Coin, Youtube screengrab
A card-swipe dongle ships with the device so you can connect it to your phone to upload your cards onto the companion app.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
from security researcher Brian Krebs said that 40 million people who shopped at Target stores in the three days following Thanksgiving this year may have had their information stolen. According to Krebs, "The type of data stolen -- also known as “track data” -- allows crooks to create counterfeit cards by encoding the information onto any card with a magnetic stripe."
He also said that if the hackers intercepted PIN data for transactions, they could reproduce stolen debit cards and use them to withdraw cash from ATMs. In the meantime, the data breach is being investigated by the Secret Service. But that doesn't help the millions of people who have been the victims of fraud. It begs the question, how much longer do we have to put up with credit card number theft?
Thankfully, researchers are coming up with many new ways to pay for products and services that, in the future, won't require a credit card. Here are just a few.5 Ways To Shop Safely This Holiday
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with PayTango, a new payment system that uses a fingerprint scanner to identify shoppers and provide them with one easy way to check out. If Target stores had this technology, the customer could press their finger on the payment pad instead of entering a PIN. Since a fingerprint cannot be duplicated, only the credit card owner would be authorized. It takes 20 seconds to sign up with PayTango, and is a good way to consolidate your bank, ID and gift cards into a one thing you'll never leave the house with: your finger.
You also never the leave the house without your face. This technology from Uniqual scans unique features of your face to identify you and authorize a payment from an account you've created. To make your purchase, just smile at the camera.
The Ring Theory, Kickstarter
Researchers at MIT wanted to use off-the-shelf technology to develop a creative method for making a payment. They developed the Sesame Ring, which give commuters access to the subway in Boston. The ring was 3-D printed and embedded with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip compatible with the city’s MBTA CharlieCard, a rechargeable fare card. To catch a ride, just tap and go.
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
As part of campaign by Russia's 2014 Olympic Committee to "add elements of sport into daily life," vending machines installed in Moscow subways give away a free ticket to anyone who can do 30 squats. Here, Olympic champion gymnast Yelena Zamolodchikova gets a ticket, no problem.
PC Plus Magazine/Future Publishing/Getty Images
The ability to pay by phone is extremely popular throughout Asia and Africa, where tap-and-go technology allows people in Tokyo, for example, to touch a phone to an NFC wireless pad and instantly make a purchase. In Africa, people routinely make payments via text message. In the United States, paying with a phone is slowly gaining ground with apps that work on both iPhone and Android smartphones. The phones need to be equipped with the wireless NFC chip and only work at cash registers equipped with a compatible NFC pad.
An Apple patent granted in 2011 details an “ad-hoc cash-dispensing network that allows users to efficiently exchange cash.” The idea is that a cash-strapped you would summon your app, which would use the location service on your phone to locate others in the area willing to part with a few bucks for a fee. Once you rendezvous, the transaction can be made. The human ATM would get reimbursed through an online account that both of you have signed into.
The Coin card combines all of your swipe-able cards (credit cards, debit cards, gift cards) into one handy place. A card-swipe dongle ships with the device and you must download an app to combine all of your cards onto the Coin. But once all of the information is stored on Coin all you need to do is tap a button on the card, toggle through your payment choice and select the appropriate method. Credit or debit?
Lately, how you pay is almost as important as what you pay with. The distributed peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin functions without the intermediation of any government or central authority. One can purchase bitcoins using U.S. dollars and hold onto them as they gain value. Bitcoin payment processing fees are lower than those of credit cards and so there are incentives to spend them. In this photo, a man buys bitcoins from the world's first bitcoin ATM, owned by the company Bitcoiniacs, which went live inside a downtown Vancouver coffee shop.
If you've been trying to slim down your bulky wallet, a new product launching may be the device of your dreams. Despite its name, Coin is a connected credit/debit card that could replace all the plastic in your wallet. Expected to ship in Summer 2014, the device will retail for $100, but you can get it at a pre-order price of $50 starting today via Coin's website.
Coin will take on the identity of all your swipe-able cards such as credit, gift, loyalty and membership cards. A card-swipe dongle ships with the device so you can connect it to your phone to upload your cards onto the companion app. That information is then stored on Coin. Tap a button on Coin to toggle through a digital display of the cards stored and select the one you want to use. The device will then take on the information and identity of the card you've selected and can be swiped for use anywhere cards are accepted. Storage and communication with the app are protected by 128-bit encryption. [More: Top 10 Holiday Gifts of 2013]
If the idea of ever losing your Coin sounds horrifying (as it should), here's some good news for you. Coin detects when your phone is near via a low-power Bluetooth signal and notifies you when you're a certain distance away from it. You won't need to be near your Coin for it to work, but you will need your phone and the dongle to add, manage or delete existing cards.
The device will also disable itself "if it's lost," according to a press release, but it isn't clear whether you can do this from the app or if it does so automatically based on distance from your phone. Each Coin has a battery that will last for two years and will not demagnetize if left near other cards or magnets, and like other cards it is shock and water-resistant.
Neither the press release nor video address the many security concerns with Coin, such as the concept of getting merchants to accept a generic credit card without questioning if the cardholder is the original owner of the card. Coin could also be a card thief's dream come true, making it much easier to store the information from stolen cards on one convenient device. [More: 10 Gifts for the Geek Who Has Everything]
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