HDFC Bank and VISA launch India''s first virtual card for e-commerce

Linked to the customer''s existing international Debit or Credit cards, NetSafe eliminates the need for disclosing the card number while making credit /debit card payments for online shopping and virtually eliminates the risk of cyber fraud. It also saves cardholders from exposing their credit limits or account balances to potential cyber criminals lurking in the anonymity of the web.

Announcing the launch of NetSafe at a press conference in Mumbai, today Aditya Puri, managing director, HDFC Bank said, "NetSafe will enable HDFC Bank cardholders realise the full value of their debit and credit cards, even on the internet. Possibly, this could just be the catalyst that was needed for the much-awaited explosion of e-commerce in India."

Also speaking on the occasion, Uttam Nayak, Visa International''s deputy country manager — South Asia, said, "One of the key concerns for online shoppers is security of payment. NetSafe will add greater security to on-line credit and debit card payment and overcome one of the greatest barriers to online shopping - the trust in using a payment card online."

Nayak felt that NetSafe would bring the same level of convenience, acceptance and security to the virtual world as Visa has in the physical world. "Given the rapid growth of Internet usage in India along with the rapid growth of credit and debit card usage, Visa anticipates significant e-commerce growth in India over the next three to five years," he added.

To shop online, existing HDFC Bank cardholders can create a virtual card on their existing debit or credit card with a pre-defined limit, valid only for a short time or a single transaction after which the card ceases to exist. For example, if a customer wishes to buy something from a particular site worth Rs 500, she can create her own NetSafe card where she is allotted a single use card number with a limit of just Rs 500 which is debited to her credit or debit card.

In the event that the customer fails to use NetSafe within 24 hours of creating the card, the card simply disappears and the credit limit or amount in account is reverted back to the customer''s credit / debit card.