There have been a few attempts to improve the humble credit card over the years, often aimed at improving their security or functionality.
For example, there was the Visa Codesure card, which had a built-in screen and numeric keypad for authenticating online transactions. There was also the Mastercard thumbprint authenticating card, which, well, needed your thumbprint to make a payment.
Has anyone seen either of these used anywhere since their launch? I certainly haven’t. Whilst the technology is clever, neither of these innovations massively improved security or ease of use when making payments.
The latest innovation is the MotionCode card. developed by a French company which hopes their card with an ever-changing CCV number (the 3-digit number on the back of all credit cards) will combat fraud. With this number changing every hour, it essentially means that the card details can’t be copied in any way and then used elsewhere; without the 3-digit number, the details are useless.
So in theory, if your card details are stored on a website, and it’s hacked, or your card is cloned, then you’ll be safe.
However, if you lose your card, there’s no real protection, as whoever has the card will have all the details they need to make “card not present” transactions (ie, those without a PIN). Let’s hope the banks issuing these cards also have card locking facilities, allowing cardholders to freeze transactions on a lost card, as Monzo (and undoubtedly other card providers) now has.
They’re currently being rolled out to two of France’s largest banks, with trials in Poland, Mexico and possibility the UK soon too.
The one credit card innovation which has taken off isÂ contactless cards, whichÂ have improved the speed of transactions, and has certainly been embraced (and will continue to grow), and can also exist in other forms, such as on mobile phones. And that’s where the attempts to innovate the credit card really come unstuck – all of their functionality can easily be replicated and bettered via the use of a mobile. So in my eyes they’re fighting a losing battle, and the banks should be prioritising the development of their mobile apps rather than worrying about pimping theirÂ plastic.