Tele2 Russia, the subsidiary of Swedish telco Tele2, has issued a virtual international payment card for online shopping in partnership with MasterCard.

Connected to a Tele2 subscriber’s mobile account, the new payment instrument, named “Tele2 MasterCard virtual card,” lets online shoppers spend up to 15,000 rubles (a little less than $500) to pay for goods and services online. To deposit funds onto the virtual card, the user simply has to refill his or her mobile account.

The new virtual card is intended for subscribers who have no bank account and for those who have one but avoid shopping online for security reasons.

Through a smartphone application, card holders may check card history and balance, manage personal settings, and request a CVC2 (a three-digit number used for the card verification). The application is already available to OC Android users and will soon appear in the App Store.

To ensure safety, the CVC2 number is sent via SMS to the user. It is valid for one purchase during one hour. The card is blocked after three purchase attempts with an incorrect code.

The card’s number is easy to remember as it includes the user’s mobile phone number. The card’s balance is available using a short number, *104#. Card holders are informed of payment operations via SMS.

“Tele2 is actively developing the mobile commerce segment. We aim to create a universal payment instrument based on the subscriber’s mobile account. Cooperation with MasterCard’s international payment system became an important step on this way,” Roman Volodin, Tele2 Russia Chief Commercial Officer, said in a statement.

“The issue of a virtual card is our first joint project with the Tele2 team. I hope that the virtual prepaid card will become just as commonly a used instrument as traditional mobile services. The new card offers a wide range of opportunities: it may be used to pay mobile, Internet, and housing services as well as online purchases, ticket and hotel booking, and many others,” said Dmitriy Tartyshev, Vice President at MasterCard in Russia.

Tele2 MasterCard virtual card is available to all Tele2 subscribers that use its prepayment system. The service is not provided to business tariff users. The card is valid for 6 months.

Tele2 is not the first Russian mobile operator to offer a virtual payment card. In November 2012, service provider MobiDengi, which has enabled Tele2’s partnership with MasterCard, launched similar products with leading operators Beeline (VimpelCom), Megafon and MTS.

Megafon introduced its very first virtual card with MasterCard even earlier, back in December 2011.

MasterCard also offers virtual payment cards to the users of the leading Russian e-currency Yandex Money, while Qiwi partners with Visa.

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This story originally appeared on EWDN. Copyright 2013