Credit card blues

I just got a new credit card today and it came equipped with a feature that I didn’t ask for: a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip. Basically, RFID can be used so that you can just wave your card at a scanner rather than swiping it through (such a convenience). Also, since it works at a range of up to several meters, it means anyone with a scanner can scarf your information and possibly use your card. With the traditional swipe method, I can be assured that there won’t be any unauthorized charges, because I have to physically take it out of my wallet and swipe it through a reader. RFID, by contrast, could just be charged anytime, anywhere, without me realizing it at all. It wouldn’t even have to be a thief; it could just be some accidental charge at a checkout line.

I got this potentially very insecure feature without even asking for it. Luckily I know enough about this technology to know that I don’t want it, but 90% of the populace probably isn’t. Most people who get this credit card aren’t aware of this feature, which is hidden behind the cute name “blink”. So I called up and asked for a non-RFID replacement card (which will take 7-10 business days), and the drone on the telephone line tried to convince me not to, because they have a “0% fraud liability”. That’s right, apparently because I theoretically ultimately wouldn’t pay for charges when people snarfed my credit card info, I should totally be okay with people stealing through me.

In reality, of course, getting stolen from is a huge hassle to go through with the credit card company. You have to convince them it wasn’t you who bought the goods; since whoever snarfed your information had to be in close physical proximity, when they buy using your account it will also likely be in the same area, and so it won’t look nearly as much like theft as the stereotypical story of “Maryland woman’s credit card number used to buy two surfboards in Hawai’i.” And once your info is stolen, you have to get a new credit card number, which is also a hassle. Plus, I’m not totally selfish. Even if I ultimately don’t end up paying for it, I still don’t want to be benefiting thieves. The credit card company really needs to modify the script that they’re giving to their drones.

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