Credit card security has progressed very little in the past few years. In fact, anyone who has seen his own signature reduced to chicken scratch on an electronic signature pad might argue that it has actually regressed. But a new voice-activated credit card from Santa Monica, Calif.-based Beepcard promises to take our precious plastic and make it virtually fraudproof.A voice-recognition chip, a microphone, a battery and a loudspeaker are embedded within the card, called Comdot. Despite all that technology, the card has the same length and width as a regular credit card and is only three times thicker. Here's how it works: When the card owner wants to conduct a transaction, he presses a button on the card that prompts him to say his password. If the password is correct and the voiceprint matches that of the card's registered owner, the card emits an audible signal called a "squawk," which wirelessly relays the necessary information to the merchant's server. The card doesn't require a special reader and can transmit its signal via a PC, cell phone or regular phone, so it can be used for remote transactions as well. The security benefits are numerous. Not only would it be very difficult for a fraudster to match a cardholder's unique voice-print, the audible signal emitted by the card also changes with each transaction to a sequence that only the server knows. So, a signal recorded from a previous transaction won't work again. Beepcard aims to have the card's battery capable of 10 transactions per day for two years before it runs out. The company is currently working to slim down the card's profile and increase its physical durability. But the prospect of this technology has security experts excited nonetheless. In a recent essay, security expert Bruce Schneier lauded the card as "perhaps the coolest security idea I've seen in a long time." But there are downsides. Price may be a factor. And if it is, customers won't want to pay more for Comdot than they currently do for a credit card. And merchants won't want to pay more to support it either. You only have to look at how Amex has fared with its higher fees to see where this could all end up.We do think it's pretty cool though as long as they don't take this talking credit card thing too far. "Put me back in your wallet. You know you can't afford that!"