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It takes around six seconds to hack a credit or debit card

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Credit card fraud exposes need for secure online alternative

By Brian Richardson, CEO and Co-Founder, WIZZIT International

A study released in December 2016 estimated it takes around six seconds to hack a credit or debit card. That means working out the card number, expiry date and security code of any debit or credit in the same time it takes to click ‘complete purchase’. The research also seems to suggest it takes nothing more than guesswork.

The study, published by Newcastle University and released in December 2016 brings to light fears held by anyone completing an online transaction – what if the security policies in place aren’t enough and, if so, how easily can they be circumvented? In broader terms, does the nature of online payments unwittingly facilitate card fraud – and what can be done to protect consumers against it.

Time to face fraud risk
In 2015 alone, global credit and debit card fraud is reported at $21.84 billion. The risks are real inasmuch as headline-grabbing news stories of mass hacks send shivers down spines, but the proliferation and frequency of online transactions continues to grow exponentially. It’s unlikely anyone is consciously considering themselves the potential victim of credit card fraud as they order the last-minute bunch of anniversary flowers, order dinner or even request a ride home after a night out.

Banks have made strides to secure online transactions with secure payment gateways and One-Time Pin enabled functionality. These mechanisms, however, remain at the mercy of the site who chooses to implement them. With so many sites offering e-commerce options, there’s almost no way to ensure these regulations across platforms.

Giving customers control
What if banks could effectively put control and safety back in the hands of the user? A virtual card used for a limited period of time, for a specific transaction, would achieve this intelligently. The virtual card functions as a set of details – a card number, expiry date and CVV number – that validates a single transaction and self-destructs with a set time limit.

No safety risks posed because the details can’t be used outside of the designated transaction. The details can be sent simply and quickly, as needed, to a smartphone. Low risk, high reward, ultimate convenience. The virtual card can even be used for third-party transactions – to students without a credit card to make payments or purchases, for example. And there’s no risk of them holding onto the card details for future use either.

This is an exciting FinTech innovation WIZZIT has been developing for the past few years, and was launched to market earlier this year. WIZZIT looks forward to partnering with banks to offer this smarter, safer offering to customers. In addition to addressing pressing security concerns, the possibility of a virtual card also opens a whole new word for the unbanked segment of the market to participate in booming e-commerce and online shopping – from which they’d otherwise be excluded.

No institution is infallible. As hackers and fraudsters find new and shrewder ways to conduct their heists, so too must financial service providers face realities of the modern retail environment and adopt an agile approach. This means offering solutions that better safeguard their customers from the risk of card fraud – or risk losing them (and a whole lot of money) forever.

To speak to Brian Richardson about the possibilities of virtual cards, email

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