NXP Semiconductors has developed a touch sensor that can be built into contactless payment cards and passports to prevent their details from being read or payments taken without the user’s active permission, according to Engineering and Technology Magazine.
Using a capacitive touch sensor, similar to those found in mobile smart phones, NXP engineers created the prototype plastic card using the company’s contactless chips. This new card requires users to swipe using specific gestures – a code to unlock the card – at which point a contactless reader can perform a transaction.
This new technology could also protect conventional payment cards that rely on PINs. If you have to type your PIN on an insecure device then the system is broken, Patrick Niessen, system architect at NXP. With the new NXP card the user’s PIN is store within the card itself – it never leaves the card.
The current version works with a standard contactless scanner that can provide enough power for both the sensor and the embedded security chip. And NXP is continuing development to allow use with an NFC-enabled smart phone so users can authorize payments from their phone.
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