Review (2021) — How it Could Help Keep Your Money Safe
by Kyle Burbank Feb 22, 2021 13

First the bad news: considering all the major data breaches that have hit retailers, websites, and freaking credit bureaus alike, there’s a very strong chance your personal info has been compromised at some point. Luckily, in addition to steps you can take, such as freezing your credit reports to prevent criminals from using this data, there are a growing number of tools you can use to foil thieves in the future. Add to this list, which allows users to create unique card numbers they can use to conceal their actual info.
Beyond the ability to keep your credit card info safe, this free service also has the potential to save you money. Let’s take a closer look at how works and how this tool could benefit your financial life.
Getting Started with

Signing up
Just like with most websites you encounter, joining starts with you entering your email address and creating a password. Naturally, you’ll also be asked to verify that email address to prove you do, indeed, have control of it. This part of the process is so commonplace that I doubt most would think twice about it. However, it’s the next step that may give some individuals a moment of pause.
In order to create card numbers using, you’ll need to link a funding source that will be tapped whenever one of your proxy cards is used. To link a funding source, you’ll need to select your bank and log into your online banking account. Even for a site with “Privacy” in its domain name (or perhaps especially because of this), first-time users might be a bit hesitant about this aspect of the sign-up process. That said, those who have ever linked their bank accounts on other personal finance apps and sites will surely recognize the banking APIs employed here. This helped ease my worries but I still understand those who might not want to give this info up.
Once a funding source is linked, you’ll be able to start creating cards. You can also link additional funding sources and select which account you’d like each card to pull from. Something to note is that, at this time, funding sources can only be bank accounts and debit cards. Credit cards are not currently supported.
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Creating new cards
When you log into, on the left side of the screen you’ll see a section called “My Wallet.” This is where you’ll not only see any cards you’ve previously created but it also has a link to make new ones. These cards can either be assigned to a certain recurring expense (e.g. Netflix, iTunes, Spotify, etc.) or you can create single-use “burner” cards.
To set up a new card, you’ll first want to assign a nickname to your card to help remind you what it’s used for. As part of this process, you can also select from a library of commonly-used logos in order to make it even easier to identify which card is which. For example, Amazon, Postmates, and Groupon are among some of the popular card design options you’ll see when assigning a nickname. To further customize your digital cards, you can decorate them with emojis or icons to help you remember what each is for.
After naming your card, you can select a spending limit. These limits can be per transaction, per month, per year, or total. So, if your Netflix bill is $10.99 a month, you can set your card to decline any transactions over $11 (note: it seems only allows limits to use whole numbers and not decimals). You can also create a “burner” card by selecting the “single-use” option on the bottom of the Spend Limit window. Regardless of whether you’re setting up a recurring limit or a single-use card, just hit “Save Limit” when you’re done to move onto the last step.
As I mentioned, you can link multiple funding sources for use on Thus the final step in creating a new card is to confirm which source you want the card to utilize. After that, you can hit “Create Card” and you’ll see it join your wallet.
FYI, with the basic (free) plan, you can create up to a dozen cards a month.

