MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With all the security breaches in the past year, many shoppers are concerned about using their credit or debit cards. But carrying large amounts of cash has its own risks.

A survey by Bankrate.com in November found more than a third of American shoppers planned to use debit cards for Black Friday purchases.

Many of those cards are tied to checking and credit accounts, and hold a wealth of personal information if hackers and thieves get their hands on them.

Now, a small Golden Valley company called Veritec Financial Systems is introducing technology it says offers an extra layer of protection.

CEO Van Tran said it’s a debit card with a virtual on-off switch.

“You use your cell phone,” Tran said. “You turn it on and off. We put the responsibility on your hand to control your own money.”

The card is known as Blinx On-Off. AAA in west-central New York will start offering the technology to its members next month.

With many pre-paid cards, a thief can drain them of all the money if stolen — and that’s your loss. But with the Blinx card, the thief gets nothing if it’s turned off, and your money stays in your account.

Many may consider it a hassle to have to take these extra steps. Tran says consumers shouldn’t just count on the banks for protection.

“Like anything security, it’s many levels, one on top of the other,” she said.

Right now, AAA in upstate New York is the only organization committed to using the Blinx technology, but Veritec hopes to line up other groups in the coming year.

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