Dynamics Inc. Puts A Computer In Your Credit Card

Posted by · January 12, 2012 10:45 am

Walking by the Dynamics booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I wondered why I’d never heard of Dynamics credit cards, and why a credit card company was exhibiting at CES.  So, when CEO Jeff Mullen pulled me aside and asked me to check out his product because “it will blow my mind,” I was more than a little skeptical.  But unlike so many CEOs and PR folks bloviating from nearby booths, Mullen’s cards are extremely cool and incredibly secure.

Credit Cards with Programmable Mag Stripes

Dynamics makes next generation credit cards that contain an entire computer architecture inside of them. The company has produced the first card programmable mag stripe that allows customers to turn the credit card on and make a selection on the card that will rewrite all of the information on the mag stripe.  Each card works on the nearly 60 million mag stripe readers around the world and given the fact that they’re putting mag stripe readers in places like sketchy Vegas cabs now, this additional layer of security can’t hurt.

With over 70 electrical components squeezed into 1/10 a cubic inch of volume, you’d think these cards would be bulky, but they’re not.  Dynamics credit cards are the same size and just as flexible as regular credit cards.

The company makes four different cards (all of which Mullen discusses in the video above), with the most secure card being the Dynamic credit card (according to Mullen, it’s the most secure credit card in the world).  The Dynamic credit card asks the card holder to enter a code into the face of the card.  Once you enter the right code, the credit card number is displayed visually for making online transactions, and the card writes the stripe magnetically for your in-store purchases.  After a period of time, the number and the stripe will erase, making a lost or stolen card completely useless. Additionally,  if you’re online, you can toggle to a one-time online use code on the Dynamic card. The mag stripe  also has one-time use codes.

Mobile Payments vs. Programmable Credit Cards

Mullen and I also discussed mobile payments and how products like Google Wallet compare to or compete with his company’s products.  Mullen says that he and his employees are putting most of their time and efforts into mag stripe infrastructure because consumers just aren’t comfortable with mobile payments.

“Mobile payments are extremely difficult and I don’t think that they will succeed at any notable level in the foreseeable future–even if you change the infrastructure,” Mullen said.  “In Japan, where the majority of internet users are accessing the web via their mobile phones and everyone has multiple mobile wallets in their phones, there is less than 1/1000th percent adoption of mobile payments.  It’s only slightly higher in Europe, and here in the US, it’s been determined that people view their credit cards as keys.  It’s ridiculous to think that you would put your car keys or your house keys on your mobile phone, so why would you put your credit cards on there? That’s why Google Wallet has seen such slow adoption and probably won’t succeed.”

That being said, Mullen did say that Dynamics has plans to launch a mobile payment product later this year.  Dynamics credit cards are currently being used in the US.  (Finally! A product that you might actually be able to get your hands on!) One of the cards Mullen used to demonstrate was actually a Citibank card. I’m going to ask my bank if they have plans to link up with Dynamics, and you should too.