MasterCard International has replaced the hologram on its credit cards with a new one, to discourage counterfeiters.

Joel Lisker, MasterCard's senior vice president of security and risk management, said sophisticated criminals could manipulate previous holograms.

"They had been able to produce reasonably close facsimiles," he said. "We've simplified it, enriched it, and made it more recognizable at the point of sale."

MasterCard, based in Purchase, N.Y., started introducing the new hologram at the end of the year but announced it only last week.

"Over the past 13 years we've had a number of different holograms," Mr. Lisker said. "What we've done here is refine the hologram and tried to make it more difficult to recreate."

The new MasterCard hologram includes two apparently three-dimensional globes - the card association's symbol - as well as two rings formed by repeating the letters MC; the word "MasterCard" microprinted in the background in two alternating colors; and a hidden image.

Visa and MasterCard have used hologram technology since the mid-1980s.

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