Technology

Why travel insurance won’t protect your cards

Hannah Edensor

We don’t travel without travel insurance, so why not add protection for our passport and credit cards?

That’s the logic behind Armourcard, the latest product to jump on the travel tech scene, with its sole purpose being to prevent your data from being stolen.

Radio Frequency Identification technology, or RFID, used in passports and ‘tap and go’ credit cards has seen a jump in ‘electronic pickpockets’, both in our own backyard and abroad.

According to Andrew Cathwright from Mastercard, ‘Tap & Go’ equates to 2% of all fraud in Australia, equalling approximately $120 million, and yet this is accounting for what is known or reported.

In 2011 alone, $6 Billion was attributed to fraud, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology’s 2011 report, making this product more relevant than you might think.

ppprotect1501015_3

With our data in tow, these crims can extort funds or steal information from us, without our documents – like our credit cards and passports – ever leaving our pockets.

Now, for most of us, being robbed of $50 won’t ruin our holiday, and if the number creeps a little higher, well that’s why we have travel insurance.

But what about our personal details – our passport numbers, photo IDs, credit card info – all of this can be skimmed wirelessly from up to a metre away, and we won’t even notice this invisible crime.

“This is a technical crime, we should tackle it with a technical solution,” Armourcard director Tyler Harris told Travel Weekly recently.

“These people can go as far as to take your information, and profile you as a person, then pull your name off your cards for identity theft. It’s a totally invisible crime.”

Harris kicked off the Armourcard project around two and a half years ago, in the hopes that we could actually prevent these crimes, rather than waiting for them to happen.

“Armourcard is a unique product,” Harris tells TW, “And the only one that jams the practice of stealing data. It’s active rather than passive.”

Armourcard jams the frequency 13.56 MHz, which is the most common frequency used for these contactless devices, Harris said, adding that the majority of people would not even know it’s happened.

The card is just inserted into your wallet alongside your passport and credit cards, with a protection range of 50 millimetres either side.

“It’s another line of protection that agents can offer to consumers,” Harris added, suggesting it should be “just another checklist” in the sales process for travel agents.

The first travel agency to stock the cards was Southlands Travel at Mawson in Canberra, a member of Magellan Travel Group, who began stocking and selling Armourcard in December last year, and who put in additional orders in January and February after selling out.

“We’re in the process of contacting other Magellan members, and what we can say is that so far, the feedback has been extremely positive,” MD of Powdersafe, the distributors of Armourcard, Tim Roberts said.

Harris explains it is a good incentive for agents, who can buy in bulk at wholesale price and resell to customers for the retail price of $49.95, adding another revenue stream in the booking of holidays.

Currently, Armourcard is sold online at www.armourcard.com.au, with 60% of sales currently hopping over to the USA.

JB Hi Fi started stocking it in selected stores in the last quarter of 2014, before rolling out to all stores in January, while other stores to pick up on the product include Harvey Norman, Vodafone Australia, and Tech 2 Go stores in Sydney Domestic Terminals.

Armourcard will also host a stall at AFTA in July, to bring travel agents into the loop with this protective product.

“Travellers to third world countries are especially vulnerable,” Harris explained.

“We’re starting with the travel industry, we’re hoping to take it beyond to all consumers, to encourage people to protect their valuable assets.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Hotels

These are Airbnb’s most wish-listed homes of the past decade

Looking for the perfect diversion on a busy Tuesday? This list of the most desirable Airbnbs of the past decade will have you ignoring your boss’ orders all afternoon.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Ardent Leisure could be hit with up to $3m in fines, as coroner releases damning report on Dreamworld tragedy

An inquest into the deaths of four people on a Dreamworld theme park ride in 2016 found a “systemic failure” in all safety aspects leading up to the incident.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Corporate Travel Management slams “false” media report on Asia CEO

by Huntley Mitchell

CTM is channelling Donald Trump’s “fake news” mantra today in defending itself against a story about its Asia boss.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WATCH: Virgin Australia reveals cabin crew sleeping quarters and a sneaky hidden door

Ever wondered where flight attendants sleep? Or have you seen an overhead storage bin with no handle and wondered what it was for? Virgin Australia has spilled the beans on the secret lives of its cabin crew.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

WebBeds hops under the sheets with Troovo

Do you possess a penchant for cheesy headlines? Well, please enjoy this one courtesy of our very unfunny editor.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Coronavirus expected to cause $44 billion loss to aviation industry

by Ali Coulton

A peak industry body has released some troubling predictions of what the impact on the novel coronavirus might look like for the aviation industry.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Canberra Airport ‘Master Plan’ approved, SAA’s birthday sale + MORE!

Have you started your working week in a bit of a slump? Soar on out of it here with our Aviation Wrap!

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Uproar over Rome’s plans to build a barrier around the Trevi Fountain

Critics have called plans to put an anti-tourist barricade around one of the city’s most iconic attractions “truly foolish”.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel Associates appoints GM for cruise division

The Flight Centre brand has announced the appointment of a games master for Cruise Boutique. Sorry, that should read general manager.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Australia’s first travel-specific coworking space opens its doors

If you need somewhere to meet a client or are just sick of your colleague’s loud chewing, boy have we got the answer for you.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wholesaler Wrap: Collette celebrates 5th anniversary in Australia, Globus previews 2021 European tours + MORE!

Out of sorts when it comes to the who’s who of the wholesaler scene? This week’s Wholesaler Wrap comes in the nick of time. 

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing confirms debris found in 737 MAX engines, as Qantas eyes cut-price deal

by Christian Fleetwood

Alan Joyce says Qantas’ “unmatched” safety reputation positions it to negotiate a discounted deal with Boeing for a new fleet of 737 MAXs when the jet is re-certified.

Share

CommentComments