One thing we are hearing is that scamming is taking place through terminals that may have been hacked, for instance in a taxi, and unfortunately, this product won’t help with this at all. In these instances, you’re tapping the card to a possibly hacked terminal, and transferring funds through that terminal, rather than being skimmed without your knowledge, which is what ArmourCard seeks to prevent.
We’d be remiss not to come back to MasterCard’s position on the matter, though, which said (back in 2013) that the technology wasn’t likely to result in a theft of information that could lead to your details used in such an aggressive way.
“Our view is there was never any significant material risk,” said Matt Barr, adding that “the scanners could never capture enough information to create an online transaction because you don’t get names. You can get 16 digits, you can get expiry date, but that’s all.”
“You can’t get enough information to create another transaction, and you certainly don’t get enough information to create another contactless transaction,” said Barr in one of our Naked Geeks programs.
“There’s a thing called the dynamic CVC [customer verification code] on contactless cards. It generates a single use number every time, [and] there’s an algorithm on the card, so even if you scanned the card and got an instance of the dynamic CVC, you’d never be able to create another transaction,” he said. “The card and the terminal are looking for the next number in the sequence.”
As far as we’ve been able to tell, some card reading apps may have the ability to read card names as well as card numbers, but as for the customer verification code, we’ll have to refer to Barr’s and MasterCard’s knowledge on this one.
Ultimately, we’re filling ArmourCard under the “preventative” measure, with a gadget aimed at the potential blocking of what scammers can do, even if it might not necessarily happen.
“We have insurance for your house, insurance for your car, antivirus for your computer,” said Harris. “Why wouldn’t you protect your cards?”
The ArmourCard is available now for $49.95 in select electronic shops, online, and Vodafone stores across the country.