Have chip and pin cards had their day?

By Dyenamic Solitions - Last updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The search for a fraudproof credit card system means that the days of chip and pin cards- which we were told were fraudproof- may be nearing their sunset.Have chip and pin cards had their day?The solution may be your in finger- as the pattern of veins inside your finger is said to be more distinctive than your fingerprint, and is being heralded by some experts as a more secure alternative to the chip and pin (Personal Identification Number) card system currently favoured by British banks.

Electronics giant Hitachi already manufactures a PC-compatible finger vein scanner, which is about the size of a computer mouse and contains LED lights and a video camera- although currently retailing online for £195 plus VAT each, they are not a cheap option.

According to the UK Cards Association, fraud losses on cards in the UK alone totalled £185m in the first six months of last year.

“Wherever you’ve got an interface between money and the customer you’ve got an opportunity that criminals can exploit,” said DCI Dave Carter at the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) of the Metropolitan Police.

By installing a small digital camera above a cash machine criminals can literally watch people keying in their pin codes to access their accounts. They then trap the accompanying cards in the machine, sometimes using metal loops or false sleeves – to recover afterwards.

“The best tip I can ever give anybody is cover your pin,” said DCI Carter. “It prevents so much fraud.”

In itself, chip and pin technology is not that bad- however it has not been adopted worldwide, which means that several options have to be covered by the one card.

American cash machines still read data from a magnetic strip on the back of cash cards, so UK cards also have to contain this strip so that they can be used abroad.

Thus criminals in the US target cash machines – they can skim the data contained on that magnetic strip just by using a cheap MP3 player – although more complex software is then required to decode it.

A cloned card can then be made fairly easily without the owner even realising the data has been taken.

Thus one universal card payment system may be required- and it may have to be over engineered to satisfy the lowest common demoninator criminal element.

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