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Secure Transactions from Home

Technology companies are introducing new ways to secure payments made electronically, both to confirm that the individual is the legitimate cardholder and to securely transmit payment data when a person is not physically present at the payment site.

Citadel Commerce Corp. recently announced it has launched a new device that allows debit card transactions and credit card swiping to be conducted from home. The hand-held device is a keypad and LCD display that interfaces with a consumer's PC via the standard USB port. It allows a consumer to transmit fully encrypted personal identification number blocks to Citadel's data center for purchases using the company's electronic wallet and a standard bank-issued debit card. It also allows a consumer to swipe a standard credit card when making a purchase from home.

Meanwhile, MagTrek is touting its MagnePrint technology as a way that consumers can use the swipe stripes of their own cards as security tokens to authenticate that the person making a transaction is the legitimate holder of the card.

The MagnePrint is a system that uses the "noise" prints of the stripe (the unique characteristics created by the way that the billions of magnetic particles on a card are put together) to authenticate the card almost in the same way that a person's fingerprint might be used. The system requires a reader that can compare this magnetic "fingerprint" with a pre-recorded print, and the company has marketed it as a low-cost way that consumers could validate their identities at home for accessing a bank's web site or other web-based transactions. If the reader compares the prints and scores the card as valid, the user then enters his or her user ID and password; therefore, the transaction is protected by two tiers of authentication. MagTek has also marketed the product as a tool that can cut down on skimming at automated teller machines by matching prints to card users.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 12, 12/05

First published on 12/01/2005

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