Virtual Card Numbers: Checkout Made Easier

How Capital One's intelligent assistant Eno is changing the way people shop online


Whether you're picking out your Spring wardrobe at your desk during lunch, ordering groceries for the family before your next meeting, or scouring sales in bed before turning out the light, shopping couldn't be easier these days-or could it?

The truth is, online shopping isn't all roses. You've finally found that perfect floral dress for Spring, but your size is only available on a website that you're just not sure about. You hesitate checking out because you don't know exactly where your credit card information is going. That's where virtual numbers from Eno come in - now you can shop online without using your real credit card number.

Virtual numbers are unique, merchant-specific numbers served up by Eno that allow you to shop online without giving your actual card number during checkout, in a way that is fully integrated with your existing Capital One account. Which basically means an easier, safer, and more convenient way to shop than the current method of entering your card number each time you want to buy.

Eno, the intelligent assistant from Capital One, has always helped you stay on top of your money via text. And now, Eno is looking out for you and your money whenever you're shopping online.

"At the moment of checkout, Eno is able to pop up and say, 'Hey, there's a better way to check out, it's called virtual numbers," says Tom Poole, SVP of Digital Payments and Identity at Capital One. "Obviously if you've done it before it will say, 'remember you don't need to use your actual card number, just use a virtual number!'"

Eno also enters your credit card information for you, although you still have to fill in your shipping and billing information, as Poole's development team saw that many people use the browser autofill for that. But what the autofill doesn't make possible is getting a virtual card number, which is where Eno comes in.

After Eno creates a virtual number for you, Eno will also automatically save all those specific card numbers for ongoing and future purchase, organizing them in a control panel where you can view and manage your entire virtual number portfolio - making it as simple and clear as possible to understand where numbers are used and stored online.

Not only do you have an assistant keeping track of all those numbers for you, you can easily turn them off at will. If a retailer is compromised, just lock or delete the virtual number associated with that merchant-without affecting your other spending.

"We've found that the ability to turn them off is huge for people," Poole says. "Having the confidence to know you only pay for products and services you actively want gives our customers real peace of mind."

One of the biggest challenges in bringing virtual card numbers to life was making them seamless on the merchant end. E-commerce sites generally have sensitive triggers that will cancel transactions that seem like they don't come from a real physical credit card. Poole and his team had to make absolutely sure that virtual card numbers worked the same as actual credit card numbers, at least as far as the merchant could tell.

"It's really challenging for the retailer to change their systems to accommodate an entirely different format. We knew that if this is would get widespread adoption, the consumer had to be able to use it just like a normal number. This means Virtual Numbers from Eno is unlike any other ecommerce solution: it works everywhere."

Online shopping has always seemed pretty convenient, but now virtual numbers—with a little help from Eno-are making it even more so. With fewer security risks, more convenience and an easy, centralized location to monitor each and every website that has your information, online shoppers rejoice-the Internet just got a whole lot easier.


This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances. Capital One does not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.