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The credit card that may stop, or at least hinder, on- and offline fraud


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How much do you worry about your credit card information falling into the wrong hands, either due to online security breaches or a lost or stolen card? Dynamics Inc. is a company that claims to have the solution: a credit card that generates a one-time use code every time it is used, both for online and physical transactions. The company showed off a number of credit card options here at CES, including the ability to keep a single card for multiple accounts. 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 technology is impressive. The cards look and feel much like existing credit cards, and can be kept in your wallet and bent without harming the internal electronics. The difference is that an empty screen replaces a section of the numbers on the card's face, and you have to tap in a key using five built-in buttons before making a purchase. The LCD screen is then filled with a unique credit card number, and the magnetic strip on the back is coded with that number for use in the transaction. Once the transaction is over, the numbers leaves the face of the card, and the magnetic strip returns to its blank state.


A design that allows you to use one card for two accounts

If someone steals your card, they won't be able to use it without your code unlocking the number and coding the strip. Since the credit card number is generated fresh for each transaction, there is no data to be stolen in the case of a hack. Citibank is now using the cards in small pilot programs, and the company is hoping to see more banks and cities using the technology.

The dynamic nature of the magnetic strip opens up a number of other applications. I saw a card that had two numbers, so you can keep your business and personal accounts on the same card. You hit a flat button next to each number to select it; a light shines showing you which account is active, and the magnetic strip is coded with that number. Change accounts, and the magnetic strip is instantly reprogrammed. Each card comes with a battery that should last three years.


The dynamic magnetic strip looks normal, but is programmed with a different number for each transaction

The prototypes already look and feel like standard cards, the technology allows for another level of security when making purchases online and off, and it's in the best interests of both consumers and financial institutions to heighten security. I was able to handle and try a few varieties of cards, and they all worked just as advertised... at least as much as I could tell without swiping one for myself.

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