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The Latest Advancements in Credit Card Security

It has become very easy for thieves to steal credit card information. We've read story after story about customers whose bank card information is stolen by clerks, scammers, hackers and everyone in between. Customers use their credit cards at grocery stores, big box stores, or even gas stations, where thieves intercept the credit card information that is stored upon the card's magnetic strip.

They then take that information and make fake credit cards, which they use to make small purchases, hoping the person they've stolen from won't notice. They will keep using these fake credit cards until someone does notice, and reports it. If the theft isn't noticed, the purchases start getting bigger and bigger, until bank accounts are simply wiped out.

Credit Card Security

Credit card companies are putting a number of new technological advances into place today that will make it much more complicated for thieves to get customers' information. 

Chip Technology

The first new advance that is being put into play is chip technology. The credit card industry is doing away with those magnetic strips and is opting to put chips into their cards. This is call “EMV” for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa.”

The information on magnetic strips is static and not encrypted or protected in any way, whereas the information on the chips is always changing. Each time a customer makes a transaction, the card's information changes. So, even if a thief did get the information during a charge, if they tried to use it on another transaction, it would not allow it.

The microprocessors in the chips work to encrypt the data of each transaction. They then add a layer of security to card transactions by turning the cardholder's information into a unique code for each transaction. Additionally, if the customer needs a PIN (personal identification number) for the card, the chip alone is useless without the PIN.

This technology has been used for years in other parts of the world and has proven quite successful in thwarting credit card theft.

Mobile Pay

Another change in credit card security is the ability to use mobile pay options. This new service could be a game changer in the way customers pay for goods and services. Mobile pay is actually a more secure way to pay, and it is a very beneficial not just to customers, but also to the credit card industry.

Apple’s new mobile-payment service, Apple Pay, takes security a step further. Apple Pay’s “tap-and-go” system uses tokenization. Users simply load their credit card information into their phone and the system turns that information into a token that is unique to the user's phone.

During a transaction, the user’s account number is replaced with a token (a series of unique, random characters that acts as a substitute for the real account number). The merchant never sees the cardholder’s credit card information and it is not displayed on the customer's phone.

The token is activated by the user's thumbprint, which authorizes the transaction to occur.

Global Pressure

For some time now, pressure has been mounting for the US to do something about all of the credit card security problems. Banks had been hesitant to make changes, until millions of customers were left vulnerable recently due to major big data breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot. 

Since those breaches, the upgrade to EMV technology has been accelerated. The technology has been around for years, but the US is the last major market to implement it. 

CapRock Services and Credit Card Processing

If you have any questions about the above or are in need of secure credit card processing services, please contact us at CapRock Services today.