Contactless credit cards to get new security features

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

Contactless credit cards could soon feature an ‘on’ and ‘off’ function to increase their security.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have recently developed a new way of protecting contactless credit cards from virtual pickpocketing. The new method of card security consists of the device turning itself on and off.

Credit cards currently work by activating whenever they are in an electromagnetic field. This leaves the card open to the hands of criminal who could use portable readers to glean sensitive information about the cardholder and their spending.

The latest in innovative design from the university researchers means that the card can effectively be ‘switched off’ whilst in a wallet or purse. It will also only turn on when the consumer holds a certain area of the card. This area then connects to a circuit, allowing transactions to be made.

The cards currently use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC).

Speaking to online news source, Psfk, Marlin Mickle, Professor of Engineering and executive director of the RFID Center for Excellence, said: “Our new design integrates an antenna and other electrical circuitry that can be interrupted by a simple switch, like turning off the lights in the home or office.”

“The RFID or NFC credit card is disabled if left in a pocket or lying on a surface and unreadable by thieves using portable scanners. This solution is simple and very inexpensive to integrate into the RFID and NFC credit card manufacturing process.”

Contactless credit cards

Contactless payment credit cards are becoming a popular method for making everyday purchases. There are a number of contactless credit cards on the market as well as contactless prepaid credit cards. Orange card is a Contactless Prepaid MasterCard, where you earn reward points everytime you use it. The Orange prepaid credit card is simple and easy to use for items which cost £15 or under.

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