Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forJanuary 3rd, 2004 | back to home

3 January 2004

Daniel Drezner cites a “Chicago Tribune article”:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0312250267dec25,1,7299722.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed about Xmas in Eastern Europe which notes in passing:

The biggest obstacle credit card marketers had to overcome in Hungary was fear of fraud. But consumer concerns about the safety of their cards have led to an important security innovation made possible by the explosive growth of mobile phones in Hungary.

Each time a card is used, the cardholder immediately gets a text message on his or her cell phone confirming the transaction and notifying the cardholder of the balance. Initially developed in Hungary, the messaging system is used widely in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is now being introduced in Western Europe.

Ingenious! Not an infallible system, however – around 2% of SMSes don’t get through I seem to recall so customers should be warned that there would still be a chance their credit card transactions could be un-confirmed. Also there is a small cost per message which would eventually be passed on to customers somehow through higher fees, lower rates or whatever.