New technology helps reduce identity theft


The makers of a plug-in device that allows merchants to accept credit cards on the go has come up with a way for you to pay for purchases simply by giving your name.

Participating users of Square will be able to go to select stores that have installed the company’s software on their registers and simply tell the clerk their name to settle up.  By giving your name, you trigger a digital “put it on my tab” system that charges the purchase to your account.

No more need, in theory at least, to carry a wallet around. Once you give your name, your picture pops up on the register’s screen, allowing the clerk to confirm that it really is you making the purchase. A receipt is then e-mailed to your smart phone.

The Card Case system is being tested in a handful of cities, including New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Saint Louis and Los Angeles.

A system like this would eliminate so much danger of credit card and debit card theft. It’s the true ID kind of thing where your picture pops up that I love the most.

I was just recently making a purchase with my traditional credit card and the person at the cash register asked to see my driver’s license. I told him to just flip my card over because it had a picture on the back of my card. He did and then he happily completed the transaction.

I also love the idea of different kinds of biometrics. I believe they can make us safer as consumers. For example, I recently told you about Vanguard’s experiment with a voice recognition system. Now when I call up the mutual fund company, I don’t enter any identifying info, I just speak and they feel with 100% accuracy that just by analyzing my voice patterns that they know it’s me.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired in June 2011.

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