New Credit Card Technology Could Help Eradicate Fraud, But Will Consumers Embrace It?

Oct 12, 2016

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Pop quiz: Can you rattle off the number of your favorite credit card? Extra credit: What about the customer identification number on the back of the same card? That second three- or four-digit code has been known to trip up even the greatest credit card connoisseurs on occasion, but that’s sort of the point, as it’s a main line of defense in fraud prevention. To make things even trickier, French company Oberthur Technologies, a leading provider of embedded digital security products, has developed a new type of credit card where the answer to the dreaded “And what’s the security code on the back of your card?” question will change every hour.

Known as Motion Code, the new digital credit card design replaces the printed security code with a tiny, lithium battery-powered screen that generates a new code every hour, making it more difficult for scammers to collect your credit card data. Société Générale and Groupe BPCE, two of France’s biggest banks, have already embraced the added layer of security — in September, both began a rollout of the new design following a successful pilot program in 2015.

Banks in Poland and Mexico are also in the midst of their own pilot programs right now, and the BBC reports that a number of UK-based banks are currently considering making the switch. But will this state-of-the-art technology ever make it into the hands of American consumers?

While Oberthur Technologies’ data shows that 80 percent of consumers are interested in some sort of dynamic security code protection, there would be some definite hurdles to overcome before Motion Code could be the standard for American plastic-flashers — not the least of which is the cost involved with outfitting retailers with the technology required to properly process Motion Code cards — especially so soon after retailers have had to install chip-enabled credit card readers, which created a bit of backlash to begin with.

Convenience, too, will be impacted, as customers will need to look at their cards each time they want to use them (in other words, so long, one-click purchases). While Americans have been slow to embrace the concept of a digital wallet, industry insiders are predicting that this will soon change — which could greatly reduce the number of physical card-carrying consumers overall. As with all new ideas, only time will tell.


Featured image courtesy of Oberthur Technologies.

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