A New Card from American Express

18 September 1999
A new credit card issued by American Express Co. will make life easier for online shoppers by offering highly secure financial transactions. It could ultimately lead to greater convenience and higher security for online bettors too.

Simply known as "Blue," the card has both a a traditional magnetic stripe for shopping in stores and a smart chip that will hold personal information like shipping addresses and account data. Cardholders will be able to supply online merchants with the personal information in a secure manner.

Come November, Blue card holders will be able to enter relevant personal purchasing information--which is typically demanded by Internet stores--into a new program, American Express Online Wallet, for free. When customers make online purchases, they open their electronic wallets, with the help of a smart card reader, and automatically fill out the merchants' purchase forms.

The smart card reader would connect to the card member's computer read the unique digital code on the card to allow the card holder to unlock his "wallet" of personal purchasing information.

The card will require no annual fees and is being introduced with an introductory zero percent interest rate for the first six months. The fixed rate beyond that period could be as low as 9.99 percent.

The card could establish its usefulness in the online gambling business. A player using the card would be able to conduct secure online transactions with a wagering site without having to open an account with the site. For site operators, that would spell more customers, but less money wagered by individual customers in the absence of betting accounts.