Look into the future a moment and imagine Christmas shopping 2014. Target offers a great deal on a perfect gift. At the register, you recall that someone stole 40 million credit card numbers from the retailer in late 2013. Then, you as flick your fingerprint across the front of the biometric reader of your new credit card, you smile, relaxed that your number will work just a single time and thus would be useless to steal from Target’s computer system.
That’s the new technology in development at Epic One, a Houston startup that will introduce its pilot credit cards with fingerprint reader and microprocessor inside later this year. It works, in essence, by offering a type of dual factor authentication, a second piece of information that confirms that you are who you claim to be before approving the transaction. The Epic One card never exposes your Visa, MasterCard, Amex or other cards to the network where most of the data hijacking occurs.
When a shopper uses an Epic One card, his fingerprint scan on the card generates a green light on top that signals to the merchant it’s okay to swipe the card. Then the transaction is relayed to the card’s issuing bank and to Epic One. The only data Target sees is your Epic One card number plus the one-time use code. Even if someone hacks into the credit card processing system subsequently, the Epic One card number will not work a second time because the thief can’t generate a valid code to use it.
“The root cause of fraud is the exposure of this information,” says William Gomez Jr., the co-founder and CEO. “The Epic One card does not hold any details of any credit cards. Neither does the Epic One application that runs on your smartphone. None of these devices hold any of your credit card information. The Epic One card grants you temporary access to your cloud wallet that is stored within Epic One’s back-end systems.”