Next month, Citibank will begin testing Card 2.0, a groundbreaking new credit and debit card device that securely links multiple accounts.
These futuristic cards stole the show at the DEMO startup conference last month in Silicon Valley. The cards have embedded buttons and graphic displays, yet they’re as thin and flexible as a normal credit card.
Citi’s version of the card will allow users to select between two buttons on the card at the register. One button will let the user pay with reward points; the other button lets them pay with credit. Cardholders can pay with rewards points anywhere their Citi credit card is accepted.
The cards will be called 2G (as in “second generation,” a naming convention similar to that of other mobile gadgets); each one will contain a chip and a battery with about four years of life.
Citi’s employees have been testing 2G cards since May, according to reports, and the bank plans to roll the cards out to its customer base in mid- to late 2011. Some cardholders will be selected to start using 2G cards now.
Citi’s Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard and its PremierPass Elite are both rewards-focused cards; they’ll be the first to be offered as 2G cards.
Jeff Mullen is CEO of Dynamics, Inc., the company behind the cards. He told The New York Times that Citi’s 2G cards were mere baby steps, saying, “We are just scratching the surface with what these cards can do with these initial products… We are trying to be the innovation arm of an industry that has never had one.”
Here’s a demonstration of how some other Card 2.0 products work: