When I Say Charge It

If you lose your credit card, or someone gets the number, what's to stop that person from going on a shopping spree? If you have an ordinary card, there's not much you can do, except report the fraud immediately. Well, get ready for a new type of plastic protection.
   Electrical engineers have developed a credit card that has a tiny microphone, a loudspeaker and a voice recognition chip built in.
   Alan Sege, CEO, Beepcard, Inc.: "Inside of that card is a little computer that recognizes spoken commands."
   It's a way to verify ownership of the card during a phone or online purchase.
  "Instead of swiping your card like you do in the store, you press a button on the card. It asks you to say your password, and if it's you saying your password then the card authenticates you." You'll hear a beep that sounds like a fax machine, but it's actually an acoustic ID signal. You hold your card up to the telephone or microphone on your computer, and the signal is sent to the bank's server for authorization. The card is then unlocked for use.
   "This is a way that you can make sure that only you can make transactions of a certain size on the internet." If the voice and password don't match, access is denied. It's not theft proof, but close.
   "In order to use the voice card functions, they would have to know your password, and they have to have a similar voice." The voice card is still in prototype form, but researchers expect it to be available to consumers within six to seven months.
   The voice activated cards can also be programmed to recognize up to 200 words, like 'program my tip', or 'read my shopping list'. How does it work?  Click on "Know More".