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Citi Piloting Chip-Embedded Reward Card

Buttons on front of card let customers use reward points or cash rewards at the point of sale, or just use their credit card normally.

Citi Cards will soon begin testing a type of chip card designed to let customers redeem reward points or cash rewards at the time of checkout. The Citi 2G credit cards have two buttons on the front of the card that let customers choose "Regular Credit," to pay for their purchase with credit as they normally would, or "Request Rewards," which lets them redeem points or cash rewards as they swipe the card. When the cardholder presses one of the buttons, the card is activated, and the corresponding light will turn on to confirm the option selected.

Here's a short video that shows how the card works:

"People don't typically think of credit cards as an innovative product, but we are excited to be the first issuer to pilot these advanced technologies and additional choice at checkout through the next generation of credit cards," said Terry O'Neil, Executive Vice President of Citi's North America Credit Card division. "With Citi's latest feature, customers now get a credit card that better fits their lifestyle and needs, putting more options right in their hands."

The size and shape of a standard credit card, Citi 2G cards feature programmable and electronic components, including a battery, an embedded chip, two buttons, and a card-programmable magnetic stripe. Citi 2G cards can be used wherever credit cards are swiped.

Citi 2G credit cards will be available to select Citi cardholders in a November 2010 pilot program. Citi will gather customer feedback with plans to offer the cards on a larger scale in 2011.

Citi plans to leverage technology developed and manufactured by Dynamics Inc., an innovator of advanced payment device cards, for the November 2010 pilot program.

"Citi is at the forefront of embracing and executing new technologies that bring greater value to consumers," said Jeff Mullen, CEO of Dynamics. "Never before has an issuer brought this type of capability to market, one that allows consumers to choose at the point-of-sale to use points that they’ve earned."

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