There are moments when you need to look at technology as a preventative thing. Internet security is like that, a purchase that all devices should have, if only for the “what if” case scenario. Now, there’s a gadget appearing designed to stop the “what if” moment from happening to your credit card.
Everywhere you go, you see contactless payment systems provided.
Supermarkets, malls, book shops, theatres, fast food, slow food, clothing, and anything else; paying without needing to swipe your credit and debit card is the way we’re headed, and before too long, we’ll even be there with smartphones as well, as companies like PayPal, Apple, and Samsung try to find a good middle ground that makes us feel safe and secure while we use our smartphones to pay the bill.
But that’s still a little off, and right now we have to deal with paying the “Tap and Go” concept which is to tap your debit or credit card against the payment system, and then leave.
It’s quick, easy, and something consumers seem to like, as it makes payment efficient with no need to check who you are. Generally, there’s a cut off amount, with a maximum of $100 allowed to be transferred in any one payment, but this doesn’t usually bother anyone.
Apparently, though, as much as we like the convenience offered through this technology, scammers are interested in taking advantage of the tech, using current wireless transfer technology to skim your cards, and charge purchases to you.
We’ve heard the stories before, and there have been numerous reports citing how the act of skimming cards worked, applying mobile phones, tablets, and NFC-equipped computer terminals to make the steal possible.
If you’re a little skeptical at the thought, don’t worry, because we were too, and we weren’t alone.
Some of the creators of the contactless payment technology have thrown up similar question marks over the years, citing that much of the reason these issues have popped up have been to sell wallets.
“Certainly a year ago, there were lots of commentary around technology to scan cards and capture information,” said Matt Barr, MasterCard’s head of Market Development in Australia, in an interview to GadgetGuy in 2013.
“When you went and found out who was creating the noise, it turns out that they were trying to sell a wallet — a metal wallet — to protect cards, so unfortunately it’s players out there creating a fear to sell a product.”
But testing a skimming application with phones and tablets at GadgetGuy, we’ve seen how it’s possible to take information off a card, with some of the credit and debit cards also showing previous purchase history to NFC readers.
Most of the applications we tested weren’t holding the information for long periods of time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the application couldn’t, and if an app is created to skim information from a card, it could just as easily store this for a long enough period to compile the card numbers for active use, with the scammer then finding a way to utilise the credit card information to charge up some purchases.