Understanding Digital Credit Cards and Their Alternatives

Written by
Ekky Pramana
Last Modified on
March 7, 2024

Digital credit cards are a financial product that is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the rapid development of the digital world. Digital credit cards are the next-in-line innovation of physical credit card products. While physical credit cards were introduced to facilitate easy and efficient transactions for individuals and businesses, there was also a market need for more flexible and secure payment methods, especially in the context of online payments.

A digital credit card is a credit card that does not have a physical form, but has only a card number, expiration date, and CVV code that can be used for online transactions. Digital credit cards have several advantages, such as ease of application, security, and flexibility. However, digital credit cards also have some disadvantages, such as annual fees, interest, and fraud risks. Therefore, before you decide to use a digital credit card, it is a good idea to understand what a digital credit card is and its alternatives.

What is a digital credit card?

A digital credit card is a credit card issued by a bank or other financial institution without the need to provide a physical card to the customer. Digital credit cards are not directly tied to the customer’s or user’s funds, but are provided by the bank or service provider according to the set limit. Just like a physical credit card, a digital credit card can be used for various types of online transactions, such as shopping, paying bills, subscribing to streaming services, and others but without the capability to do retail or offline transactions with an EDC machine.

Advantages of digital credit cards

Some of the advantages offered by digital credit cards include:

Ease of application

Unlike physical credit cards which generally take a long time in the licensing and issuance process, digital cards can generally be issued instantly through the service provider’s application or website. Its non-physical form also allows businesses to issue digital cards in large numbers, making it easier for businesses to equip teams with credit cards - for example, marketing teams to pay for digital ads on Facebook Ads, or product teams to subscribe to SaaS products.


As a non-physical card, digital credit cards reduce the risk of physical loss or theft, thus providing a higher level of security. Transaction limit setting features and transaction types allow cardholders to control their spending, preventing unauthorized use.

Advanced security systems are also implemented to protect customer funds, with suspicious transaction detection and real-time notifications to admin users for preventive action. This comprehensive security creates a safe and trustworthy transaction environment for credit card holders.

For example, Aspire’s digital card has extra security features such as enforceable limit and transaction type per card and real-time notifications to prevent fraudulent transactions carried out by internal parties.


Digital credit cards offer significant advantages in terms of funding flexibility, giving individuals and businesses the ability to transact without having to spend their own funds upfront. With a digital credit card, users can use their funds more efficiently, and access additional financial resources when needed, without having to delay transactions or payment needs. This advantage helps create a more convenient shopping experience while providing room for more flexible financial management.

Disadvantages of digital credit cards

Although they have many advantages, digital credit cards also have some drawbacks that you need to pay attention to, namely:

Annual fee

Some digital credit card issuers charge an annual fee to their customers as a condition for using their service. This annual fee usually ranges from Rp 50,000 to Rp 300,000 per year. However, it should be noted that not all service providers charge an annual fee as a form of promotion for their customers.


As with conventional credit cards, digital credit cards also charge interest to customers who do not pay their bills in full at the end of the billing period. This interest usually ranges from 2% to 3% per month.

Risk of fraud

Although safer than physical credit cards, digital credit cards still have the potential to be targeted by fraud by irresponsible parties. Some common modes of fraud are phishing, skimming, and malware.

Alternatives to digital credit cards

Let’s explore the various alternatives available out there that can be a smart choice besides digital credit cards. From QRIS that provides convenience in payment with QR code technology, to paylater or non-bank credit services that offer payment flexibility without involving traditional banks, various options can be tailored to the financial needs and lifestyle of each individual. Let’s examine these alternatives closely.

Digital debit card

Digital debit cards emerged as an attractive and practical alternative to digital credit cards. Unlike credit cards that are based on credits, debit cards directly connect to the user’s bank account, allowing users to transact only using the funds they have.

The main advantage of digital debit cards is tighter spending control, because transactions are limited to the balance in the account. In addition, because it does not involve loans, users do not have to worry about interest or debt. Digital debit cards also often offer advanced security features, making them a safe and convenient choice for daily transactions without having to worry about monthly bills or interest.

Aspire, a leading fintech company in Southeast Asia, is one of the providers of modern digital debit cards as an alternative business payment from digital credit cards. Aspire’s digital card offers all the benefits of a modern virtual debit card, including a feature that allows companies to issue digital cards in large numbers instantly with different limits for different transaction needs, thus reducing the risk of overspending.

The real-time monitoring feature on the Aspire app allows businesses to monitor all transactions that occur on each debit card used by employees, reducing the risk of fraud and suspicious transactions. This feature gives management tight control over all employee spending activities, which will have a positive impact on the company’s cash flow.

Not only presenting modern features, Aspire’s debit card also offers other attractive benefits, one of which is unlimited cashback that applies to transactions at various leading merchants such as Google Workspace, AWS, Adobe, Figma, Slack, and others. The various features and benefits offered by Aspire’s virtual debit card make it the best solution for businesses that need advanced payment tools to simplify daily business operations and financial activities.

Digital Wallet or E-wallet

Digital wallet or e-wallet has emerged as an innovative and efficient alternative to digital credit cards. E-wallet allows users to securely store their payment information in a mobile application. The main advantages of e-wallets include the ability to make transactions without the need to carry a physical card, access to real-time payment history, and the use of security features such as two-factor authentication. In addition, e-wallets often offer cashback programs, discounts, or other rewards, providing added value to users in various daily transactions. With its ease of use and various benefits offered, e-wallets have become a popular choice as a practical and modern payment tool.


QRIS (Quick Response Code Indonesian Standard) allows users to make payment transactions simply by scanning a QR code using their smartphone, without the need to carry a physical card or manually input data.

The main advantage of QRIS is its ease of use and high accessibility. Users can quickly make payments at various places, ranging from retail stores to street vendors, just by using their mobile phones. In addition, QRIS is considered a safe solution, as each transaction requires user confirmation through their payment application. With its increasing adoption, QRIS is an attractive choice as a modern and efficient payment method.


Paylater or non-bank credit services have become an attractive alternative to digital credit cards. With paylater, users can make purchases without having to pay directly, and payments can be paid in installments with a certain amount of interest and fees agreed upon at the beginning. The main advantage of paylater is the convenience and ease of obtaining credit, without the need to involve banks or complicated application processes. Users simply use the paylater application to make payments or shop online, and the amount spent can be paid in several installments according to the terms that have been set.

Although similar to credit cards in terms of payment flexibility, paylater is often more accessible to individuals who do not yet have a credit card or have limited access to traditional banking services. With its ease of use and speed of process, paylater is an attractive option for those looking for a simple and practical alternative in financial management.


A digital credit card is a credit card that does not have a physical form, but is only a card number, expiration date, and CVV code that can be used for online transactions. Digital credit cards have several advantages, such as ease of application, security, and flexibility. However, digital credit cards also have some disadvantages, such as annual fees, interest, and fraud risks. Therefore, before you decide to use a digital credit card, it is a good idea to understand what a digital credit card is and its alternatives. You can choose a debit card, digital wallet, or other alternative payment methods to meet your transaction needs in today’s digital era.

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About the author
Ekky Pramana
is a seasoned writer specialising in business finance and management. With a writing history at Tech in Asia, Teknoverso, and various other publishers, he leverages his market expertise to empower and educate first-time founders in managing their businesses better.
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