With more and more big retailers having their data bases hacked recently, like the big Target hack late last year, retailers and credit card providers are in discussion of how to address big retailers’ use and holding of personal information for millions of customers. One of the biggest complaints is against the magnetic strips on the back of our credit cards that contain all of our account information. This information is easily stolen by identity thieves.
The discussion involves using chip based credit cards. Rather than containing all of the account information on a magnetic strip, the chip credit card will only transmit fragments of data to the retailer that are useless to anyone except the retailer for the particular transaction.
The chip credit cards are already being used in other parts of the world, but there has been a resistance to the use of the cards in the United States because of the cost to retailers to upgrade their equipment to be able to use these chip cards. It appears that the credit card companies are already moving toward these chip based credit cards, and for those retailers who are not willing to accept them, the credit card companies are proposing to shift the burden of loss to those retailers for fraudulent charges.
You may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself now, until the time comes when chip credit cards are available to us in the United States. Bank of America is now offering a service through their registered trademark of ShopSafe that allows you to generate unique temporary credit card numbers to use with vendors that link directly to your credit card account. Using this service will make that temporary number only accessible to that specific vendor and for the time you wish to allow without disclosing your actual credit card account number. You can read about this at Bank of America’s website by clicking HERE.