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PIN and chip card

Air Force to issue smart travel cards

Like most businesses, the federal government has been concerned about combating fraud and identity theft among its employees. President Obama issued an executive order in October mandating federal agencies make upgrades to their payment and travel systems to increase the security of financial transactions. 

Keeping in line with the president’s vision, the Air Force announced it will begin to issue chip and personal identification number-enabled government travel cards this month to those applying for new cards, those who need replacements or those whose cards will expire this year.  

The new cards from Citibank are embedded with a microchip that provides for transaction encryption and an elevated level of authentication. Chip and PIN technology strengthens data security, better protecting cardholders’ personally identifiable information, as well as the government’s sensitive transaction and payment data.

Furthermore, Citi’s chip and PIN cards do not use RFID and so are not susceptible to “skimming issues,” in which hackers remotely read information from RFID cards. Citi’s cards will include both chip technology and magnetic stripe technology, commonly found in ATM cards. 

More primitive cards that merely feature magnetic stripes and PINs are less secure as they are incapable of dynamic authentication, a process that generates a different transaction code at every transaction ensuring greater data protection.      

“Starting in January 2015, only Chip and PIN travel charge cards will be issued to DOD personnel,” according to a fact sheet by the Defense Travel Management Office.  

Posted by Mark Pomerleau on Jan 12, 2015 at 11:31 AM


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