Apple’s Version of Virtual Cards Could Be Coming in iOS 16

Apple’s Version of Virtual Cards Could Be Coming in iOS 16
iOS 16 could have virtual cards available through mobile Safari, bypassing the need to launch Apple Pay. (Photo: Victoria Song / Gizmodo)

Just as Google announced it would be adopting virtual cards for shopping through Chrome, Apple is likely also implementing virtual cards in its Safari browser. The news comes from 9to5Mac, which is currently digging through the iOS 16 beta 3, released yesterday afternoon for developers. According to code the site has seen, Apple has apparently been working to implement virtual cards within Safari to keep your online shopping ventures secure across the board.

Virtual cards are offered by some banks as an option while shopping online so that your actual card and account information isn’t what’s making the rounds when data breaches occur. It also makes it easier for banks and other institutions to cancel a card on a whim. And it’s a more straightforward mechanism for providing one-time use cards.

While Apple Pay does use tokenization for transactions done through the app, those who don’t have access to or haven’t set it up will supposedly be able to use this virtual card method through Safari instead. Safari’s AutoFill will, according to 9to5Mac, comply with virtual cards by hiding your card number as you shop, even if it’s already stored in the chain.

9to5Mac notes that since the feature is technically still in beta, it’s unclear whether it will only work with certain banks and cards. On its part, Google’s virtual card ability within Chrome will go live later this summer with support for Visa, American Express, and Capital One cards. Mastercard support is also slated to arrive later in the year. It’s not far off to imagine Apple will have similar partnerships when iOS 16 goes live.

While several companies already offer this kind of virtual transaction protection, including Stripe, some people might not want to go through a third party for the ability.

Apple’s iOS 16 beta is only available for developers, though a public beta is due sometime this month.