Second Generation of Credit Cards Are Here

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Citibank is set to begin testing of “Citi 2G,” the next generation of credit cards next month. The picture shown below from Citi provides an example of how the new cards will look.

With 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. The battery will have about four years of life.

The two buttons on the front of the card allows a customer to choose between “Regular Credit” and “Request Rewards” when paying for their purchases. If they choose the “Regular Credit” button, they will be able pay for their purchase with credit as they normally would, or if they choose “Request Rewards,”, they will be be able to redeem points or cash rewards. When a button is pressed, the card is activated, and the corresponding light will turn on to confirm the option selected.

Citi’s employees have been testing 2G cards since May, and now it will be made available to Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard and Citi PremierPass Elite card holders next month in a pilot program. Citi will gather feedback from these customers and then plans to offer the cards on a larger scale in 2011.

The cards, were tested by robots to make sure they would hold up for thousands of swipes and they can even withstand washing machines.

via NY Times