The Visa Card with one-time code, being offered to issuing banks by Visa Europe and Emue Technologies, is an innovative new way of securing online payment and banking transactions - and building consumer confidence.
It is a normal Visa debit or credit card equipped with a display screen, a keypad and a built-in battery with a three year lifespan. It therefore incorporates all the technology that's needed to authenticate cardholders with highly secure dynamic passcodes.
It also complements past investments, including EMV Chip and PIN and 3D Secure (Verified by Visa). Four card issuers have already embarked on pilot programme for the card, the first of which is MBNA, which is running the pilot in the UK through 2009. Three other banks (Cal of Israel, Corner Banca of Switzerland, and IW Bank of Italy) are also piloting the solution. In the initial staff pilot stage, MBNA is offering it to 50 Visa Platinum cardholders. It supplements MBNA's existing Verified by Visa service - by replacing static passcodes with highly secure one-time only passcodes.
The Visa Card with one-time code extends chip-level security to card not present (CNP) payments and remote banking transactions. Other security solutions typically make use of either static passwords, which can be difficult to register and remember and vulnerable to compromise, or separate security devices (such as a card reader) to generate dynamic passcodes.
By contrast the Visa Card with one-time code is a completely self-contained solution. It's not necessary to register or remember passcodes. And there's no need to manage or keep track of a separate security device.
In creating the Visa Card, Visa Europe partnered with a specialist in online payment security (www.emue.com) to provide the physical cards and the necessary back-end systems. The underlying technology is based on industry-standard components and logarithms - all of which have been selected to reduce the cost of implementation.
Finextra verdict: With usage of one-time password generators becoming more mainstream, this development from Visa could herald a welcome reversal of the proliferation of security devices and passwords that is making security seem more cumbersome for consumers. It also promises to help with acceptance of the 3D Secure authentication scheme.