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A Temporary Tattoo Could Replace Your Credit Card

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If you’ve ever been to a music festival, sports stadium or any other crowded event, you may have been concerned about carrying a purse or wallet, which can not only be cumbersome, but can make you the target of pickpockets. And the alternative of carrying a solitary plastic credit card isn’t much better since they can easily slip out of your pocket.

Those concerns might disappear in the not-so-distant future, thanks to technology being developed for ultra-thin, contactless payment stickers similar to temporary tattoos.

MC10, a healthcare technology company, is developing tattoo wearables that can affix to a payer’s body as a breathable, waterproof NFC, or near-field communication, payment solution. Think of it as a tattoo that can give you far more than just street cred.

The wearables are designed to pair with a smartphone, which can then allow them to make payments to a merchant using an NFC reader. The “tattoos” are also designed for limited use — once the wearer removes it, it’s rendered useless.

MC10 was originally designed to measure individual UV exposure, but the company hopes to find traction in the payment arena, striking a balance between convenience and security. According to Ben Schlatka, MC10 VP of Corporate Development and Co-Founder, “[The only client] with the platform so far is L’Oréal’s [for its] My UV Patch, a sensor designed to help users monitor their sun exposure.”

Developers will be working with third-party brands to customize the patch and are working on designs for hotel room access, event registration, event admission and to expand to the payment arena.

“Brands will be able to customize the sticker for unique, interactive experiences that both simplify commercial transactions and engage consumers to build loyalty,” Schlatka said in an email.

According to the MC10 marketing department, the chip ensures secure transmission of user data to a smart reader with 32-bit data protection. The devices are pre-programmed with a 7-byte unique ID and contain a unique signature for secure tokenization.

Testing Out New Payment Tech

Remember, it’s always in your best interest to read all the terms and conditions associated with any payment method you use, whether new or old school, so you know, among other things, what data exactly is being scanned, where it is being stored and what security features are in place to lock down the information should the tech get stolen or your information be otherwise compromised.

And, no matter what security features you have in use on your payment options, you will still want to monitor financial account statements for signs of fraud.

You can also monitor your credit to spot signs of new-account fraud, should you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised. (You can pull your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and see your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.) Signs of your identity has been stolen include a sudden drop in credit score, mysterious accounts or high balances you weren’t aware of.

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