Wave and pay: Cardless card make a comeback despite previous security concerns

Jason Knowles Image
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Wave and Pay safety concerns
The convenient "wave and pay" technology available with some credit cards is making a comeback after serious security concerns.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The convenient technology known as "wave and pay" available with some credit cards is making a comeback after serious security concerns.

The technology is a debit or credit card with a wireless symbol where all you have to do is just wave it in front of a payment terminal and your transaction is done in seconds.

"I think contactless cards are about to hit America in a very big way," said Ted Rossman with creditcards.com.

Rossman said new security features are allowing the cardless cards to make a comeback.

In 2015, the I-Team exposed security issues and now want to know why this technology, which had been a target for hackers, is coming back.

Chicago's Trustwave showed us how special equipment bought online could read the numbers and expiration date. It allows hackers to get enough information for an online transaction or data to make a dummy card.

Banks had rolled back on the wave and pay craze, but now some industry experts said those security concerns have largely been addressed.

"It's just as secure as dipping a chip card into a payment terminal but it's so much faster," Rossman said.

The I-Team checked back in with Trustwave and experts confirm that the security is now enhanced. They said this time around it generates one time transaction codes, much like secure codes Apple Pay uses on your watch or phone.

"So it's just smarter technology," said a Trustwave expert. "So they are generating one-time use codes that play into the device that reads it and that will authorize that transaction."

Experts still warn that you should still take precautions, like using special wallets and even sleeves that block the radio frequency. You can also use foil on the cards.

"So security is a lot of cat and mouse," said Trustwave. "So as security gets better, then the attackers are also going to change their methods and go after that technology, especially as it becomes more mainstream."

Trustwave said hackers could already be looking at ways to compromise the new technology.

In the meantime, creditcards.com said that banks are moving full steam ahead with many planning to have a "wave and pay" option by years end.