Programmable credit card featured at CES

Jan 12, 2011 By Mark W. Smith

Meet the credit card of the future.

Built by Dynamics, these credit cards pack some serious computing power. They're one of the coolest - and most instantly practical - things I've seen at the 2011 International .

One of the cards includes five buttons, A through E, allowing the cardholder to set a pass code to unlock the card.

When the correct code is entered, the magnetic strip on the back is entirely rewritten digitally and is ready for use.

Without that code, the can't be used.

"If you lose the card or someone steals it, it's a dead piece of plastic," Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen told me.

Each of the cards looks and feels exactly the same as a conventional credit card. The electronics on the inside are encased in the card's thin - .033 of an inch - plastic profile. They're also waterproof, Mullen said.

The battery life is good, too, lasting four years, Mullen said. Most credits cards expire and are reissued after three years.

Another version of the card allows the holder to maintain two different accounts, say a personal and corporate account.

By tapping one of two buttons, the card's magnetic strip is again rewritten to allow access to that account.

There's also a card that allows holders to use their rewards points just like cash. Citibank announced this week that it would begin a trial run of this card.

"If you're short on cash or credit, you can use your rewards points at any merchant," Mullen said.

The cards were recognized at the trade show with one of CES's Best of honors.

Explore further: Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality

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maxcypher
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
If cash becomes obsolete, how will I help out the panhandlers?
Newbeak
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
You shouldn't give them money,as it often goes towards drugs,smokes,and booze.My city has a system that lets you buy tokens,which are good for a meal and coffee.
tjcoop3
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
In point of fact, having lived on the street myself at one time, most panhandlers are not on drugs or alcohol. The fact that you make that assumption is one reason why many never get help because people are "afraid" they might use the money for those things.
Fortunately the people involved in helping me were not as narrow minded as most. I am forever grateful to folks like them who are willing to actually get to know people instead of offering a buck or two or (tokens?).
What if they need the money to stay a night at a mission? Most of them charge a fee of $5-$10 per night.
This is just another ploy by politicians to keep homeless people out of their cities. How many people will go out of their way to purchase these tokens so they always have them just in case they run into a homeless person?
Not many and that is the hope of those who come up with such idiotic programs.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jan 13, 2011
Okay,point taken.I was originally going to suggest taking that panhandler into the nearest coffee shop and buy him lunch,as a columnist from the local paper said he did himself once.I am not sure if the Sally Ann in my town charges for a bed,especially in winter,as it gets brutally cold ,and spending the night outside could mean freezing to death.The indigent population here is largely native,and most of them,I am sad to say, are visibly intoxicated when we see them outside our downtown company lunchroom.I have never been homeless,thank goodness,but especially in summer,I also see many young people begging on the street downtown.There have been stories in the local paper that these young people live in upper middle class neighbourhoods,and are not above begging to make some easy money.
rgwalther
not rated yet Jan 13, 2011
The panhandler is not on drugs or alcohol while hustling. He is out of both, that is one reason why he is seeking money.
I did not say 'she' because I do not want to be sued. All of the hungry people in this country could be easily fed by canned food that, thanks to lawyers, must be destroyed when it reaches an arbitrary 'expiration' date.

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