Dynamics Inc., a company focused on next generation card technology, thinks its new credit card will head cybercriminals off at the passcode.
According to Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica, the secret of the company’s “Hidden Card” is an innovative magnetic strip that can be programmed in real time, and then – to the frustration of data breachers – wiped clean just as quickly.
The card is a mini-computer with a blank LCD screen. The cardholder taps in a passcode on five raised buttons and the screen lights up with a unique credit card transaction number that is encoded into the magnetic stripe on the back. Once the transaction is complete, the number on the face of the credit card vanishes and the magnetic stripe reverts to its blank state.
Stolen cards are dead cards
“Dynamics has the technology where it can essentially eradicate credit card fraud,” Jeff Mullen, the company’s founder and CEO, told CBS News. “If you lose the card, or the card’s stolen, it’s a dead piece of plastic.”
That may solve part of the problem, but criminals these days are more into looting the information on cards from merchant readers by installing devices.
According to the CBS report, Avivah Litan, a fraud detection and prevention specialist for Gartner Research said it’s a “pretty common way to have your card data stolen – with skimming machines that are on top of point-of-sale readers, and they’re very hard to detect.”
Bendable and dunkable
Despite all the technology packed into this little piece of plastic, Mullen says the card can be jammed into a pocket or purse or even sent through a washing machine and work just fine. Batteries in the card will last four years.
Another big advantage is that other fraud-prevention technologies such as PIN and chip systems require upgrading the 15 million readers in the U.S., but with Dynamic’s technology, there is no need to spend those billions.
Currently Citicard is testing the card in several markets, and Dynamics plans to roll out the new card this summer for free. The hurdle in Litan’s mind is whether consumers used to “swipe and go” will like the hassle of entering a passcode.
“It’s not as convenient as what we have today but I think consumers are at a point where they want to do something extra if they know they’re going to get security in return,” she said.