Options for activating a Visa credit card include calling the number on the sticker attached to the card, activating it online or activating it through an automated teller machine, according to CreditCards.com. Banks require activation to prevent fraud. However, some card issuers allow the cardholder to make a few small purchases before they activate the card.
Cardholders who choose to activate their card by phone are sometimes the subject of sales pitches during the activation, which they can avoid by activating in other ways, advises CreditCards.com. When a cardholder activates the card over the phone, the institution often compares the number to that on the application for security verification. The agent also sometimes asks questions to verify the caller’s identity.
Verifying a Visa card online requires logging into the account. The act of entering the password provides the verification the issuer uses for fraud prevention, indicates Bank of America. For customers who already use online banking, this is often the fastest way to activate the card.
Some banks, including U.S. Bank, activate the card when the holder makes a deposit or withdrawal using the Visa card at one of its own ATMs. The customer’s personal identification number provides the verification of the user. The bank mails the card and PIN in separate envelopes for a Visa debit card, according to U.S. Bank.