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Non Cents: New Card Tricks

Payment Cards for Modern Times

Jade Shames & Daniel Israeli
Editorial Board
Executive Summary

Innovations suggest a future where cards are very much alive, and can do far more than ever.

According to Gallup data, the average American owns between three and four credit cards, which in the past, may have added some unnecessary heft to your wallet. Now, though, there’s a company that aims to consolidate all your cards into one. It’s called the Wallet Card and it’s made by Dynamics. Much like the failed Plasticard, the Wallet Card houses all your cards in a single electronic device that looks and functions just like a regular payment card. It has an E-Ink display for toggling between accounts, a GSM chip, and a reprogrammable magnetic strip in the back. It can hold loyalty information as well. Owners of overstuffed wallets are rejoicing.

credit cards
3.5
the average number of credit cards owned by Americans
according to Gallup data

Meanwhile, Visa is improving on their namesake with a new fingerprint sensor. Developed by the Visa Ready for Biometrics program, the technology allows you to store your fingerprint on the card, which is used as an identifier—just like a signature—to authorize payments.

 

“The world is quickly moving toward a future that will be free of passwords,” said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions at Visa, referring to the proclivity and increased security that biometrics have to offer. The pilot will be conducted early this year.

 

With the development of eWallets, voice authorized payments, and similar technologies, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think that physical credit cards are on their way out. But these innovations show a different future—one where cards are very much alive, and they can do far more than they ever could.

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