Have you ever visited a website where you wanted to make a purchase but weren't confident about using your debit card? Or perhaps you're beginning a new a subscription but aren't sure if you want to keep it long-term. When you don't feel like you can trust a corporation with your personal information, it could become really frustrating and even result in you completely abandoning the entire transaction. This is where Privacy comes in. Privacy offers the choice to generate unique, temporary card numbers to use in place of your actual card.
That's where Privacy comes in. They give you the option to create unique, temporary card numbers that you can use instead of your actual card. This way, you can shop online without worrying about your information being shared or saved. And if you're not sure about a subscription, you can use a temporary card number to sign up and then cancel it later if you decide it's not right for you. In a world full of online transactions, you can finally continue shopping online without worrying about your information being shared, saved, or stolen. And if you're not sure about purchasing something like a service subscription, you could use Privacy to sign up & then cancel the card if you decide it's just not for you.
With Privacy, you can create a virtual "burner" cards that are linked to your bank. You're in control of when the charges can be made and what amounts a merchant can charge you.
How Does Privacy Work?
Privacy.com operates as a secure payment service that enables users to shop online safely by providing them with unique virtual card numbers. Privacy functions as both a website and mobile app that allows you to create your own personal temporary debit card. This gives you control over who can charge you and how much. You can create virtual payment cards for one-time purchases or subscriptions, directly from your browser. You are also able to set spend limits, pause, unpause, and close cards any time you want. I've been using Privacy for over a year now and have almost every single subscription linked. You could see what my monthly Spotify purchase looks like below.
I've even caught services trying to raise subscription prices on me (resulting in the card getting declined). Most corporations are pretty scummy, they will try to recharge a card 20+ times if it gets declined once – possibly resulting in overdraft fees if you have it coming directly out of your bank account. Of course I would always recommend cancelling subscriptions directly from the site you signed up from, but if you have your subscriptions on a Privacy card you'll benefit from the extra protection of simply turning the card off.
I couldn't figure out how to cancel one of my software subscriptions so I just had to close the Privacy card it was linked to. They tried charging my card another 8 times after this (most likely an automated system trying to over and over) and finally stopped a few months after I closed the card.
Is Privacy.Com Safe?
Absolutely. As a US-based financial company, Privacy must adhere to various compliance requirements related to identity verification, security, and payments, including PCI compliance.
In other words, Privacy uses a really strong code (AES-256 encryption) to protect your data when it's not being used. This way, if anyone tries to get access to your information, they won't be able to read it without the right key – somewhat like a password. And to keep the keys safe, they're only stored in the memory of a computer that's not connected to the internet. If it makes you feel any better, Privacy has special annual audits ran by outside firms to ensure that they're maintaining everything correctly.
How do I sign up?
On their website, you can sign up for free. You will need to provide your email address, create a password, and accept their terms and conditions. Once signing up, you have to link your bank account so you can start generating cards. I used to use the mobile app exclusively until they allowed you to generate cards directly from their website.
How Much Does Privacy Cost?
The service has a very generous policy giving users 12 free cards a month. If you need more cards, you can upgrade to their pro or teams plan for $10 and $25 a month if you want access to more monthly cards (or a 1% cashback reward). The company makes money by charging a small fee to merchants each time a customer uses a Privacy card to make a purchase. This interchange fee is a percentage of the transaction amount that is paid by the merchant's bank to the customer's bank as a processing fee for the payment – in other words, you don't have to pay.
How Does Privacy.com Help Me?
Besides being in control of your purchases and subscriptions, there's a few behind-the-scenes benefits that you might not realize.
By creating a unique card number for every merchant, you help reduce your personal risk of fraud. If a merchant has an insecure payment processor which allows card information to get leaked – you would normally be out of luck. If you put your most common (or most untrusted) transactions on a Privacy card, you'll eliminate this risk entirely. Good luck trying to charge a card that isn't open!
Subscription & Membership Tracker
Privacy can also help you stay within your budget. You can set limits on how much you can spend and when the charges are made. I personally enjoy having all my little monthly subscriptions on Privacy as I can quickly see how much I'm spending on recurring transactions. I normally combine my Privacy subscriptions with Copilot to budget and track all of my monthly expenses.
Dispute & Hide Transactions
If you're on the pro plan, you could even dispute transactions directly through Privacy. They offer an extensive guide on how to do so & how they approach it from their end. Additionally, you can make discrete purchases and hide the merchant name on your bank statement if you don't want the information to be casually visible.
Cons of Using Privacy
Of course every product has its negatives. Privacy doesn't really have too many – but I figured it was worth mentioning. First off, you have to link your bank account for purchases to be made through. This isn't necessarily a con, but rather something a consumer like you or I might not initially be comfortable doing.
And the most obvious, if you're looking to generate a ton of cards, you will have to pay for their premium plan. I've never run into an issue where I've needed to use more than 12 cards a month, but if you want to completely dedicate a card for each recurring transaction you make, you might have. to upgrade your plan.
Overall, Privacy.com is a great solution for those who want to organize their financial transactions, safely shop online, and protect yourself from unnecessary purchases. With a generous free tier, you should be able to make the use of most of what Privacy has to offer. The fact that Privacy can also be accessed directly from a browser makes it even more convenient.
Overall, a service like Privacy is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take control of their online payment activity and protect their financial information. Their mobile app is extremely easy to use and gives users a lot of control over their spending. I've been using it for 3 years and would personally recommend it to anyone I know who shops a lot or loves to have complete authority over their finances. Happy spending! Used Privacy before? Let us know your thoughts!