Credit Card Fraud
We all are moving further and further away from paying for merchandise and services with paper currency. And with the technology that allows us to do so, comes a certain amount of risk. The newest technologies are being developed to make financial transactions more efficient and more secure.
SWIPE STRIP CARDS
On your credit cards, the swipe strip remains the most vulnerable to theft. The card readers that criminals can place on ATM machines or your local gas station's pumps make it possible to steal your card's information. With that, they can buy merchandise by phone or the internet. They can also replicate your card by embedding your information onto a blank card.
The chip card was developed long ago and has been used in Europe for decades. That technology is becoming routine in the USA but as merchants have been slow in upgrading their readers, most of our cards still have the swipe strip still embedded even in our newest cards. These strips will be eliminated in time.
Apple Pay Explained
Android Pay Explained
CONTACTLESS CREDIT CARDS - RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID)
The RFID technology that expedites convenient purchases also makes it possible for a thief to steal your credit card information and make a purchase using your account.
RFID tags can be scanned by powered RFID readers at distances of up to 100 meters. And credit cards aren’t their only use. If you wear a work badge equipped with RFID, that personal information can be snagged as well. Your dog has one in his neck's microchip. You get into your building's security gate with one. It's in your racing bib at the annual fun run and toll passes on the expressway - you get the idea.
Does your card have an RFID chip? If it does, this symbol will appear on the front of the card.
You can protect the identity of this card by shielding it when not in use. Aluminum foil works well - or for a less messy alternative, there are RFID card holder blocker sleeves for sale on the internet that serve the same purpose.
While not a credit card issue, this brings us to another current way to pay - your smartphone. Safe - but not yet universally accepted by banks or merchants.
CONTACTLESS PAYMENT - NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION (NFC)
Apple Pay and Google Wallet utilize contactless payments using NFC technology. This technology is safer than RFID as the range of the phone's payment signal is less than an inch rather than the 100 meters of the RFID device!
Besides the limited range of communication, Apple Pay and Android Pay have additional security measures to keep your information safe. Neither of them exchanges your credit card numbers with the merchant. Instead, your card's information is saved to an encrypted virtual account and a transaction-specific security code is used to process your payment. And on top of that, accessing mobile payments on Apple or Android requires a PIN or Touch Id.