Citibank announced this week the pending public release of the Citi 2G card, which uses technology from card innovation company Dynamics, Inc.
The Citi 2G cards, which will be released to a pilot audience in November, allow users to choose, via the touch of a button, if they want to pay using rewards cash or points or their standard credit card account. The payment technology includes two buttons on the front of the card. Using these buttons, shoppers can toggle between rewards and regular credit. The November release of the card, officially called the “Redemption” card, will be the first of its kind.
“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 VP 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 “Dividend” card allows you to choose between making a Regular Credit payment or a Request Rewards payment. In this case, choosing Request Rewards means the payment will be pulled from your Citi cash rewards balance. The “Premier Pass 2G” card gives you the same two options. In this case, choosing Request Rewards takes the payment from your Citi rewards points.
The cards have been in use since May by a small number of consumers across the U.S. as part of a “secret trial run,” according to Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen.
Dynamics Impacts the Market
The work of Dynamics, Inc., a relatively young company based in Pittsburgh, Pa., could potentially revolutionize the way consumers use credit cards. Though Citi is the first issuer to officially harness Dynamics’ technology, Mullen said the company is open to signing on to provide other companies with second-generation card service and has spoken with a “goog number” of other issuers. Aside its major partnership with Citi and the advent of the Citi 2G card, Dynamics has engineered some cutting-edge credit card products. The company introduced in September its Payments 2.0 cards, two innovative new cards that, together with the new Citi 2G cards, serve customers’ most pressing credit needs, according to Mullen.
The Citi 2G cards certainly cater to those who want to redeem their rewards easily. The Dynamics 2.0 cards meet the needs of the other two kinds of consumers.
The “Hidden” card from Dynamics corners the security-concerned market. The simple five-button display allows users to enter a passcode that unlocks the card for use. Before you type in the passcode, the card does not display the full number and the magnetic strip is turned off. The Hidden card is meant to keep functionality and ease of use at the forefront. The card — along with all of Dynamics’ other inventions — should take less than two seconds to use, according to Mullen.
The “MultiAccount” card is simple but extremely convenient. You simply program the card with two accounts — these could potentially be credit or debit, rewards or otherwise — and select one of the two before making a purchase. You can choose the account by selecting the corresponding button, which displays a light to show which you have chosen. The magnetic stripe on the back of your card will reprogram itself based on the selection you make.
“The average consumer carries four cards and the top-of-wallet card gets about 75% of the use,” Mullen said. “Consumers don’t necessarily want four different banking relationships. They want the different perks that come with each card.”
Each Dynamics’ card feels just like a normal credit card but contains a complex network of wiring and computer components embedded within the card itself.
Mullen founded Dynamics, Inc., three years ago while he was working on a graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The CEO, who holds patents on a number of different products, oversaw Dynamics’ journey from a seven-employee operation to a 21-employee business as the company received nearly $6 million in funding from Adams Capital Management.
The company plans to “add to the ecosystem” of the credit card market by releasing more innovative card products in the coming months and years.
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