Do you feel secure when using your credit cards at retailers? Do you feel less safe after retailer Target reported that hackers stole the information on 40 million shoppers who used their credit cards at Target stores across the nation? Here's some good news: CBS Minnesota recently reported that new technology can make such credit-card data breaches less common.
As CBS Minnesota reports, smart cards could be an enormous help. These cards store all of a consumer's accounts on one piece of plastic. That sounds risky. But these cards rely on microchips and PINs to help keep consumer data safe. The cards already are popular throughout much of Europe, and hackers are rarely successful in cracking them.
The power of masking
Consumers in the United States can already take advantage of masking technology. CBS Minnesota reports that masked cards generate temporary numbers whenever consumers use them to purchase something online or at brick-and-mortar stores. This number disappears completely once the transaction is completed, making it worthless for hackers who manage to steal it.
Why the delay?
But while masked cards are safer than traditional credit cards, they’re not as ideal as are smart cards. So what exactly is keeping these cards from arriving in the United States? CBS Minnesota says that there is not any one reason. But many speculate that credit-card companies have yet to upgrade to the new technology that will allow them to use these high-tech cards. And until they do, consumers will have to take their chances at their local shops.