Interestingly, the records of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office have revealed that Visa has made misstatements regarding the vulnerability of RFID chips currently placed in consumer credit cards.
Credit card companies recently contacted denied “electronic pickpocketing” is a legitimate issue for consumers. However, in 2006, in a Visa patent application, Visa’s director of product development warned that, “unfortunately, due to the wireless nature of the contactless portable electronic devices, it is entirely possible that a contactless reader may be used for surreptitious interrogation (e.g., data skimming). In addition, it is conceivable that a contactless reader may be developed or modified to generate a much greater RF signal strength and sensitivity and thereby increase the standard range.”
The director went on to describe the RFID cards’ susceptibility to electronic pickpocketing as “a major concern for consumers and businesses alike.”
He also suggested the problem could be solved by a secure sleeve that blocked the RFID signal.
Despite this concession in 2006, credit card companies have not warned consumers of this risk and have denied the risk exists at all.
Interesting that a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office record would catch Visa in such a blatant misstatement.