A startup payment company, Dynamics, has rolled out a payment card that acts like a mobile device.
The card/device, Card 2.0, looks like a credit or debit card and includes an "Electronic Stripe" — a card-programmable magnetic stripe that can be read by existing point-of-sale magnetic stripe readers (60 million mag stripe readers still exist today). The information on the stripe can be changed at any time. The card is said to last three years on a single battery charge.
The card comes with payment applications. One, MultiAccount, lets users choose a bank account to pay from. It uses two buttons on the face of the card. Next to each button is a printed account number and a light source. A user can select an account by pressing one of the buttons. The card visually indicates the selection by turning on the light source associated with the selected account. The magnetic stripe information associated with the selected account is written to the Electronic Stripe. The card can then be swiped at any magnetic stripe reader.
Another payment app, called Hidden, provides security. There are five buttons on the face of the card and a display that hides a portion of the cardholder’s payment card number. To turn the device on, a user must enter a personal unlocking code into the card. If the user enters the correct unlocking code, the card will then visually display the user’s payment card number so that the user can read the number for online transactions. The Electronic Stripe is then populated with the correct magnetic information so that the card can also be used with magnetic stripe readers. After a period of time, the display turns off and the Electronic Stripe erases itself – thus removing all critical payment information from the surface of the card. If the card is lost or stolen, it is useless [unless the finder or thief knows or can guess the unlocking code].
According to Dynamics, card issuers can now introduce new payment functionality to all cardholder segments without changing the magnetic stripe infrastructure. For example, an issuer may introduce a fraud-reduction card in order to attract a security-conscious consumer, an enhanced loyalty card to attract an affinity-oriented consumer, and a money management card to attract a budget-conscious consumer.