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I recently wrote about several of the newest high-tech features now in the development pipeline for the credit card industry. While many help to deliver more convenience and ease-of-use to consumers, security currently tops the list of demands for the financial sector. Over the past year the business headlines have been dominated by news of critical security breaches, gigantic cyber attacks and massive thefts of confidential consumerfinancial data.
Tens of millions of people have had their credit card information hacked. Last year the news was the theft of data from Target and Nieman Marcus stores. Last week we found out that eBay had its security compromised. Who knows what stupendous lapse in protection will be next month’s headline-stealer. The good news is that help is definitely on its way, and futuristic technologies promise robust security when we bank, pay bills, use ATM cards, and execute credit card transactions in person, online, or via wireless device.
One innovation at the leading edge of the fight to protect your financial assets is Match-On-Card, a system that has the capability to put both the storage and the accurate matching of fingerprints right onto your plastic. Here’s the rundown on how this new technology works.
- Match-On-Card leverages the accuracy of one of the oldest and most reliable identifiers known to the law enforcement community; your fingerprint.
- Then it pairs that old-school methodology with sophisticated computer biometrics for a match made in security industry heaven.
- The last step in the process is to place that powerful technology literally in the palm of your hand by hiding it inside your credit card. Thus the name Match-On-Card, which indicates a perfect match right there on the card.
- The fingerprint embedded within the plastic can never be extracted so it cannot be copied or counterfeited. That essentially means that if the same technology finds widespread use within the financial industry that your credit cards and ATM cards can have hacker-proof identity security.
The technology can also protect access to physical premises, computers, and mobile gadgets – and is regarded as a flexible yet cost effective advancement in digital security.
Match-On-Card Used at the State Department
What is really encouraging about Match-On-Card is that it is already proving its value in the real world. Today more than 160 million people worldwide use Match-on-Card to verify themselves at work or in their private life. It is used in solutions for national ID cards, employee cards, and bank cards across the world.
The U.S. State Department, for example, which is known for its military-grade security protocols, is a heavy user of Match-On-Card. Employees there use smart cards that have their personal fingerprint biometrics stored inside them to log on securely to multiple devices and platforms and to access high security physical locations such as locked-down rooms or buildings.
Eliminating the Weak Links
With the ability to store and process identity information on the smart card, Match-On-Card completely eliminates the need for a database. Database storage is often one of the most vulnerable links in a credit card security system because hackers who break into the database can steal everything. If there is no database, there is no threat to your credit card security. Additional Match-on-Card benefits include the reduction in infrastructure and labor, it saves a significant amount of time, money, and human resources, and creates traceability.
Of course all of us who have been annoyed by the task of having to change our passwords multiple times this year because of various security breaches at retailers know that passwords are often easy to guess. If a Match-On-Card system is used, however, passwords are no longer necessary to identify you. With your fingerprint you will no longer have to memorize strings of random digits, letters, and characters. Plus, the matching takes only a split second so it is both convenient and fast to use.
What Are We Waiting For?
For years I have been blogging about the advances in credit card security and convenience that are based on computer chip technologies. After one of these “smart chips” is placed inside your plastic it is like carrying around a tiny computer that can accomplish all sorts of feats that add an entire menu of extra features to your ATM or credit card. Remember when cassette tapes were all the rage? They were based on technology that used magnetic stripes to hold data such as music recordings. Now we store music more efficiently, effectively and affordably using devices like iPods and MP3 players that are powered by computer chips.
As I’ve been harping about for years, the banking industry in the USA is still using credit cards based on a magnetic strip platform. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the industrialized world shifted to computer chip platforms a long time ago. Until you have a card empowered with that type of platform, you cannot enjoy all the bells and whistles available to others who do have it. Banks in the USA have promised to make the long-overdue switch within the next year or two, though, and when they do you can expect the technological floodgates to open. Then you’ll have the ease of access to the kind of state of the art plastic that you need and deserve. Some are already issuing computer-enhanced pin-and-chip style plastic, as I mentioned in a blog earlier this year – although most American retailers are not set up to accept those cards. Until the technology becomes main stream, strengthen your passwords to make the most out of the current technology that is left over from the era of 8-track tapes.
*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.