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Not embedded in your hand, just your credit card.
July 3, 2001 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Not embedded in your hand, just your credit card. Your Providian VISA with Smart Chip Technology comes with a smart chip that's embedded on the front of the credit card. Soon, a smart chip will let you store information and applications that make shopping easier and more secure. Anyone here a little leary of this kind of "smart"ness? Thoughts?
posted by thunder (23 comments total)

 
my amex blue has had it for two years. haven't utilized it once. they even just recently stopped supporting the little reader (a computer peripheral that reads the chip) i got got for free.
posted by o2b at 9:36 AM on July 3, 2001


"Downloadable applications" such as...? Maintaining a record of your locations, shopping habits, right on your person instead of in some inaccessable database elsewhere. "Rewards for purchases" is behavior conditioning. Leery indeed.
posted by greensweater at 9:41 AM on July 3, 2001


Bring it on...I'm looking forward to being a half-man/half-machine cyborg-like creature. If it's good enough for Colonel Steve Austin and Jaime Summers (not to mention the dog, Max), it's good enough for me. Seriously.
posted by davidmsc at 9:49 AM on July 3, 2001


I am Locutus of Borg.

Local grocery stores stopped doing the 'card' thing because everyone signed up with fake names and addresses just for the discounts, so while they could still tally, they couldn't pin in on anyone. This "smart" technology gets around that nicely.

So far, what they "offer" TO THE CARD HOLDER doesn't seem to be anything beyond what you can now get with a credit card, as is my current understanding. (If I've missed something, please let me know.) And I have to wonder what ELSE they are doing with this smart chip that they DON'T tell us about. If we pop it out of our credit cards will we get an inexplicable form of cancer a la Scully? *grin* o2b - do you know why amex stopped using it? I wonder why Providian now thinks they can make it work for them? Curiouser and curiouser!
posted by thunder at 10:03 AM on July 3, 2001


o2b - do you know why amex stopped using it?

I was at an Internet marketing conference a few months ago, and heard a presentation by one of the people who worked on the AmEx account for his agency.

He said the 'smart chip' on the AmEx Blue card was mostly image -- an attempt to attract younger/upscale customers. He mentioned the reader, but basically said it didn't have any truly useful applications (at least for the day-to-day use of the card). The goal was to establish AmEx as the leader in 'cutting-edge' technology.

Does that answer your question?
posted by Dirjy at 10:10 AM on July 3, 2001


Does that answer your question? And my suspicions *grin* - thanks, Dirjy. Providian could very well be doing the same thing, being a leader in giving credit to 'anyone' and charging really high interest rates, et al. Also, the SmartChip card is CLEAR plastic (ooooh), another little marketing gimmick. Egad. *rolling eyes*
posted by thunder at 10:16 AM on July 3, 2001


...I'm looking forward to being a half-man/half-machine cyborg-like creature

This doesn't make you half-man/half-machine, davidmsc, it makes you half-man/half-lab rat.
posted by jpoulos at 10:17 AM on July 3, 2001


The credit/debit cards in Europe, or at least France, have had them since the mid-1980's, supposedly as an anti-theft/fraud measure. This always struck me as suspect since the U.S. economy has hummed along nicely without them, without widespread fraud, and greater rights/protection for the cardholder in case of theft/fraud. So it does sound like an image/prestige thing ("1980's technology!), or someone convincing someone to upgrade for no real reason.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:27 AM on July 3, 2001


dirjy: i don't think they even started using it. they just gave it out for free in the expectation that uses would materialize.
posted by o2b at 10:31 AM on July 3, 2001


You know, it's funny to see cards with these "smart chips" emerging now.

I worked for a restaurant five years ago, and our credit card machine had a little protrusion on the top clearly labeled as a smart card reader.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:44 AM on July 3, 2001


The credit/debit cards in Europe, or at least France, have had them since the mid-1980's, supposedly as an anti-theft/fraud measure.

I thought that was more because Europe didn't have the same communications infrastructure that the US has. If you can't dial up a global clearinghouse to determine whether somebody's going to pay for the product they're purchasing then it makes sense you'd want to be able to determine they're good for it at the point of sale. Same reason wireless phones are used to access internet services more frequently out of the US. Sure you can't get much more than simple text messaging, but if you don't already have a dial up account, then text messaging looks pretty good by comparison.
posted by willnot at 11:28 AM on July 3, 2001


That's nothing. They're now talking about putting smart chips into paper currency.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:48 AM on July 3, 2001


Well, I have had a Providian Visa for a while now, and MY big concern is that they are one of the most invasive companies out there. They would call every other day with some new offer and featured such impressive telesales personnel as the person who asked me twice "Well why not?" when I said I wasn't interested.

