Citi Testing Card With Button That Lets You Choose To Pay With Reward Points

A credit card with a button? Yep. That exists. Citi is testing a card with an actual button on it that, when pressed, switches the card from regular credit to reward points.

According to Mint.com, the redemption rate isn’t awful:

You would spend 10,000 points instead of $100; 2,500 points instead of $25. (Meanwhile, you would need 3,500 points in most cases if you’d like to redeem them for a $25 gift card from Citi’s ThankYou rewards catalog.)

While switching from rewards to regular credit sounds nice, if not particularly useful every day– the company that makes the cards says that’s just a very basic example of what their product can potentially do.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Consumerist spoke to a rep from Dynamics Inc, the company that makes the fancy cards.

Embedded in the card is technology that lets the card user press one button to use the card as a straight credit card or another button that utilizes reward points instead. The company claims the cards are waterproof; the Dynamics rep even demonstrated this by dunking a working card into a fish tank full of water. Additionally, the cards are all coated in plastic that also acts to protect the swipe strip on the back.

Dynamics also has other cards it claims are being tested by all major U.S. banks. One card allows the user to have multiple accounts on a single card. The push of a button switches between those cards.

Another card, dubbed the most secure credit card in the world, has a small readout screen in place of four of the credit card numbers. To have those numbers appear — and to activate the swipe strip — the user must enter a code on the buttons. When the code is not activated, the card can not be swiped. It also has a button to generate a dynamic 3-digit security code for online purchases. This number changes with each activation, so even if someone learns your whole credit card number, they will not be able to make online purchases.

Dynamics’ Card 2.0® Technology – Best of Innovations Winner at 2011 CES – To Power New Citi ThankYou(SM) Prestige 2G Card [CES]

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  1. Alvis says:

    This is the stupidest goddamn thing I’ve seen in recent memory.

    You want a card that works two ways? Print one magnetic stripe on the top, and one on the bottom. Call it the Flip-N-Choose or something. You’re welcome, Chase, I just saved you a mint.

    • hansolo247 says:

      Totally, although I think the idea is to pass on the cost to the user, either in the form of crappy rewards, minimum spending, high rates, or an annual fee.

      I’m sure the swipe rewards incurs some kind of fee, too.

    • obits3 says:

      “Call it the Flip-N-Choose or something”

      New slogan:

      Chase Flips off the tab.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      What a fantastic concept.

      *Tiptoes off to the patent office.*

    • ben says:

      Except…

      While switching from rewards to regular credit sounds nice, if not particularly useful every day— the company that makes the cards says that’s just a very basic example of what their product can potentially do.

    • SabreDC says:

      What would you do in newer gas pumps where they have magnetic readers on all four possible positions (so you can enter a card forward, backward, upside-down forward, or upside-down backward)?

  2. hansolo247 says:

    If anyone has seen Stepbrothers, I love the tag.

    Boats and Hos!

  3. Southern says:
  4. Supes says:

    The “secure” credit card is far more interesting than the one that lets you switch to rewards points.

    The real question is when will we get rid of the magnetic strip and go to the European smart chip system.

    • Ephraim says:

      There is only one financial institution in the US that is issuing the cards, the UN Credit Union.

      Odd, isn’t it, since in other countries… American Express issues them, Chase issues them, BofA (MBNA) issues them… and you can always get one from Travelex.

  5. bbf says:

    Yep, cause it’s just *so* hard to apply your rewards to your credit card bill online.

  6. Ephraim says:

    Where’s the button that brings out the EMV chip, so you can use the card to pay all over Europe?

  7. Chaosium says:

    Eh, this just seems to be a gimmick designed to distract Citi customers from their terrible rates & policies.

    “Another card, dubbed the most secure credit card in the world, has a small readout screen in place of four of the credit card numbers. To have those numbers appear — and to activate the swipe strip — the user must enter a code on the buttons. When the code is not activated, the card can not be swiped. It also has a button to generate a dynamic 3-digit security code for online purchases. This number changes with each activation, so even if someone learns your whole credit card number, they will not be able to make online purchases. “

    I like this, though!

