Make no doubt about it: the criminals are winning the war when it comes to online fraud. This is one fight that isn't even close.

From credit cards to identities, theft and fraud on the internet has been a boon to criminals of all shapes and sizes.

Can these criminals be defeated? How can they be defeated?

A new credit card that is being tested by Visa offers some hope. This experimental card doesn't look or act like your standard credit card. The Emue Card as it is being called instead has a display on the back that enables the generation of a unique code each time it's used.

The idea behind the system is to make it much more difficult for fraud to be used in card-not-present transactions such as those that take place on the internet. Today's chip and PIN technology only combats fraud offline.

Here's how the Emue Card works: when making a purchase online, you enter your PIN into the little keypad that exists on the card. Assuming the PIN is correct, an auto-generated code is shown on the card's display and you enter that code into the appropriate field on the website payment page. This serves as an additional authentication layer for the transaction that would make it much harder, if not impossible, for criminals to engage in online fraud.

Because all the information needed to use a stolen credit card in a card-not-present environment is currently displayed on the credit card, it's easy for criminals to sell and use stolen credit cards. The Emue Card would change that by essentially requiring the possession of the original card and the correct PIN since there'd (in theory) be no other way to authenticate Emue Card-enabled transactions.

Unfortunately, you won't find an Emue Card in your wallet tomorrow. 500 Deloitte employees are testing it out and if Visa decides to pursue it after their trial, the process of getting it to consumers at large will not happen overnight. Visa will need to make sure it works flawlessly with its global network and banks and credit card companies will have the final say on adoption.

Nonetheless, expect to see more sophisticated fraud prevention solutions like the Emue Card being tested in the future. Credit card fraud is a real pain for everybody in the payment food chain, especially online merchants, so new technologies that are consumer-friendly and make the economics of fraud less appealing to criminals will be widely welcomed.

Photo credit: The Consumerist via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 14 May, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2641 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (5)



Can a new credit card defeat online card fraud? No, but it will increase the effort required by criminals.

You will still be vulnerable to situations where you are making a payment for one amount and due to some skull-duggery in the browser you are paying a different amount.  Alternatively, your computer may be compromised by malware (downloaded from some other website) which means you don't know your payment is being made to some fake site, and the details immediately being used for some other transaction.

Banks will not spend more on fraud prevention than what it is costing them, so we will never have zero online fraud.

about 9 years ago


Gratis Goody

about 9 years ago


Franco Beschizza, Head of Mobile and Interactive Marketing Team Head at COI Communications

For online transactions why don’t the banks just send a txt message to your phone requesting approval after you have submitted your purchase for payment? The SMS message could have a link that will authorize the transaction?

about 9 years ago



I haven't experienced it first hand but some of my friends say that it works.

almost 9 years ago


Credit Card Deals

Alternatively, your computer may be compromised by malware (downloaded from some other website) which means you don't know your payment is being made to some fake site, so can't they just follow the fraudulent purchases to the CC thief that way?  Maybe that is too easy, I don't know.Anyway.



about 8 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.