| January 11, 2012

High-tech credit card adds additional layers of fraud protection

Having a credit card lost or stolen can be a consumer’s worst nightmare, but a new company recently unveiled a new product designed to help mitigate the risk cardholders face in these instances.

A new prototype credit card introduced by payment technology firm Dynamics Inc. at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will add significant fraud protection to insulate consumers from bogus credit card debt, according to a report from the tech news blog Ars Technica. The card looks, feels and can even be used like a normal credit card – it fits in a wallet, has some flexibility to it and uses a magnetic strip the same way traditional cards do. But the difference is that the card features a small screen on the front on which six digits of the user’s card number are randomized.

Whenever a consumer is making a transaction, the card will prompt them to enter a code on its embedded five-button interface, and will randomly generate those six digits of its number, intended for one-time use, and then wipe them away again just as quickly, the report said. Perhaps the most impressive part is that when the card is not being used, the card essentially becomes blank. The six-digit screen is left blank and the magnetic strip on the back stores no information.

Essentially, this means that even if a card is lost or stolen, it is useless to someone who would use it for fraudulent purposes, the report said. The would-be criminal would need to know the user’s unique unlocking code to make the card in any way useful. And generating the unique code would also be beneficial in protecting online purchases in which the entering of sensitive payment information is necessary, as even if the data is intercepted, it cannot be used again.

Currently, Citibank is testing out these new cards on a very limited basis and Dynamics is hopeful that other banks will adopt the technology as well, the report said.

Credit card fraud is a crime that is popular among criminals and growing quickly. As a consequence, consumers should keep close tabs on their monthly statements to ensure there are no suspicious charges on their accounts, and contact their lender immediately if any appear.

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