My Personal Finance Journey

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Do We Have Too Many Card Innovations?

Contributed by mm | May 23, 2005 3:24 PM PST

I'm a regular reader of CardWeb's CardTrak, a daily column of bank payment card news for consumers. Bank payment card is one of my favorite topics at PFBlog. Along in my journey, we've known that card issuers can sometimes be very generous, other times be really sneaky, and always be innovative. Check out the latest innovations in the industry:

Blink Card from Chase

The contactless payment solution from Chase: no more swiping or handing over your card to the cashier; all your need to do is to hold the card near the POS terminal. Is it a godsend?

The problem is: nowadays, there are less and less stores requiring you to hand over the card. How much time will it really save you (and the merchant) between swiping and wavering the same card? (You might have to take the blink card out of your wallet anyway, otherwise you cannot specify which card to use if you have multiple blink cards in your wallet.)

American Express Travelers Cheque Card

The biggest innovation of this Cheque Card? It is NOT linked to a checking account, and therefore should be safer. Come on, American Express, let's call it a reloadable gift card. It is almost a crime for such a gift card to bear $14.95 issuance fee, $2.50 ATM fee, $10 cancelation/redemption fee and $5 reload fee.

Allow Card

An ideal card for your kids in their teens: Allow Card is a PIN-based debit card that allows parents to set spending limit, and limit its usage to certain merchant categories. The latter feature is important: you now have the perfect weapon to give your kids money on books without wondering whether they will divert the money for video games.

The card comes with an impressive fee schedule, too. To name a few: 2%-2.5% for each reload, $1.50 for each ATM withdrawal, $15.00 for a paper statement. Well, maybe you shouldn't complain too much. At least, Allow Card is probably the most useful innovation among the three.

Do we just have too many innovations in the card industry?

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