Financial services giant MasterCard is set to unveil a new enhanced credit card featuring an LCD display and built-in keyboard in Singapore this January, ahead of a wider global rollout later in 2013.
Launched in partnership with the Asian arm of Standard Chartered bank and NagraID Security, the next-generation MasterCard Display Card is designed to alleviate the burden of carrying portable card readers – known in the banking industry as security tokens – to verify a range of common online transactions.
In addition to standard credit, debit, and ATM functionality, the MasterCard Display Card also sports touch-sensitive buttons for inputting information and an embedded LCD display to show authentication codes, making it a two-in-one security solution that negates the need for an auxiliary device.
"MasterCard continues to be at the forefront of payment technology. From launching the first 'paper' card in the 1950s, to introducing magnetic stripes and EMV chips for secure, digitised payments, we are pleased to have been able to support the launch of [the] first Display Card," said Matthew Driver, president of MasterCard Worldwide for South East Asia.
"With the continued growth in online and now mobile initiated remote payments, consumers are naturally demanding increased security. The innovative features of the Display Card serve to address this need, whilst empowering consumers to do so much more with their payment cards," Mr Driver added.
If the initiative is well received, additional convenience-led functions based around the DIsplayCard's LCD display could be introduced in the future. Further built-in card capabilities might include displaying balances, transaction histories, or loyalty points.
However, while innovative alternatives to security tokens are welcome, sceptics no doubt regard enhanced credit cards as simply a stop-gap solution ahead of the widely anticipated NFC mobile payment revolution.
Near-field communication technology is currently embedded into most high-end smartphones - the iPhone 5 being the notable exception - and it is thought that consumers will pay for a majority of transactions through their handsets in the near future, largely ditching plastic in the process.
MasterCard has its finger in the NFC pot, too, unveiling a mobile payment programme in 2011 and recently releasing a UI SDK for developers interested in incorporating the PayPass system into third-party apps.