American Express offers online smart card application
A new smart card application for American Express Blue card members (in the US only) is being made available for download via the internet. The application, 'ID Keeper', stores multiple web site addresses, online identities, and passwords for greater e-shopping convenience and security.
Working on a similar basis to the B Smart chip card application launched by Mexican bank, Banamex, just a few months ago (see Sep. 7, 2002), ID Keeper is designed to offer consumers easy, automated access and entry to favourite web sites, and to provide a secure way to shop online.
"ID Keeper combines the security and flexibility of smart chip technology with the convenience and reach of the internet," explained David Bonalle, general manager of advanced payment development for American Express. "ID Keeper delivers on the promise of smart chip applications available via the internet, while adding an extra consumer benefit to Blue cards."
Downloading the application Blue card members can download the free ID Keeper application by going to the American Express web site, inserting their Blue card into a PC-based smart card reader, and downloading the application directly onto the card. They can then configure their own list of favourite web sites, identities, passwords, and other information.
PC-compatible smart card reader/writers are available directly from American Express. Available within the US only, a standard serial-port device is free of charge, and can be requested via the American Express Blue web site. Card members can also choose to buy a USB version of the terminal for US$29.99, or a specialised computer keyboard (made by Compaq) with a built-in reader/writer for US$59.99.
The internet download facility was created using the Affina Life Cycle Management System, developed by the Datacard Group.
"We launched ID Keeper back in December 2002, and have already incorporated it into the marketing and advertising surrounding the Blue card," commented Tony Mitchell of American Express. Although it is the company's policy not to reveal precise numbers, he added, "We are very happy with the good level of take-up and downloads we've seen from the site."
A bright Blue future Since the Blue card's launch in 1999, American Express has extended the global reach of its smart card with a number of international launches including Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
When asked if the ID Keeper application was likely to be made available in other regional markets (such as Europe), Mitchell declined to comment directly but added, "We are committed to smart card applications on Blue throughout the world but, because interest in different types of application varies from market to market, other applications may appear on European cards." By way of example, Mitchell cited the current European fascination with EMV payment standards, and using smart cards as a means of security.
Smart chip features on the cards, which vary according to regional market needs, have already included online security, loyalty applications, and secure point-of-sale payments.