How to Disable Online Transactions on your Debit Card

You encountered a new website, you like their product or service, but you are not sure if “trust” them with your bank card details. I understand that being a victim of fraud, not only can put in financial hardship but can also damage your confidence online.

Digital banks such as Revolut allow you to turn on and off the ability to pay online for transactions with a simple tap. This gives you the confidence that your card is not being used online without your knowledge. In addition  you can create disposable virtual cards that refresh after each purchase and the merchant will not hold any of your details.

According to UK Finance  research there has been a significant amount of unauthorised fraudulent transactions via e-commerce platforms, this amounts to £393.4 mil for 2018 an increase of 27% compared to the year before.

Why should you disable online transactions ?

Let me be clear, the main advice out there is to use your main debit card or credit card and in case something goes wrong then you can rely on the payment protection schema, while it is good to know that there is a safety net, I prefer to prevent rather than cure the problem.

Separation of concerns

I highly recommend to have at least two account, one where you run your finances and have all of your direct debits and standing orders, and another that you use for online purchase. The trick is to never share the details of your “main” debit card online.

Any website that you have ever used before to pay online potentially still have your card information in their database, now majority of the companies out there would take good care of your details. The truth is that just one data leak and your credit card details are on the dark web.

Companies such as Playstation, Target and Equifax have all been victims of hackers. If you become a victim of a data breach the best outcome is just that the bank finds out in time and sends you a new card.

Create a new account with one of the digital banks they have more advanced features compared to traditional banks, these are the ones I use for different purposes:

  • Revolut
  • Monzo
  • Starling

Pay as you go

Best way to reduce your risk online is to have a prepaid card. This card needs to be topped up with just enough to make the online transaction and just before you ever need to pay.

I have been using Revolut for more than 5 years and never had an issue with it, it gives you many benefits but in this article I’ll be focus on the online security aspect.

You can add money to Revolut by bank transfer (account number and sort code) or you can top up with your debit card or Apple Pay.


How can you disable online transactions with Revolut ?


revolut settings

  • Step 1: Create a Revolut account

First step is to sign up to you can get started with your phone number. You will receive a text with the download link for the app right on your phone.

Once you have setup an account you will have your digital card on the app and a physical card in the post for free. You can use this online immediately, the card number and expiry date and CVV are right in the app.

  • Step 2: Top up your account.

With your debit card or your Apple Pay you can top up your Revolut account. I recommend to add as you little as you can just enough to do your online purchase. The amount is topped up immediately and ready to use, should just take a couple of seconds.

  • Step 3: Turn on/off online payments

From your home page navigate to Cards –> Pick your physical card that you want to disable –> Scroll down to Pin & Security –> Disable Online Transactions.

This has immediate effect and if someone tries to use your card online while you have disabled it you will receive a notification on your phone.

Revolut online transactions

Which other banks provide this service ?

This table is up to date with information from August 2020, please check with the specific bank for more recent information.

NameAble to disable online transactionsTested by me
Lloyds BankYes
Starling BankYes

What can I do if I have already shared my debit card information?

This is the most common scenario that most of us found yourselves into. In my opinion it is a numbers game, it really depends on how many different online websites you have used to purchase from and how well they persevered your data. If your card is close to expiring then I would just wait for that to happen.

On the other hand if you are seriously concerned and think your information has been compromised then contact your bank immediately, they can put a freeze on your account and send you a new card.


Virtual cards

Disposable virtual card

A virtual card allows you to make payments online without having to worry about having a physical around that you might lose. You can also pay in stores with it by adding it to Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Revolut will assign you a virtual 16 digit card number and expiry and CVV, if you need to accept bank transfers you can with an account number and sort code.


  • You will not be able to pay in stores with a chip & pin device apart from using the digital wallets.
  • Can’t withdraw cash from ATMs
  • Your virtual card is linked to your account in the same way your physical card is.

Disposable virtual cards

The disposable virtual cards is another step-up for digital security, it works in the same way as a virtual card but give extra functionality.

You can generate a new unique card number each time you make a transaction that means that your card details cannot be store by the merchant, or if they are stored they would have changed anyway, this will keep your account very secure.

They are easy to setup from the Revolut app and immediately available to use, you haven’t got an excuse to stay safe online!


Other quick tips to stay safe online

I would also like to point out a few other things you can do to stay safe online.

Look at the URL (the website address below):

url ssl lock

It is important to look for two things:

The padlock before the address name means that the communication is secure by using the https internet protocol.

The name matches the address you expect:

URLDescription address website


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To the next post and keep it digital!





Gio loves rabbits, smart home tech, WWII, travelling to Thailand & my favourite pizza is margherita with parma ham!

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