Consumer Alert: Secure credit cards

NATIONAL - Americans concerned with identity theft and internet fraud could have another layer of security added to future credit, debit and ATM cards.

Instead of using the three or four digit security code found on most cards, a California company has created a one-time pin code display that changes every time you use your card or account.

Consumers could soon be armed with new technology that will make it harder for thieves to steal credit and debit card numbers.

The CEO of Incard Technologies, John Ward, says, "It changes every time you squeeze that card."

Incard Technologies created the plastic card that looks like any other, but inside has the power to receive a one-time passcode generated by a bank or issuer's computer server.

Ward explains: "You have a lithium battery, you have circuits, you have a chip you have a piece of film that records the number, you have on the back a button which acts as a pump which acts as a jolt to the film that records the number."

A unique and changing six or eight digit-number only the cardholder can input along with their traditional static passcode when conducting transactions, in stores or online.

Alan Finkelstein is president of Incard Technologies. He says, "It just identifies and proves that you are the person."

According to a credit industry report, credit card theft and fraud added up to losses of more than a billion dollars in 2004, costs that ultimately get passed on to consumers.

Technology experts say the one-use passcode, similar to key fobs and tokens already in use, could be a valuable tool in the fight against fraud.

Robin Raskin is a Yahoo! technology expert and says, "We cannot afford not to win the battle on safe Internet banking and shopping. That's how important it is."

But analysts also warn, no technology will ever be fool-proof and say consumers still have to be diligent about protecting their identities and financial information.

The one-time passcode card is now being tested throughout the world and could be available by the end of the year.

Verisign and Activ-Identity, two of the biggest online security companies that retailers use, have already signed on to use the incard displaycard technology.

Posted by Bryce Mursch