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A New Era of Credit Cards

Hundreds and thousands of people in the USA have turned to a new kind of credit card. It can be swiped or activated from a distance, which makes paying even easier; but claims are being made that the new technology will make identity theft much easier.

Adverts in the US promote this technology as the new generation of credit cards. The cards data is instantly delivered to the awaiting system by radio waves.

It’s there to make shopping quicker and easier with no queuing and so signature but does that make it easier for fraudsters to steal your details?

Computer science professors in the United States decided to test the new cards and gauge how safe your data and money is with them. Having bought the radio wave card readers from a well known shop they assembled a number of the new cards and the experiment began. Being close enough with the reader to the card meant that with one signal a name, credit card number and all the other details such as expiry data and the last three CCV digits were in the bag! Over 20 accounts were hacked within seconds of switching on the machine.

What makes matters worse is that they were able to obtain all the data from a card that was nearby, without having to physically see it or steal it. How long would it be before you realised your card had been cloned and ‘you’ were out there shopping?

"A person could take this equipment and put it into a backpack, and go to a crowded area and basically start collecting credit card numbers," said Johns Hopkins Computer Science Professor Avi Rubin.

But credit card companies dispute the findings. AMEX officials have said their cards are protected by the "highest industry level of security," MasterCard says the study doesn't take into account "the full range of security features."

As with anything, think carefully before you decide on what card you choose and beware of the ease of ‘walk-by’ pickpockets.

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