Bank cards: Little by little, new securities arrive

If you’ve turned off contactless on your bank card for security reasons, or if you’re scared of shopping on the internet, you know the banks are working on the issue. Several new bank card technologies are being introduced to ensure that the cardholder stands behind every purchase. These securities, which have been under consideration for years, are still struggling to gain acceptance with French banking institutions.

Visa biometric card. Image: BNP Paribas.

Biometric cards are classic cards with a fingerprint reader. With contactless payment, you have to put your thumb on an integrated reader to identify yourself. This option has two advantages: it offers better security and allows you to go beyond the usual € 50 limit.

If this feature is practical, it tends to remain shunned in France, while initial tests date back to 2017. Only BNP Paribas offers them on these high-end cards (Visa Premier) for € 24 per year in addition to the classic contributions. Interesting, but a bit expensive: Telephone payment services (Apple Pay, Google Pay), on the other hand, offer the same free of charge.

Some banks offer a virtual bank card option: it allows you to generate a card with a limit and a customizable lifespan. For example, we can create a card worth € 50, valid for a month for a single purchase, or another with a longer lifespan, to pay for his subscription to a service. If it’s a little slower than a classic card (you have to connect to your bank’s website and look for the option), it remains a safe and secure way to secure your online purchases and not leave your real card number anywhere.

This function is free of charge with certain neobanks (Fortuneo, Revolut), but with costs for traditional banks (Crédit Mutuel, Caisse d’Épargne, etc.). It’s still fairly new, and the facilities that offer this system can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Dynamic cryptogram card. Image: Société Generale.

The security that seems to democratize the most concerns dynamic cryptogram cards. These are powered by a small battery to display a 3-digit code that changes every hour: online fraud then becomes much more complicated. You don’t have to worry about the battery, which is likely to last longer than the card’s validity period. To the Societe Generale and at BNP Paribas, this security is offered for € 12 per year (in addition to the usual contributions) on all cards in the range.

According to the Observatory for the Security of Payment Instruments, the rate of fraud in remote payments is barely rebounded to 0.174% in 2021, while the contactless fraud rate hit its lowest historical level in 2020 (0.013%).

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