Visa is testing a new type of credit card
that's got additional security measures built in as a means of cutting down on "card not present" (CNP) fraud -- the fraudulent sales rung up using stolen credit-card numbers and the security codes that are normally printed on the cards. Visa's new cards have a small screen on the back that displays a six-digit code when the cardholder enters a PIN on the card's keypad, making it sound like Visa has basically built in a tiny version of something akin to the SecurID
, a popular two-factor authentication device for corporate computer networks. The devices generate an additional one-time password using an algorithm synced with the system on the other end; the user enters this password when they attempt to log on, or in Visa's case, make a CNP transaction. If the passwords match, the transaction goes ahead. It sounds like a good way to cut down on CNP fraud, but is it just a way to try and gloss over the massive data leaks
that see millions of credit-card numbers lost out into the world? It almost seems that if these new anti-fraud cards make it to market, the party line will be "the data leaks don't matter anymore" -- but criminals will still be able to obtain credit-card numbers and make fake cards with the stolen info (for card-present fraud). It might make criminals' lives a little more difficult, but it won't make credit-card fraud impossible. Raising the level of security on credit cards is, without question, a good thing. But unless it involves doing more
to stop massive data leaks, it's not enough.