There has been a lot of buzz over the past week about Card 2.0, a new type of credit card, developed by Dynamics, a technology start-up. The founders won both the first prize and the people’s choice award at DEMO, a start-up conference in Silicon Valley.
So what’s all the hype about? Well, it is mostly about the card’s security features, which are both novel and promising. Dynamics MultiAccount enables users to link two accounts on one piece of plastic.
The Card 2.0 Hidden version is deactivated and unusable by default. It hides six of the 16 digits of the account number on the front of the card. In their place there is a blank LED screen, which prevents anyone from seeing the full account number. Moreover, the card’s magnetic stripe is erased, so its information cannot be read. When a cardholder wants to use the card, he or she must first enter a PIN code using the five buttons located above the account number. If the code is correct, the missing six digits appear within the card number and the magnetic stripe rewrites itself with the account information.
This is a great security feature, because the card is totally unusable, unless the cardholder knows the associated PIN. Credit card companies are sure to love it too, because they are the main victims of credit card fraud. Cardholders are protected from fraudulent transactions and the liability is borne by the card issuers.
The other version of the card – MultiAccount – can link two separate accounts. The front of the card displays two account numbers, none of which has any of its digits hidden from view. Instead, to the right of each number there is a button, which enables users to select the account they would like to use, and a LED signal, which indicates the selection. Once you make the selection, the magnetic stripe rewrites itself with the information of the selected account.
According to Dynamics’ founders, the multi-account linking feature could be used, for example, by cardholders who want to combine a credit and debit card on the same piece of plastic. Alternatively, users can link a personal and a business account on a single MultiAccount card. Those of us who would like to reduce the weight of plastic in our pockets would probably welcome this feature, provided it doesn’t mix up account information and works as advertised. It is not clear whether two cards issued by different banks can have their account information loaded on a single MultiAccount card.
Dynamics has not yet released information on when their cards would be available to consumers, but according to Mashable, several major banks have been working with the company and the first cards will be launched “soon.”
Image credit: Dynamicsinc.com.