Putting a finger on credit card fraud

By Features Consumer Reports

When it comes to new ways to pay with your credit cards, attention right now is focused on Apple Pay, a new digital wallet from Apple that works with the iPhone 6 and 6 plus and will eventually work with the Apple watch. Apple Pay stores your credit, debit, and prepaid card data and uses your fingerprint, instead of passwords, to authenticate your identity when you try to make a purchase at a retailer.

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But Apple isn’t the only company turning to biometrics to improve security and reduce fraud. Plastic credit cards are also getting smarter.

On Oct. 17, MasterCard announced that it had joined forces with Zwipe, a biometric technology company based in Oslo, Norway, to create the first credit card that examines your fingerprint to authenticate charges to the card.
 

Taking security to a new level
 

The idea is to provide you with even greater security against fraud. So when you go to the store with such a card, you won’t need to insert or swipe your card through a card reader, where thieves can steal your credit card data. Instead, there will be an image of your fingerprint stored inside the card.

Traveling abroad? Read about one man's journey to find a credit card that would work.

When you check out at a retailer, you simply hold your credit card with your thumb over a built-in fingerprint sensor and point the card toward the payment terminal. The card authenticates you as the rightful owner, and the card reader, which uses near field communications technology (the same technology used by Apple Pay), puts the charge through to your card's issuing bank.

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Reducing credit card fraud

 

Credit cards are undergoing a rapid transformation and the type of card you use makes a difference, at least in terms of security. If you use cards with magnetic stripes, your data is most a risk because thieves can easily copy the data from your card to make counterfeit cards. If you have a card with chip, your data is more secure because the data is encrypted and retrieving it from the chip is no easy task. The next level up in security is a chip and PIN card, which is already used in many countries. With this kind of a card, not only are you protected by the chip, but you also have to type in a PIN to a card reader in the store before charges will be posted to your account.  
 

Now, digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Softcard offer even greater security. They let you make purchases using your smart phone—but for thieves, accessing your card data is much tougher, if not impossible. Apple Pay, for instance, doesn't even store your credit card information on your phone.

Plastic cards, which require your fingerprint to authorize you as the owner of the card, are another way of making the cards in your wallet more secure. It may be a while, though, before most of us get a card like that. Zwipe and MasterCard plan to release a biometric credit card next year, but only in the U.K. A rollout date in the U.S. has not yet been set. 

Nikhil Hutheesing (@Nikhil212 on Twitter)

When you check out of a retailer, you simply hold your credit card with your thumb over a built-in fingerprint sensor and point the card towards the payment terminal. The card authenticates you as the rightful owner, and the card reader, which uses near field communications (NFC) technology (the same technology used by Apple Pay), puts the charge through to your card.

Reducing credit card fraud

Credit cards are undergoing a rapid transformation. In the U.S., most people still use cards with magnetic stripes. The data there is easily copied to make counterfeit cards. The next step up in security is a chip and signature card, where you personal data are kept on a chip, but you still have to sign. After that, you get to chip and PIN, which is already used in many countries. With this kind of a card, you have added security because it requires a PIN before it will process a charge to your credit card.

Now, as digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet and SoftCard offer even greater security by letting you make purchases using your smart phone, plastic cards are getting smarter as well. It may be awhile, though, before most of us get a card like this. Zwipe and MasterCard plan to release a biometric credit card next year, but only in the U.K. A rollout date in the U.S. has yet to be set.

When you check out of a retailer, you simply hold your credit card with your thumb over a built-in fingerprint sensor and point the card towards the payment terminal. The card authenticates you as the rightful owner, and the card reader, which uses near field communications (NFC) technology (the same technology used by Apple Pay), puts the charge through to your card.

Reducing credit card fraud

Credit cards are undergoing a rapid transformation. In the U.S., most people still use cards with magnetic stripes. The data there is easily copied to make counterfeit cards. The next step up in security is a chip and signature card, where you personal data are kept on a chip, but you still have to sign. After that, you get to chip and PIN, which is already used in many countries. With this kind of a card, you have added security because it requires a PIN before it will process a charge to your credit card.

Now, as digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet and SoftCard offer even greater security by letting you make purchases using your smart phone, plastic cards are getting smarter as well. It may be awhile, though, before most of us get a card like this. Zwipe and MasterCard plan to release a biometric credit card next year, but only in the U.K. A rollout date in the U.S. has yet to be set.

When you check out of a retailer, you simply hold your credit card with your thumb over a built-in fingerprint sensor and point the card towards the payment terminal. The card authenticates you as the rightful owner, and the card reader, which uses near field communications (NFC) technology (the same technology used by Apple Pay), puts the charge through to your card.

Reducing credit card fraud

Credit cards are undergoing a rapid transformation. In the U.S., most people still use cards with magnetic stripes. The data there is easily copied to make counterfeit cards. The next step up in security is a chip and signature card, where you personal data are kept on a chip, but you still have to sign. After that, you get to chip and PIN, which is already used in many countries. With this kind of a card, you have added security because it requires a PIN before it will process a charge to your credit card.

Now, as digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet and SoftCard offer even greater security by letting you make purchases using your smart phone, plastic cards are getting smarter as well. It may be awhile, though, before most of us get a card like this. Zwipe and MasterCard plan to release a biometric credit card next year, but only in the U.K. A rollout date in the U.S. has yet to be set.

When you check out of a retailer, you simply hold your credit card with your thumb over a built-in fingerprint sensor and point the card towards the payment terminal. The card authenticates you as the rightful owner, and the card reader, which uses near field communications (NFC) technology (the same technology used by Apple Pay), puts the charge through to your card.

Reducing credit card fraud

Credit cards are undergoing a rapid transformation. In the U.S., most people still use cards with magnetic stripes. The data there is easily copied to make counterfeit cards. The next step up in security is a chip and signature card, where you personal data are kept on a chip, but you still have to sign. After that, you get to chip and PIN, which is already used in many countries. With this kind of a card, you have added security because it requires a PIN before it will process a charge to your credit card.

Now, as digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet and SoftCard offer even greater security by letting you make purchases using your smart phone, plastic cards are getting smarter as well. It may be awhile, though, before most of us get a card like this. Zwipe and MasterCard plan to release a biometric credit card next year, but only in the U.K. A rollout date in the U.S. has yet to be set.

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