E-paper display gives payment cards a changing security code

Oberthur Technologies Motion Code

Oberthur Technologies has developed a screen that can be put on the back of a bank card to improve security.

Credit: Oberthur Technologies

By embedding an e-paper display in the back of credit and debit cards, payment specialist Oberthur Technologies hopes to make online fraud a lot more difficult. An upcoming test in France will show if the underlying technology can cut it.

Using payment cards with an embedded chip makes payments more secure in physical stores, but it’s still relatively easy for criminals to copy card details and use them online. Oberthur’s Motion Code technology replaces the printed 3-digit CVV (Card Verification Value) code, usually found on the back of the card, with a small screen, where the code changes periodically.

Today, any criminal who has seen a card or overheard the owner dictating the CVV code can make an unauthorized purchases online or by phone. With Motion Code, because the CVV changes from time to time, the time a fraudster has to act is reduced.

To test the technology in the real world, 1,000 customers of French banks Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne will pilot it in September, according to Oberthur.

Using an e-paper display, whose technology is similar to Kindle e-reader, makes sense because it doesn’t need a lot of power. Oberthur says battery life is about 3 years if the code is refreshed every hour.

The cards are used in conjunction with a server, which confirms the transaction information is correct.

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