Using your cards
There are a few different ways you can utilize the cards you create on visiting their desktop site, installing the browser extension, or using their mobile app. In any case, all you’ll need to do is copy the credit card number (or debit card, actually) it assigns to you — complete with expiration date and security code — as your payment info when checking out of an e-commerce site. To make this easier, all you’ll need to do is click on the card number and Privacy will automatically copy it to your clipboard. For mobile app users, the same functionality can be accessed by tapping and holding on the card (single tapping will merely toggle the full card number display on and off). As for the expiration and CVV, you’ll need to enter those manually.
I mentioned above that does offer a browser extension. There are two main ways that this tool can help make your checkout process easier. The first is that you can click the Privacy extension icon on the right side of your browser to gain quick access to your Wallet in order to view existing cards or create new ones. You can also click the “Transactions” tab to easily view recent purchases you’ve made with your cards. However what makes the extension even more helpful is that, when you encounter a checkout form asking for a card number, a little icon may appear in the card number field. Clicking this will then launch a tool allowing you to select or create a new card and have the information automatically entered for you. For that reason alone, if you use Chrome or Firefox and end up signing up for, I’d recommend installing this extension as well.
Making changes to your cards
It should also be noted that you can make a number of changes to your cards at any time. Among the options at your disposal is the ability to pause your card from being used, increase or decrease your spending limit, switch a funding source, or delete a card entirely. All of these can certainly come in handy as you start to actively use the service.
Spend limits
Something I didn’t notice when I initially reviewed is that there are weekly and monthly spending limits. Considering that these are prominently on your dashboard, I’m guessing it’s something that’s been added more recently. In any case, according to the site’s FAQ, these limits are determined on a per-account basis. More specifically, they note that those who frequently use their accounts, have recurring payments set up on the site, and/or who reach their spending limits will see increases to these caps.
To give you an idea of what to expect, it’s been a few months since I’ve used my card and my limits are $100 a week and $400 a month. Those seem pretty low but not ridiculous. Then again, if you were planning on making a purchase over $100, I do wonder if an automatic increase would be possible. Hopefully you won’t need to find out, I guess!
Sharing cards
Another interesting feature on Privacy is the ability to share a created card. To do this, just select a card, tap the three dot icon, choose “Share,” and then enter the person’s email address. This will then email them a link they can click to view the card info — and they don’t even need their own Privacy account in order to access it.
In terms of potential use cases, if you wanted to loan someone money or give them what is essentially a universal gift card, you could simply create a one-time use card, set a spending limit, and send it to them. Sure there are other options for accomplishing similar goals, but I think this is a pretty neat feature nonetheless. Of course, you will want to use discretion in who you send cards to and will want to adhere to Privacy’s terms and policies, which you will need to agree to before proceeding with your card share.
Pro and Teams plans
While’s main service is free to use for individuals, the site also offers upgraded plans. The first of these is the $10-a-month Pro plan. At this tier you’ll be able to generate up to 36 cards a month (instead of the regular 12), receive priority support, and more. Plus — perhaps more importantly — you’ll earn 1% cashback on your first $4,500 in purchases using cards.
Meanwhile the Teams plan comes at a cost of $25 a month. In addition to a dedicated account management, this plan allows for up to 60 cards to be created a month. Moreover the site says that features such as Multi-user support and exports to software such as Quickbooks and Xero will be coming to this tier in the future.
Although the Teams option may be attractive to some small businesses, I’m guessing most individuals will just want to stick with the free plan. Then again, if you do manage to spend enough using Privacy, you could end up covering the $10 fee (and then some) with the Pro plan’s 1% back. So, if you’re thinking it over, you can learn more about each plan on Privacy’s Pricing page to help make your decision.

How Could Save You Money

Protecting you from fraud
The most obvious way that could potentially save you money is by helping protect you from fraud. When retailers or other entities get hacked, your credit card information could be exposed. Thus, by using a proxy card number, you’re limiting what funds thieves can get access to if they should attempt to utilize this stolen data.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that similar technologies are already being employed outside of Privacy’s tool. From digital wallets like Apple Pay to EMV chip cards, transactional tokens are quickly becoming the new norm. That said, not all of these same protections extend to e-commerce, which is where comes in.
Keeping tracking of your memberships and subscriptions
Have you ever signed up for a free trial and forgotten about the service until several months and hundreds of dollars later? This is actually something that could potentially help prevent as well. By using one-time cards to sign-up for free trials, you can ensure that you won’t see subsequent charges that you don’t want. Of course, you should always follow up and formally cancel any trials that unintentionally convert to memberships so you don’t continue to receive annoying emails from companies demanding your money.
A similar benefit is that could help you keep track of all the various subscriptions you do have. I’ve long advocated for making a master list of memberships and periodically reviewing them to see where cuts can be made — now Privacy can essentially recreate that functionality, complete with sleek-looking logo cards to boot. Plus, by setting your monthly spending limits to match what your charges should be, you can bet you’ll be notified if the cost of your subscription were to suddenly go up, allowing you to consider whether the service is still worth the hiked price.
Referrals and cashback
Finally, like many financial tools and apps these days, incentivizes users to spread the word. First, by sharing your custom referral link with friends, family, and whomever else, they’ll receive $5 in credit that can be utilized when they make their first purchase using the platform. Better yet, you’ll also receive a $5 credit when they sign-up and complete their first qualifying transaction. You can get $5 for yourself by signing up through my link here.
The other way that you can be rewarded for sharing is with their Cashback Key. With a Cashback Key code, you’ll be entitled to earn 1% back on all of the purchases you make using cards over the span of one month. Oddly, while you can access the part of the page where you can enter a Cashback Key you’ve received, it doesn’t really explain how to obtain them. Thus, while I’m still not 100% sure on how these Cashback Keys are doled out, they do seem to be tied to promotions — including potentially involving referrals.

