Visa partnered with tech startup Dynamics to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) payment card that looks like a regular credit or debit card but has extra features likes alerts and coupon offers, the company announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and in a news release.
Dynamics's Wallet Cards let people access debit, credit, pre-paid, multicurrency, one-time use or loyalty cards on a single card with the tap of a button. Account information is shown on the on-card display with the ability to toggle between cards or accounts. Banks and other financial institutions can distribute the Wallet Card anywhere, including retail branches, and let consumers activate payments immediately.
The Wallet Card's 65,000-pixel display can also show real-time messages, such as coupon offers to use at the point of purchase. A chip inside the card re-charges its power supply through normal operation and doesn't need to be plugged in.
U.S. consumers have shown a reluctance to pay for things with mobile devices given the ease of using plastic debit and credit cards, which may give Visa and Dynamics an advantage in marketing Wallet Card. The IoT device comes equipped with plenty of built-in technology and, in linking together different accounts and cards for the user in one place, it could help de-clutter wallets and simplify mobile payments options.
In addition to streamlining the payments experience, its digital platform handles instant messages and notifications that let users keep track of account balances or suspicious payment activity. Security concerns and a lack of understanding remain one of the biggest barriers to adoption for mobile payments in developed countries like the U.S., according to Deloitte. Wallet Card physically resembling what consumers are already accustomed to, combined with greater security assurances, could make for an appealing draw, and other brands including Mastercard, JCB and others are experimenting with the technology.
Visa continues to try and innovate in the mobile payments space as it hopes that the technology catches on with consumers at scale. This will be a space to watch this year, as the brand will debut gloves, commemorative stickers and pins equipped with near-field communications chips at the Winter Olympic Games that let consumers make payments by tapping the devices to special checkout equipment.
Dynamics, which raised more than $100 million in funding from investors including MasterCard, CIBC, Adams Capital and Bain Capital, is pushing to get more financial institutions on its platform with the Wallet Card Consortium, Bank Innovation reported. Current members of the consortium include Visa and Mastercard, in addition to banks such as CIBC, Emirates NBD and Sumitomo Mitsui.