LAS VEGAS - Reporting from the Consumer Electronics show last week, the New York Times highlighted miniature, flexible computers that can act as "smarter" credit cards.
New York-based Dynamics Inc. has been manufacturing cards that assume multiple identities. One version allows users to switch between a checking and savings account (for instance, press a button and the magnetic stripe is configured to charge a purchase to a checking account; press another button and the stripe changes to access a savings account).
Another version is tailored to businesses and offers tighter security safeguards. A "combination" unlocks the computer, displaying the credit card number and a magnetic stripe containing the credit card accountï¿½ï¿½s information. When the card is switched off, the stripe and numbers disappear, preventing fraud if the card is stolen.
"Thereï¿½ï¿½s not one card for everyone," said Jeffrey Mullen, CEO of Dynamics Inc. "We are trying to be a technology innovation arm for an industry where thatï¿½ï¿½s never happened."
Each card contains a flexible circuit board, a battery and a programmable magnetic stripe. Mullen said some of the cards are being tested with bank customers, with Citibank offering a version of the technology that allows consumers to choose between paying with credit or rewards points.