enough to carry this card around in your wallet and you lose it, anyone can use it make online purchases. Yes, there’s the zero liability policy but there is also the hassle of having to prove that the use was fraudulent. What they should have done is make the reference card too big to carry around in your wallet along with your credit cards and debit cards. Keep the darn thing in your desk drawer under lock and key! As for me, I’m cutting it up and I’ll continue to use my Visa credit card, on-line and off.

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