Are Contactless Cards Cloneable?

by Joseph Walent 0

Contactless are not norm here in the U.S., but stealing the information from these cards presents a real and present danger to many consumers in in those regions where their use is commonplace. The article provides both the how the crime is committed, as well as how consumers can best make it more difficult to have their payment method ‘cloned’.

At present customers need to insist that banks provide them with safe contactless cards that conform to up-to-date international security standards. Secure contactless card implementations do exist, but many banks are currently not making use of these methods. While the legacy modes are sometimes required for successful transactions, there exist secure implementations of these modes that are not easily cloneable.

Furthermore, payment processors can update their systems to detect cloned cards and block them. Any cloning method will cause a detectable change in the payment details due to the sequential nature of payments. A break in the sequence is an indication that card cloning may have occurred.

While not as much a problem in the U.S., the technology being utilized is indeed similar to that of NFC transactions via mobile devices. The expanding use of tokenization in electronic payments methodologies will help to alleviate a significant number of payment credential cloning.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Senior Analyst, Emerging Technologies at Mercator Advisory Group

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