How Secure Is Your Credit Card?

by Kristina on September 28, 2010 · 0 comments

rusty lockIf you open your wallet you will probably see a MasterCard, a VISA and maybe an American Express, along with 2-3 department store credit cards.  The average American has 6.5 cards in their wallet which includes both credit cards as well as retail store cards.  What’s in your wallet?

If they haven’t already, your credit cards will soon be making the switch to the new Chip and Pin Technology.  When I was first advised of this new technology by my financial institution I thought…If this new Chip and Pin Technology is designed to enhance credit card security, does that mean my credit cards are currently unsafe?

I have learned that the answer to this question is No.  Many of us have at least one credit card, and I for one, am pleased about the new Chip and Pin Security enhancements.  In the United States, revolving debt currently totals $735.3 billion, and the average person has more than $8000 in credit card debt.  As time goes on technology evolves and the new Chip and Pin technology merely enhances our credit cards security.

Do you remember the old school credit card machines? You know, the machine that required salesclerks  to manually enter a paper transaction slip with the card; and then slide the machine from left to right to make an impression on the carbon copy of the transaction slip.  As I grew up in the 1980’s, I have a vivid memory of this old credit card machine.

From this old school machine we evolved to the magnetic strip, which is current day credit card technology.  The future of credit card security is the New Chip and Pin Technology.  It is the credit card equivalent of the music evolution from records to cassette tapes to CDs to mp3s.  Embrace the new Chip and Pin technology for your credit cards.

Here are some quick facts about debt in the United States as well as the new Chip and Pin Technology:

About 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year.

The New Chip Technology allows cardholders to insert their card into a point of sale terminal and enter a pin, as opposed to swiping the card and signing a credit card transaction slip.  This is supposed to be more secure because a signature can be forged, whereas a pin is a secret identification number.

The New Pin Technology is for people on the go.  We can wave or pass our VISA or MasterCard at the point of sale terminal and be on our way.  This new payment method is called VISA Wave or MasterCard PayPass. Although this sounds like a virtual playground for fraud, it is actually very secure.  Our spending habits (both locations and amounts) are tracked and monitored by our financial institutions.  As soon as there is a purchase outside of our normal spending patterns, our card is flagged and we should receive a call from our Credit Card Company to verify the transactions.

Although there is no official maximum transaction amount that can be approved via MasterCard Paypass or VISA Wave; Vendors usually allow a maximum of $50 to $75.  Any amount over the maximum will require a PIN to be entered.

If you want to know how your debt compares to the national average please visit MSN Money and take the test.

(Photo By WalknBoston)

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