A new inexpensive fraud-prevention channel for card transactions has been discovered by a team of US researchers using magnetic card readers. SafePay, operates by converting disposable credit card information to electrical current that simulates the behavior of a physical magnet.
The research team led by Prof. Yinzhi Cao who is currently an assistant Professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, recently has been working on a way to prevent credit card fraud. The threat in card transactions pertains to leakage of confidential information that is stored as plain text.
The backward compatibility of SafePay facilitates existing magnetic card readers, so merchants already using such readers do not have to replace the machines. The device integrates easily with the current system and improves the security of the transaction between the card holder and the retailer.
The process is simple, the user of the device has to download the application that communicates with a bank’s server. As the transaction initiates, the application uses a disposable credit card number from the bank server and generates a wave file that generates the electrical current and then drives the magnetic card chip through Bluetooth connectivity or an audio jack.
The disposable credit card information is set to expire after a time duration or according to usage. The mobile banking application is user-friendly, so employees at the point-of-sale (POS) do not need a specialist to operate it.
Mr. Cao has already used the device in real-world applications such as gas stations, vending machines, and university coffee shops. The device operated effectively in all three cases making the transaction secure and adaptable. According to the team, the device is set to be displayed at the IEEE conference in Florence, Italy, pertaining to Communications and Network Security by the end of September.
It seems that with Google Android Pay and Apple Pay picking up pace, the device would face severe competition. As Android Pay and Apple Pay focus on card-less transactions, the act has already pushed a number of users towards integrating their smartphone with their Google or Apple accounts.