By Shriya Roy
As we move towards a cashless economy, it has become increasingly important to invest in systems that incorporate secure technology. A step in this direction is numberless cards. These cards, which don’t have any visible number or code inscribed on them, enhance the security of a user. If a customer happens to lose it, there is a reduced risk of their personal information being leaked if the card falls in the wrong hands. For payment authentication, a customer just has to enter a PIN, which is usually one-time use only, limiting the possibility of fraud. Some numberless cards also allow other forms of authentication other than the PIN. Additionally, most of these cards are connected to their respective apps on a user’s phone, aiding easy deactivation.
Recently, India saw its first numberless card being launched. FamPay, a mobile bank for teenagers that provides cashless transaction options, introduced FamCard. It is like a debit card, but one that teenagers can use to make payments independently, relieving parents of the trouble of giving them hard cash or their own debit or credit cards. With FamCard, minors can make online, as well as offline payments without having to set up a bank account. All transactions done through it are protected. Essential details are stored in the FamCard app on a user’s phone. The card, if misplaced or stolen, can be easily deactivated using this app.
There are several other companies which are also moving to the world of numberless cards, incorporating tech with finance. Grab, south-east Asia’s leading ride-hailing, food delivery and cashless payment solutions app, launched Asia’s first numberless card last year. The GrabPay Card aims to aid financial inclusion of millions of people in the underbanked and unbanked categories living in south-east Asia. Card details are stored in the GrabPay app, limiting security risks.
Developed in partnership with MasterCard, the GrabPay Card also enables consumers to earn GrabRewards, as cardholders earn rewards points on purchases made using the card. It comes with the feature of an in-app card lock function as well that is PIN-protected, allowing users to instantly suspend payments in case they lose the card.
Tech giant Apple, too, has its own numberless credit card, which is part of its Apple Pay services. The card aids shoppers in making purchases through their Apple phone or watch. It uses Touch ID to reduce fraud. While there is no visible number on the card, it is stored in the digital wallet associated with the card on a user’s phone.
Following Apple’s footsteps, Curve, a credit card and app business, also came out with its new numberless card in April this year. The number of the card is stored inside the software and can be accessed by customers through the Curve app. The card works in all countries that accept MasterCard and features contactless, chip, PIN and magstripe processing.
Spanish multinational commercial bank Banco Santander has also entered the game by launching its first numberless credit card in Mexico. The card displays only the name of the cardholder and the expiry date. The bank says its card can reduce the risk of fraud by up to 90%. The lack of digits is made up for by using a digital card with a CVV. It also features a PIN that customers can use for making transactions. They can use this card to make purchases in physical stores as well. For online transactions, customers can use the digital version of their cards by using the Super Wallet app. If they want to access their card details, they can do so by using the Super Wallet app.
Numberless cards are slowly but surely revolutionising digital payments and making them more secure. And the fact that one can easily block the card through a secure app on their phone makes it doubly effective.