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Visa Revamps Humble Credit Card

Gordon Kelly by

Visa Revamps Humble Credit Card

As (presumably) people with a passing interest in technology (yes, even you Motorola fans) I'd suspect online shopping is a fairly regular occurrence in your day-to-day lives. In which case I suspect you share my common concern about the wisdom of sharing that vital 'proof of ownership' security code printed on the back of your cards with every single transaction? Thankfully, so does Visa.

In the biggest revamp the humble credit card has seen for many a moon, Visa Europe has announced the trial of an innovative new card designed to make shopping online and over the phone safer for consumers.

As the photos conveniently give away, the new card incorporates a 12 digit keypad and display on the back and a very simple system: key in your pin and generate your one-time security code - goodbye terrifying permanent number. In fact the official three steps are listed as:

1. When shopping online or logging in to an online banking service, the consumer activates the authentication process by pressing the appropriate option button on the card's keypad

2. When prompted the consumer inputs their standard PIN into the keypad embedded in the card

3. A unique one-time-only code appears on the card's display panel, which is then used by the consumer to authenticate the transaction

Impressively, this swanky Visa can also be used to verify your bank's identity should it call you over the phone, is no thicker than a standard card and is claimed to be just as durable. The battery is also designed to last a full three years.

"Visa Europe is excited by this new product, which we believe greatly increases security and consumer confidence to shop online," said Sandra Alzetta, who holds the rather nice title of Visa Europe SVP and Head of Innovation and New Products. "The interest in this solution in the industry has been overwhelming and we look forward to working with the banks involved in the pilots to gain greater insights into how effective this solution can be in the longer term."

Four banks (MBNA, a Bank of America company in the UK; Cornèr Bank in Switzerland; Cal in Israel and IW Bank in Italy) will start the pilot in the next few months (damn you Barclays!).

Anyone, anyone not think this is a good idea?

...didn't think so.


Visa Europe

Video in Action 1

Video in Action 2

Go to comments

Robert Elliot

November 11, 2008, 6:41 pm

Brilliant. Now, can they get an Oyster card that can actually tell you your balance?


November 11, 2008, 7:12 pm

mmmm... How many times can you use the buttons before it becomes obvious through wear and tear which four (or less) digits make up your PIN?


November 11, 2008, 7:13 pm

Sounds like a great idea, would like to see it on all debit/credit cards :)

and Roberts idea above sounds like a natural progression of this tech!


November 11, 2008, 7:35 pm

Awesome. That is without a doubt the single best invention the financial industry has seen in years. Hopefully will allow them to get rid of those awful, clunky 1988 calculator style card reader things they now insist we use for online banking because they don't trust us not to write our user name and password on a post-it stuck to our monitor.


November 11, 2008, 7:58 pm

PaulyT makes a very valid point.

How many other people read that as "Vista..."


November 11, 2008, 9:04 pm

Well, it's Chip and PIN for the Internet, to be sure. As a merchant I hope it will reduce the rampant levels of CNP fraud. As a consumer I worry that, as with Chip and PIN, it'll make it far more difficult to prove that a transaction is fraudulent if, somehow, it has been verified.

Here's what I think should happen with all of these new technologies such as VbyV and Chip and PIN: If Visa (etc) are so confident in them then they should bear responsibility for all fraudulent transactions that are still able to take place, relieving the merchant and consumer of the burden.

Btw - How would this work with recurring payments?


November 11, 2008, 10:03 pm

@Ben + @ PaulyT - I think you HAVE to assume that aspect has been taken care off. If it hasn't the trials will certainly highlight it...


November 11, 2008, 10:05 pm

@Ben - PS, I believe direct debits only require it once to authorise the ongoing payment plan (it's seen as a single transaction in itself if you see what I mean).


November 11, 2008, 10:12 pm

Very interesting update *applauds Gordon*, last I heard about Dynamic pass code - Visa were still planning to use a separate device rather than this integrated card approach.

@PaulyT Pin blocking will apply after 3 incorrect attempts and as with all sensitive data change your password/PIN regularly.

Tony Walker

November 11, 2008, 10:14 pm

12 Digit Keypad eh? Is that the Venusian numeric system? </asrcasm> Or does the Ed have 12 digits <grin>.

At least the keypad is on the card.

However, as someone who has to use one of those "darned" card readers with the bill payment facility of my current account despite the hoops I have to jump through logging in, I can only see this as a retrograde step. Indeed I still feel that moving away from a signature was a bad move. It takes talent to copy a person's moniker but any idiot can remember (and steal by looking over your shoulder) 4 digits.


November 11, 2008, 10:20 pm

@Ben Visa do take liability for fraudulent transactions if merchants and consumers have done their part by using the technology.


November 12, 2008, 1:30 am

Brilliant. Cue thousands of pensioners angry because they've lost their glasses and can't pay for their goods at sainsburys.


November 12, 2008, 4:43 am

@GherkinG - No change there then ;)


November 12, 2008, 5:36 am

@GherkinG - they're grumpy all the time anyway (!) and besides, if they can't read that they can't read the chip and pin machine...

Steve Austin

November 12, 2008, 6:41 pm

What about the next step - rechargable batteries when you stick it in a hole in the wall... :-)


November 13, 2008, 9:46 pm

On the subject of card security, whatever happened to credit cards with hologrphic photos of the owner, it might not be as relveant for internet purchases, but it seemed the most obvious way to reduce the card scams in the shops... especially to me after my card was cloned and used buy for &#1634000 worth of designer clothes in the middle east!


November 13, 2008, 10:12 pm

@GherkinG: My understanding of this was that it was used to generate a security code - not the 4 digit PIN you use in a chip and PIN machine to pay by debit card. Sainsbury's shouldn't be asking for the security code when paying for the pack of Polos pensioners ALWAYS seem to buy.

andre tropiq

December 4, 2008, 9:11 pm

PaulyT: very valid point. I just hope Visa will test this to distraction.


June 29, 2010, 1:21 am

I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be

sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with



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