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interactive credit card – too revealing for comfort

12 November 2012

Mastercard’s launch of a new interactive “DisplayCard” with LCD screen and touch sensitive buttons allows users to generate a one-time password, simplifying the authentication process for on-line purchases and streamlining the customer purchasing experience without any apparent compromise of data security.

Mastercard claims that the DisplayCard could allow card users to check their balances, reward points and recent transactions any time, any place, any where. Clearly good news for customers fearing the embarrassment of card declines and also for retailers as customers know their available spend at the time of viewing goods on-line and in-store.

What is not clear is how such sensitive data can be made available without presenting huge data security issues. If data is “pushed” to users then a concern must be its interception over unsecured WiFi network, whereas if data is “pulled” to cards by users then additional processes will be needed.

Technology provides us with many opportunities to innovate but left unchecked we risk sacrificing security for convenience.

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