The Pros and Cons of

Pro: Greater security when shopping online
In my eyes, the premise of is a strong one. Although most of the major e-commerce sites you visit are secure, breaches are still all too common. While I’m certainly no expert, the tool that Privacy has built seems like a smart solution and one worth trying.
Con: You need to trust the site in order to sign up
On the other hand — and as I mentioned — it’s not hard to imagine that some would-be users might be scared off by needing to enter their banking login info before getting started. After all, that data getting out could lead to more damage than a credit card number being revealed. Of course realizes this conundrum and addresses it in their FAQ section. Regarding the need to log into your bank account, they write, “It sounds risky. But give us a sec to explain how this works. We partner with Plaid to facilitate these connections. Plaid has an agreement with your institution to be a trusted bridge to your bank. When you login via the portal provided by your bank, we are given a token by your bank that allows us to verify your account and conduct Privacy related transactions. We don’t obtain or store your login information, and you can change it anytime without affecting your use of Privacy.” So, if that information helps ease your worries, great. If not, I completely understand.
Pro: Helps you keep track of subscriptions and memberships
If I’m being completely honest, I actually see the real benefit of Privacy not as a tool for protecting your card numbers but for keeping up with all of your subscriptions. From the popularity of streaming services to the numerous SaaS applications some of us may try once and forget about, there’s plenty of opportunities to introduce “money leaks” into your budget that can start to add up. Sure my master list plan works well enough, but Privacy streamlines the whole operation and installs plenty of fail-safes to ensure these costly recurring fees don’t slip through the cracks.
Con: No credit card rewards
Now that we’ve highlighted what I think is the biggest advantage of, I have to mention what I see as its largest drawback — and the one that will likely hinder how much I actually end up using the service. Currently, the only funding sources you can link to cards you create are bank accounts and debit cards. While this makes sense, it’s a big bummer for people like me who earn significant cashback or rewards from credit cards. As a result, it doesn’t really seem worth it to me to use Privacy cards for these services.
Even if there were a way to link credit cards to Privacy’s proxy cards, it’s unlikely that purchase would be categorized by merchant code, which could still cause issues for those looking to maximize rewards. Because of this, while I’ll still utilize for free trials or the occasional transaction where I want some added protection, I don’t foresee using the platform frequently until a solution to the rewards dilemma emerges.

Final Thoughts on

I’m honestly quite surprised I hadn’t heard of before I initially reviewed them. Given its clever functionality and, well, impressively succinct domain name, it seems like the type of tool that would have been on my radar long ago. In any case, I’m glad it’s come to my attention now.
Despite my lamenting the lack of credit card rewards, there’s no doubt that Privacy’s platform can benefit online shoppers. From an easy-to-use browser extension that makes filling out card forms simpler to the ability to manage your budget more effectively, there are multiple benefits to what Privacy has built that make it worth checking out — especially as long as they’re offering that $5 credit on your first purchase. So whether you want to keep track of your subscriptions and transactions or make an identity thief’s job just a little bit harder, can help you out.
Also published on Medium.

