A safer credit card?

I’m paranoid. I’ll admit it. I used to scan for “shoulder surfers” when I took money out of the bank - you know, the crooks who would supposedly stand near an ATM and try to memorize your PIN. Now, every time I get gas, I double-check the card reader at the pump to make sure it’s legit and not a skimmer. And don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve entered my digits to buy something online. Dynamics Inc. is showing off a new kind of credit card at CES that might help me rest a little easier.
The card has the ability to change and use a different number for each transaction. You can also  store multiple accounts on one card. From Ars Technica, “The secret lies in the company's innovative magnetic strip, which can be programmed in real time, and—more importantly—wiped clean just as quickly.” The card looks and acts pretty much like the credit cards you have now, but instead of embossed numbers, this one has an LCD screen. The screen shows you a different number for each purchase and has to be unlocked, by tapping out a code, before each transaction. Again from Ars Technica: “Once the transaction is over, the numbers leaves the face of the card, and the magnetic strip returns to its blank state.” Citibank has already started using the cards in a pilot program.
You may see this as the natural progression of technology, and my logical mind agrees, but part of me just had to supress a yelp of “Ohhhhh, maaaagic!”

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.

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