The advent of credit cards has changed the way people live. We no longer have to carry cash around with us. With credit cards we can easily pay immediately in person, online and worldwide. Another advantage of credit cards over cash is protection against theft.
However, this has not allayed concerns about credit card theft as it can be time consuming and also very disruptive to deal with. In response, new payment methods have been developed, each with their own protection. However, it is still clear that nothing is tamper-proof.
The desire for more secure payments is part of the reason that the use of digital payment systems like PayPal has exploded in recent years. To capitalize on this trend, Apple recently introduced a new product that takes the benefits of credit cards and digital payments. Some media have named the Apple Card the Apple Card, calling it a great advance in secure payments.
However, the truth is that digital credit cards like the Apple Card are very prone to theft. Many consumers therefore still prefer classically secure credit cards with security, fraud detection and credit monitoring.
Dealing with a stolen digital credit card raises serious questions about the legal obligations and ramifications faced by victims of credit theft crimes.
What is a digital credit card?
Unlike a traditional credit card, which is usually a small piece of plastic with numbers printed on it that you keep in your wallet, a digital credit card only exists in cyberspace and you keep it in a digital wallet on one Computing device such as a smartphone. Since there is no physical card to steal and their numbers are not presented to anyone in public, these cards can theoretically be more secure than standard cards.
The Apple Card is actually both a digital and a physical card. While you can use the digital card on the iPhones using a virtual number or the company’s Apple Pay app, you can use the physical card for brick and mortar purchases that do not allow contactless payments. Again, this is said to be more secure than conventional physical cards, as no card numbers or CVV codes are printed on them. All of this information is instead embedded in the computer chip that is on the card.
Theft of digital credit cards
While the Apple Card was touted for its security when it was released, a number of theft claims have been made. Interestingly, there were claims for theft in relation to all three product variants: the physical card, the virtual number linked to the digital card, and an Apple Pay transaction.
Of the three types of theft, the theft of a physical card was the most likely. Despite its computer chip and lack of printed numbers on the card, it’s just as prone to cloning and skimming as other physical credit cards. The surprise was how quickly cyber thieves figured out how to compromise the digital aspects of the card.
In one case, a cardholder allegedly used his virtual number by a thief at his daughter’s school, leading to speculation that the thief had somehow hacked the school’s payment systems. Another cardholder who lives on the west coast claims someone in Chicago stole the number associated with their Apple Pay account.
While digital cards are more secure than physical cards, they don’t seem to be immune to theft. This leads to the question of what liabilities victims of such theft may have and what other problems they may face.
Liabilities for theft of digital credit cards
Under US federal law, credit card holders are liable to no more than $ 50 if a thief steals and uses their card. The card must be reported as lost or stolen within two working days of the discovery that the card is no longer valid. This law applies to all credit cards issued by financial institutions in the United States, regardless of whether they are physical or digital. Apple, like most premium credit card companies, goes a step further and protects cardholders from any theft. However, not all digital credit card companies may offer such protection.
As mentioned earlier, liability for theft isn’t the only security risk facing credit card holders. They are also concerned about the time it takes to resolve any theft problems and the disruption that these problems can cause in their lives. In this regard, digital credit cards do not seem to offer any tangible advantage over traditional cards. Products like the Apple Card can actually make these problems worse because of all the variations in products and numbers they offer cardholders. They can also add complexity to the security of all of this information. With a classic card, the information is limited to numbers. However, with a digital card, if an account is hacked, personal information can become more vulnerable to abuse.
While many have touted digital credit cards like the Apple Card as a step above standard credit cards in terms of security, they too have inherent problems. Additionally, dealing with these thefts is just as problematic and disruptive as dealing with thefts of standard credit cards, if not more. Remember, however, that if your data has ever been stolen, it is important to monitor your funds for suspicious activity.