Financial institutions are experimenting with new forms of technology in an effort to make purchases easier for consumers and to protect them against identity theft.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) credit cards are one example. These "smart cards" are being offered by most major credit card issuers and, similar to mobile payments, can be read by remote machines without having to be swiped through a point-of-sale terminal. However, it's the information embedded in a tiny microchip in the card that has many experts worrying about what would happen to users if their plastic was stolen. Those in the security field have raised alarms about the potential for identity thieves to read a card remotely by standing beside a monitor, the San Francisco Gate writes. In this way, identity thieves can capture consumers' names, addresses and credit card numbers without them knowing it even happened. This information can then be embedded in new fake cards, according to the source. To prevent RFID credit card theft, the best defense for consumers is to keep an eye on credit card and bank account statements for unusual activity.