We could be forgiven for thinking that credit cards were forgotten by the technological revolution sweeping the world of computers and gadgetry. All that is set to change as innovations come rushing in like a tidal wave that will change the face of plastic in 2013.
Preventing anyone from stealing your identity
Identity theft which is the fraudulent use of a customer’s personal information for conducting unauthorized transactions has cost over $50 billion in losses to consumers in America, and the figures are climbing. The normal credit card has a magnetic strip and an embedded pin code that is usually a three of four digit number that is swiped in a card reader at a retail outlet. If a person were to obtain the pin code he could practically use up the card limit in any number of ways. MasterCard has introduced an LCD screen and a number keypad just like the face of a calculator. Users need to key in a unique four digit code for each separate purchase transaction. This technique obviates the need for embedding a permanent pin code in the card and prevents ID theft at one stroke.
Another potential us of this technology is to pass on small messages to the user like payment reminders and enabling the user to access information like reward points.
Innovations in the magnetic card strip technology
2013 will see the emergence of a new generation of magnetic card strips. After each transaction is completed the card readers can rewrite or reprogram the strip and it can reflect the latest position of your reward points. This will automatically invalidate duplication of magnetic strips. Another innovation is entering your own activation code for the LCD screen to display your number. If a person enters the wrong code in a stolen card he would get an error screen and no further transaction would be possible.
Wining battles and not losing the war to hackers
Identity thieves and technology geeks are doing battle each day and it happens to be a long drawn out war. As newer technology hits the mainstream, hackers keep discovering new ways to hack into the cards and crack the code. Even as this cat and mouse game plays itself out the best precaution may often be the lowest technology solution which is to periodically check your balances online every now and then. The best precautions are:
- Checking balances at least once a month or weekly if that suits you.
- Never e mail card particulars or sensitive passwords.
- Shop online only on secured websites with URLs marked https.
- Keeping receipts carefully filed.
- Notifying changes in your account or transactions that appear suspicious for which you have no matching receipts.
- Reporting stolen cards immediately and obtaining replacements quickly.
A note of caution
No matter how sophisticated cards become we should not rely 100% on their assured levels of protection. Nothing substitutes manual checking and eternal vigilance so that our sensitive personal information is not disclosed to the public or manipulated by hackers.
The introduction of new technology only boosts the outward security of the card usage and protects each transaction but you have to protect yourself from the demon of overspending, and no technology can curb that inborn tendency in every man.
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