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Traditional Credit Cards

April 03, 2008
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The Traditional AMEX Credit Card Is Still Resisting the High-Tech Inroad

High technologies began assimilating into the US credit card payment industry long ago and have since got widely adopted. Traditional plastic cards, be it debit or credit, have been slowly but surely replaced by key fobs and chains, armbands, wristwatches and contactless payment tags available with most big issuers such as American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Chase bank and Citibank.

However, a traditional looking bank card, a standard-sized piece of plastic with the issuer's logo, is never likely to give up and even seems to restore its initial function of a basic payment tool, as it is at American Express company.

American Express is reported to be abandoning the issuance of the "Express Pay" fob, an analog to a standard credit card attached to key chain and worked out primarily to give more ease and convenience to customers.

Why is the company winding up the program which, as expected at the time of testing, somewhere 6 years ago, would have been a success by now? The reason for this lies in the common habit among customers to use a traditional looking plastic card, even if some claim that it's a bit troublesome for them to rich in the pocket for the card when queuing.

It is the mentality and we are not ready as yet for something utterly new, accepting, however, some convenience-targeted innovations, such as non swipe credit cards.

Sales figures and public opinion poll reveal that about 3% of all bank cards, credit or debit, belong to the no swipe production and its popularity is growing. Cardholders cite convenience, credit card fraud protection and a habitual appearance as the three major factors keeping them devotedly using the traditional plastic.

There are lots of other small things that count for customers choosing a regular credit card, and American Express guys are well aware of them. A credit card allows you to order your own design, print down your or your pet or relative photo. A standard credit card is big enough to boast of its logo or platinum status indicating to your income and financial standing.

Why switch on to all those fobs, key chains and wristwatches when the standard AMEX plastic offers you its best credit card bonuses, enticing rates and irresistible promotion periods? Convenience reason does not seem enough to have customers change their habits. So, American Express has dropped it high-tech payment device out of its unpopularity and hurled to improve its no swipe cards.

And there is much to do to intensify their protection from the scanning tricks actively practiced by fraudsters. Known are cases when non swipe credit card information was read with a distant credit card reader and used for fraudulent purposes. However, American Express and all the major issuers, such as Citibank and Chase bank, are equipping their cards with anti-readable devices so that customers felt at ease queuing in a supermarket or somewhere else.

So, is the age of the traditional credit card persisting? We guess so, at least for the next few years.

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