RF in my pocket

So, my snazzy new credit card that I got apparently has some sort of chip and RF transmitter in it. This allows me to purchase things simply by holding the card near the POS card reader instead of actually needing to go through all the effort of swiping it through the machine.

What is the world coming to…?

11 thoughts on “RF in my pocket

  1. Don’t worry. Their web site says that it “uses technology that helps make transactions safe and secure.”

    I’d imagine that a credit card company has to be obsessed with security. They can’t just have the card transmitting its number all the time.

    Or at least, they have it all planned for in their fraud budget, and cardholders don’t have liability for unauthorized transactions.

  2. Well, it’s probably a passive RF transmitter, in which case there’s no rotating cipher on the card or anything. And it’s easy to find out what signal the reader is sending.

    Now, your average hacker can’t forge a Visa with an RF transmitter, so if the RF card contains a non-identifying unique ID other than your credit card number, you’re probably safe; but that would imply more changes to the credit card processing system than a mere card reader update.

  3. I should also point out that merchants bear the brunt of credit card fraud, not credit card companies, so the incentive might not be as strong as you think.

  4. You should consider getting yourself a wallet with aluminum foil lining…

    I’m not sure where to buy them right now, but I’m thinking of taking up sewing anyways so maybe I’ll start making them at some point.

    I think the whole RF phenom is sketchy.

  5. I don’t trust anything without wires to transmit data, really.

    Apparently, you can disable the feature by calling them. I haven’t decided whether I want to do that or not, yet. And, I’m assuming all it will do is instruct their system to not authorize payments from that method… I don’t think they’ll actually be changing anything about my physical *card* (or if they do, that may be even more disturbing).

  6. I don’t know what kind of info is actually in the rfid tag though, which is part of the concern.

    If you microwave the card for a second, will that ruin the strip? It would probably destroy the id tag.

    I’m so glad I have one of the old cards without the id tag in them.

  7. It’s a tempting thought.

    Jessi suggests telling customer service afterward, “No, I didn’t mean to microwave the card. I just forgot to take it out when I microwaved my wallet.”

    (Well, I suspect I could just claim the card lost or destroyed, or maybe never-arrived if I wanted to blatently lie. But I probably wouldn’t do that.)

  8. Even /I/ wouldn’t do that.

    On the plus side, you’re probably only liable for $20 of fraudulent purchases, so I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

  9. No, I’m not liable for any through the RF stuff. I don’t think I’m liable for fraud through any other way, either.

    Basically, that’s the #1 reason why I decided getting a credit card was a good plan. In the case of any fraud, I just dispute it and don’t need to worry about getting the money credited back to my checking account in the meantime.

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