New credit card could fundamentally change industry

There have been many advancements in credit card technology in the last several years, but now a new one seems poised to change the way many cards look and are used to complete transactions in a far more secure manner.

MasterCard, the second-largest processor of debit and credit card payments in the world, recently partnered with a major bank in Singapore to develop and distribute a new type of credit card technology that could have a massive impact on the industry at large, according to a report from the company. The card is the same size as any other that might be in a consumer's wallet, but comes with one massive difference: It has a keypad and LCD display embedded in it.

Beginning in January 2013, Standard Chartered Bank will distribute these MasterCard Display Cards to many of its customers, the report said. It is believed the new feature will make transactions far safer for them, particularly when they shop at brick and mortar stores.

How the card and its security measures work
Because the new Display Card is no bigger than a standard card, it can be carried around and used to complete purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted, the report said. But the added security on the account is two-fold. First, like nearly all credit cards issued in Europe and Asia, it comes with EMV technology that relies on an embedded microchip to store payment data, rather than a magnetic strip. This technology is generally more secure than its older counterpart, which is still prevalent in the U.S., because it makes it far more difficult to steal and duplicate account data.

Second, and more important, is the LCD screen, which shows a new PIN number that can be entered for each transaction, and the keypad, which allows them to enter the code directly on the card, and not the machine they used to swipe it, the report said. Further, it's believed the card could incorporate more functionality at some point in the relatively near future, which will add more convenience to borrowers, the report said. This could include the ability to link the cards so that they show balance information, rewards status, and so forth, right on the LCD display.

"MasterCard continues to be at the forefront of payment technology," said Matthew Driver, MasterCard Worldwide's president for South East Asia." From launching the first 'paper' card in the 1950s, to introducing magnetic stripes and EMV chips for secure, digitized payments, we are pleased to have been able to support the launch of  Singapore’s first Display Card by Standard Chartered. With the continued growth in online and now mobile initiated remote payments, consumers are naturally demanding increased security. The innovative features of the Display Card serve to address this need, whilst empowering consumers to do so much more with their payment cards."

The rollout efforts
New requirements from many banks around the world require more thorough protection measures, and the Display Card meets these requirements with state of the art security tokenization, the report said. As such, though the card has its roots in Singapore, it will soon be available to more banks and lenders around the world as well. Standard Chartered will likely lead that effort.

However, the issuing of Display Cards began in Singapore because users there are unique in their specific card usage and borrowing habits, the report said. For instance, many rely on a small number of banks, not just one or two, to maintain their various accounts. As such, Standard Chartered and MasterCard worked hard on how to figure out the best way to serve these customers with various accounts, each with their own security standards.

More on account protection
Though these Display Cards are not yet available in the U.S., it is still possible for consumers to make all efforts to ensure their credit and debit card accounts are secure. The easiest way to do so is to carefully monitor all transactions on them, either by checking the lender or bank's website for the latest account data, or by carefully looking over statements sent at the end of the month. Any unrecognized transactions should be reported immediately to the financial institution that controls the account.

This same principle can also be used when it comes to a borrower's credit report. Studies have shown many of these documents contain unfair markings, and ordering a copy, then checking it closely, may be useful in identifying these entries. If one is discovered, borrowers may be able to work with a credit repair law firm to fix credit that was damaged by these listings, and get their borrowing power back to where it deserves to be.