Is your credit card at risk?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The wave chips enable payment without entering a PIN, but some security experts worry about the potential for hackers to take advantage of the technology.

It’s called a RFID or Radio Wave Frequency ID chip and works with radio frequencies. It is embedded into the cards and allows transactions to be completed just by tapping on a terminal. Customers are given a way to pay for purchases without entering a PIN number or signing a receipt. It’s convenient, but according to some security experts, it can be a target for electronic pickpockets as well.

Some old cards may not have it now, but once they expire, the new ones will be embedded with a chip. And there’ve appeared some concerns about the technology already. Some security experts are sure that it is not secure.

Experts believe that radio frequencies make it easier for hackers to access your information remotely. Everything they need is an hour or two of effort to download the application that can read full credit card information and use it whenever they want. Using the application hackers will be able to read the name, expiry date and credit card number just by holding the phone near customers’ wallets.

Today many consumers don’t even know they have a credit card with the chip. And experts say banks should offer consumers the choice about whether they want the chip in their cards or not.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express all offer versions of the technology and say the chip is designed so a hacker could only use the information for a single transaction, which is capped at low dollar amounts.

The companies also say that cardholders are protected under a zero-liability policy, which reimburses them for any unauthorized purchases.

But still, some experts say there are ways around such as sending the stolen information to multiple cell phones. They are sure that attackers can figure out the ways to bypass the security measures.

But there still are simple ways to protect the cards. There are retailers that sell wallets and sleeves lined with foil or steel making the chips unreadable.

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