News: MasterCard Display Card

Mastercard display cardI know this announcement originally came from a MasterCard press release in November 2012, but given the recent hack of ATM’s in New York and further credit card fraud, perhaps this ‘future of credit cards’ will be brought forward.

The problem with the current generation of credit cards are not well protected. Most of the time, you can get away with just the credit card number, the expiration date and the security code, all of which are shown on the card itself.

MasterCard, is moving on to additional verification to add a two-factor authentication to the card. The slightly clunky Mastercard Securecode demands  online purchasers use an extra partial pass phrase on sites that support SecureCode. Verified with Visa works in a similar way, as the merchants have to integrate the feature on their sites.

Now MasterCard Display Card harkens back to an old remote network login authentication that we used to use to access corporate networks in the 80’s and 90’s. Adopting the one-time session authentication token, MasterCard  plans to add an LCD display and numeric keypad to their credit card.

This advanced card MasterCard allows holders to generate one-time authentication codes for online banking and purchases. It is planned to add a further option to display the account status or the transaction history.

This is a cunning development for the credit card – the standard credit card functionality remains unchanged, with the additional benefit that the holder does not need an additional device to create secure codes for online banking or transactions – but it does need a version of Mastercard Securecode integrated with the merchants.

Given that not all merchants have implemented Securecode, there remains a big ‘security lag’ to be plugged  so that there is still a loophole to make payments without the code.

This won’t eliminate credit card theft entirely, but it may reduce the credit card black market as the physical card itself will be needed to make purchases. AJS

Related: How-to: Avoid Common Security Mistakes On-line Part2

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