Visa Micro Tag – Contactless Payment Device

Posted on 12. Nov, 2007 by in Credit & Debt

It looks cool, but is it going to replace your visa card?

Visa recently began promoting the Visa Micro Tag, a new key fob payment device embedded with Visa payWave, the company’s contactless technology feature. The Visa Micro Tag is designed to easily attach to a key ring, and allows cardholders to pay by simply waving their Visa Micro Tag in front of a contactless payment terminal without the need to physically swipe or insert the device into a point-of-sale terminal.

Customers with Visa payWave cards in the U.S. have the option of not having to sign for payments under US$25, a feature that also benefits merchant locations where speed is important and where cash has been the traditional means of payment. The technology is already in use at convenience stores, sporting venues, gas stations and fast food restaurants nationwide – but there are two issues that may stop this form of payment before it even gets off the ground.

1. Visa says payWave-enabled products receive the same security protections other Visa products offer, plus the additional layers of security because the payment device never leaves the customer’s hand, can only be read at extremely close proximity to a reader, and submits a unique digital watermark to the Visa payment network for each transaction. However, the RFID platform has been hacked a number of times already, proving that your key chain might be easier to access (wirelessly) than your back pocket.

2. Visa Micro Tags don’t require a card number to be embossed or printed on the device, in an effort thwart the casual waiter-turned-thief. A Visa account number is not required to be embossed or printed on the device, providing an additional layer of security for consumers carrying a Visa Micro Tag in visible ways, such as on a keychain. However, the use of a PIN number is also not needed for smaller purchases, meaning that your keys may now become an easy target for thieves to score some quick cash.

What do you think? Would you, or do you use a contactless payment device?

4 Responses to “Visa Micro Tag – Contactless Payment Device”

  1. Devin Reams

    13. Nov, 2007

    I like how you addressed my (the) two major privacy slash security concerns. I’d be a bit hesitant still to walk around where someone could boost their scanner signal and snatch whatever is in my pocket (I picture one of those anti-theft gates at a store… but designed to take my credit card).

    As long as the encryption is proven and secured I would definitely use this. Maybe different colors though? 😉

  2. Brian

    12. Feb, 2008

    Having worked with VISA on the failed smart card program, I suspect the data transfers are very well encrypted.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Visa Gift Cards » Visa Micro Tag - Contactless Payment Device - November 12, 2007

    […] Bill Brenner wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptVisa recently began promoting the Visa Micro Tag, a new key fob payment device embedded with Visa payWave, the company’s contactless technology feature. The Visa Micro Tag is designed to easily attach to a key ring, … […]

  2. marmotton » Visa Micro Tag - Contactless Payment Device - November 24, 2007

    […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptA Visa account number is not required to be embossed or printed on the device, providing an additional layer of security for consumers carrying a Visa Micro Tag in visible ways, such as on a keychain. However, the use of a PIN number is … […]

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