Thursday, June 7, 2012

You can opt out of Pay-Wave / RFID

Fraudulently using your RFID-enabled credit card without having to even touch it is more than theory. In January of this year, a hacker demonstrated it in front of a live audience. I have friends with RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) cards, and they buy special sleeves to protect the cards while they are in their purses. But what happens when you have to pull it out to make a purchase?

 It turns out that even though new credit cards are issued with the RFID or "Pay-Wave" feature, you can opt out. I called CIBC today about my credit card, and after the operator made some inquiries, she confirmed that she could put in a request for my card to not have it.

Even so, there was some sell of the feature: The operator emphasized that the Pay-Wave was for my convenience. It was faster, transactions would be limited to $50 or less (depending on the merchant), and in any case I could opt out of using the Pay Wave at all and demand to enter a PIN.

If you are concerned about the RFID feature, call me paranoid but I would recommend you opt out until the technology is not so new and vulnerable anymore. Of course, cybercriminals can still fraudulently use your credit card in the various ways they currently do -- but why give them a new method?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. These cards do pose a security risk at the moment. People should always be given the option on how do they want to pay for things. We do live in a free society, afterall!