Not to mention the fact that two class-action suits have been won against them for hidden charges.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2001


Soon, a smart chip will let you store information and applications that make shopping easier and more secure.

Hmm... wonder if it'll run Linux.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2001


I put one of those Providian chips into my CueCat.
When I plugged it in, It generated an almost perfect Useless Technology Designed To Appeal To The Uninformed field.
It glowed green, it was pretty cool.
I got my mother to buy one of those picture frames that you connect to the internet. Normally, she'd know better.

Unfortunately, I operated the field a little too close to an iMac, and the thing overloaded.
posted by dong_resin at 12:27 PM on July 3, 2001


I'm not surprised Amex is lying about their smart card readers, since they're one of the slimier corporations on the planet. You know why your Amex card has "no pre-set spending limit"? Because they make it up on the fly, based on some combination of your income, any new personal information they can dig up on you and your "prior spending patterns." It can change from at least month to month, possibly more often than that, and the only way you'll ever find out that you've gone past it is when you try to use it and the card gets embarrassingly declined in public. If you do have one, for God's sake don't ever leave home with just that card. Always have another true credit card with you for when Amex decides it's your turn to get screwed.
posted by aaron at 12:49 PM on July 3, 2001


(snicker) dong-resin has a cue-cat! dong-resin has a cue-cat!
posted by davidmsc at 1:45 PM on July 3, 2001


Soon, a smart chip will let you store information and applications that make shopping easier and more secure.

Oooooooo, BFD! A piece of paper lets me store information! Somehow I think the store and the bank will benefit a LOT more than I will.

How will a piece of plastic make shopping easier? Is shopping really all that hard?? How "smart" is this card? Is it going to f*ing talk to me??? "Psst. Hey buddy. Nix on that box of condoms. Check the price on that other brand. Ho, yeah! Here, let me push the cart for a while."

And oh yeah, shopping is just so insecure. I mean, I tremble every time I walk from my car to the store. ("O god... please don't let me f*ck up again!")

Hah! Talk about a solution looking for a problem.
posted by Twang at 2:46 PM on July 3, 2001


Now if they could only implant a video camera in my forehead so that I could catch up on sleep during long meetings...
posted by fooljay at 3:15 PM on July 3, 2001


So why so negative? Surely this is just the next step in the enthralling History of the Credit Card, moving naturally towards better security and, yes, enhanced targetted marketing. Let's face it, magnetic strips are dead easy to copy and it's about time we had something that was a little bit more advanced. As for the target marketting, give yourselves enough credit (snicker) to just ignore it.
posted by MUD at 4:18 PM on July 3, 2001


I'm not surprised Amex is lying about their smart card readers, since they're one of the slimier corporations on the planet...

Aaron: I would love to know how you discovered this about American Express. A hot date? Stranded in Ho Chi Min City? Death Valley? Do tell! Or has it already been published?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:32 PM on July 3, 2001


I've been using a Mobil SpeedPass for years soley to buy gas, can't deny the potential for privacy abuse especially as they are allowing more and more places to honor their device which allows more and more tracking.

CueCat -- A TRUE geek would have the TV interface available at your local Radiohack (free I believe). This is a great example of using existing technology for unnecessary purposes.
posted by DBAPaul at 7:53 PM on July 3, 2001


CueCat -- A TRUE geek would have the TV interface available at your local Radiohack (free I believe).

A TRUE geek would laugh at the very idea. Or maybe not, I hear they're basically normal audio cables. Could be useful, especially for free.

This is a great example of using existing technology for unnecessary purposes.

Actually, it's more like creating a product for which there's no market -- a solution without a problem. That's a sure way to lose money. Here's what D:C is doing wrong:

1) Solution without a problem
2) Offering the solution for free
3) Money comes from getting people to pay them to become the "problem" to be solved from #1
4) What's with the colons? (":CueCat" ":CueTV" ":CRQ" "Digital:Convergence")

So what's they're doing is spending a lot of money creating and distributing a useless product, and trying to make that money back by convincing companies that there are enough people who own these devices to make it worth the money (which there aren't, because they have no use for the product, even if it is free).

(P.S. I have a SpeedPass, too. Car tag and keychain. I haven't used it in a while, though...I can go to Mobil and pay $1.69, or drive a little further and pay $1.57)
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:26 AM on July 4, 2001


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