If you've ever been nervous about using your credit card to order the latest bestseller online or buy roses for a loved one over the phone, an Irish bank thinks it has solved the problem.
Permanent tsb said on Tuesday it will launch the world's first pre-paid, disposable credit voucher, opening up Internet and telephone shopping to those previously put off by the security implications of handing over their credit card details.
In the same way that owners of pre-paid mobile phones top up their credit at shops, registered users of the new service will be able to buy vouchers for between 20 and 350 euros at retail outlets.
Each voucher will carry its own unique number which can then be used to shop online, by phone or by mail with any retailer who accepts cards issued by Visa.
The scheme, which is the brainchild of Ireland's 3V Transactions Services Ltd, also aims to attract those who do not hold traditional credit cards.
"This new voucher will enable both sets of people to avail of all the benefits of shopping online or on the telephone in a controlled, prepaid way and without any security issues," said Niall O'Grady, head of marketing at permanent tsb bank.
Alphyra -- an Irish-based processor of mobile phone payments and the parent company of 3V Transactions Ltd -- said the consortium planned to roll out the facility nationwide in the coming weeks before targeting other European countries.
"Within the next 12-18 months we plan to launch the product in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Romania, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic," said Seamus Minogue, head of financial services at Alphyra.
Permanent tsb, the retail banking arm of Irish Life & Permanent, expects the idea to prove popular in Ireland, where 67 percent of adults do not have a credit card and those who do incur an annual government levy of 40 euros.