After several months of offering a virtual debit card to its developer users, Paypal has finally bit the bullet and announced plans to roll out the service to the great unwashed (i.e. you and me) later this year.
The system is actually a rework of an old MasterCard virtual debit card scheme that Paypal offered its US users a few years back.
That system, which was popular amongst early users of Paypal, died a natural death because it didn't generate the three digit security signature strip code (the CVV) which most mail order merchants now require.
The new Paypal v-debit card system will generate CVVs and, as with the old program, the numbers will be one-time only, allowing you to use the `card' on a virtual basis once for each transaction.
Details of the new Paypal card are scarce, but I understand the software, which was developed Dublin-based Orbiscom, is being trialled in house by Paypal staff and a few selected developers.
To use the system, Paypal users download a plug-in for Internet Explorer which, when triggered, generates a pre-populated form for payment which includes the single-use MasterCard number, expiry date and CVV number.
Sounds like a hacker's paradise - auto-trigger someone's browser and you get MasterCard access to their Paypal balance. Duh...