    “Dynamics also has other cards it claims are being tested by all major U.S. banks. One card allows the user to have multiple accounts on a single card. The push of a button switches between those cards.”

    And this functionality as well, I’ll enjoy it when companies other than Citi start incorporating the features.

  8. Blachkawk47 says:

    I think this is a clever way to get you to overdraw your rewards points. Then Citi can charge you a $39 convenience charge for covering your mistake with your credit line at a special rate of 29%. Remember there is always a profit angle on these things

  9. tooluser says:

    A card with built-in 3G that will display a message if fraud is suspected or if your next transaction will be declined for some reason.

    Million$ in my mailbox any day now…

  10. gman863 says:

    Did it ever occur to banks that the easiest way to handle rewards would be to automatically credit the “cash back” value of the points to the statement at the end of each month?

    Chase used to do this until they “upgraded” my account to a Sapphire Card (I had no choice in the matter). Now, to redeem points, I have to go online to my account, access the rewards page, choose “Pay Yourself Back” and enter in a transaction from the past 60 days that is equal to or less than the current points balance.

    The push button rewards card won’t catch on simply for the fact that banks want to make redeeming rewards as tough as possible.

    • jesirose says:

      That’s what my rewards card does, because I chose “Cash Rewards”. I have another one with rewards that just bank up, and I can use them as miles, or get all sorts of gadgets. Not everyone wants the same thing, in fact not everyone wants just ONE way to do it.

    • hansolo247 says:

      That’s what USAA does, although debit pays monthly, but credit pays yearly.

      Debit is 0.50%, paid monthly

      Credit is 0.45% up to $5K, paid yearly. After $5K it goes up to 0.85% then gradually to 1.25% if you buy a lambo or something.

      I’ve always been wanting to model which I should use. I lean toward debit, as I have been buying 3%+ dividend stocks at low P/Es with spare cash.

      • gman863 says:

        PenFed offers a card with 3% on gas and groceries, 1% on everything else credited to your account monthly.

        I’d go for it except I’m considering a re-fi on my house at a lower rate and don’t want the inquiry on my credit score.

        • nbs2 says:

          Did they change the new customer offerings recently? I’m on a 5/2 gas grocery, which are its exclusive uses.

  11. The Lone Gunman says:

    This has got to be a Proof of Concept type of thing. I just don’t see it catching on in a big way.

    • SabreDC says:

      Considering that the article says “the company that makes the cards says that’s just a very basic example of what their product can potentially do”, I’d say that’s exactly what this is.

  12. ecvogel says:

    My paypal security key is credit card sized. press a button and it changes the PIN on the epaper.

  13. Razor512 says:

    so you switch to reward points but t doesn’t tell you how many you have so you will never know if it will cover the purchase you are going to make unless you checked online prior to leaving the house.

    • Razor512 says:

      Also wanted to add, 1 card that allows you to scroll through multiple cards means that if someone steals it, they have access to lots of credit cards instead of just 1.

      The only useful item they have will be a secure card which requires you to enter in a password for the card before it will give a number or function will be the best option.

      • tooluser says:

        Embedded fingerprint reader.

        But then the thieves will cut your finger off.

        Oh well. No such thing as a free lunch.

  14. webweazel says:

    On my wish list is a card that has a button on it that I can scan in different “rewards” cards from all the different damn stores that are pushing them. Then, I would only have to carry ONE card rather than 30.

  15. nbs2 says:

    We normally use our 5/2 gas grocey PenFed Visa at those locations. Once the annual spend on our AmEx Blue Cash hits 6500, then it becomes the grocery card of choice. Although, adding the Costco is attractive for the 3 at restaurants, the missus isn’t too enthused with the idea of adding it. We have had a couple of other branded CCs for the usual 5% (we are considering adding the Target to our arsenal). But, my expansion plans are being tempered by the caution of my more responsible half.

    Focused versus general use CCs was not a topic that we discussed before getting married. The topic isn’t a show-stopper, but it is a division in money management issues.