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, “The E-Ticket Life” is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly “Money at 30” column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at
Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

William says:
November 29, 2018 at 3:31 pm
whats great about this is its for free. Who doesn’t like free stuff. LOL

Timothy says:
December 3, 2018 at 3:20 pm
Great job, I constantly learn about new and useful apps with your blog. Thanks and keep it up.

William says:
December 5, 2018 at 3:37 pm
This is a great innovation to protect our card’s privacy> I will surely go for my privacy over credit card rewards.

Russel Brooks says:
December 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm
I’m currently creating my account with them. You should note that Privacy’s virtual cards are debit cards, not credit cards.

Kyle Burbank says:
December 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm
Good point, Russel. I guess I didn’t mean “credit card number” literally in this case. I’ll try to make that more clear. Thanks!

John says:
January 18, 2020 at 7:19 am
I have done lots of reading (lurking) for years, this is REALLY like my first post of importance EVER! SO take heart if I make a post its BAD! Real Bad..
I have used for almost 2 years, until yesterday! I saw 6 transaction from my bank account, large amounts:$114, $150, $300 and a couple of small ones. I called my bank and was told they were all transactions. The bank could not help me as I “gave them my bank account info.” Contact I did try to contact them by phone and email almost 75 times. I have a excel spreadsheet showing each email and call. When you call in you get “No operator is available to help right now, leave your email, name and phone number”. Still 30 hours later nothing, no emails confirming I sent an email as confirmation…NOTHING! ALL the transactions from yesterday went from pending to completed today. I have lost $700 and have no recourse to fix it. Bank says these are ACH and cant be stopped or refunded.
Further investigation shows more than a hundred declines over the past 48 hours but notifications had been turned off, so I saw nothing and heard nothing. Did Privacy do anything after they saw a hundred random declines in a couple of days…NO!

Nancy says:
January 28, 2020 at 10:55 am
i’m coming in late to this, but it would be awesome if Paypal would do this. Instead of (or in conjunction with) their physical card, offer an E-Commerce module, like Privacy, that allows you to use their service online by generating burner numbers.

Tristan McKay says:
February 4, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Fun fact, credit card cash back rewards are actually the credit cards giving you back some of the money you spent. This means the credit card charges the company you buy from 1-3% more in order to pay you 1-3% more. It’s a scam to make people feel better about using their cards. Businesses raise their prices overal to compensate for this meaning that the poor who don’t have the financial security to qualify for a credit card pay the same amount but don’t get the % back essentially end up being taxed for being poor, literally in states that have sales tax because sales tax applies to that increase.

Kyle Burbank says:
February 12, 2020 at 1:19 pm
That’s a great idea, Nancy! They really should.

Kyle Burbank says:
February 12, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Sorry to hear about that, John. That’s definitely scary. I haven’t heard about such troubles before so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out!

Charles Carrington says:
March 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm
I think the biggest issue is that you lose credit card protections (guaranteed no fraud loss) and have Debit Card or ACH.
So, you are trading one kind of security (single use card #s), for another – guaranteeing no fraud losses.

Mark says:
April 27, 2020 at 10:57 am
John, I would agree. Their customer service is non-existent. If I get a reply at all from a ticket I opened its only days later. I think if another company created a similar business line and improved the operations side they would put this company out of business. Im perplexed as to why no other company is not creating virtual cards.

Nathan says:
March 8, 2021 at 3:08 am
Just wanted to chime in and mention that Capital One actually offers a similar virtual card service similar to that’s been around for a while now. I believe they refer to it as “Eno” which is really just a browser extension that allows you to disguise your Capital One credit card numbers with one-time virtual card #’s just like I used it for a little bit just to test it out and the process was smooth, though I have to admit it’s been a while since I did that. It might be worth checking out for anyone that’s already a Capital One cardholder as I’m pretty certain the service is free and comes backed by the might of a longstanding, reputable company. Hopefully that’s helpful to someone down the line. Take care everyone!
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