itibank is about to roll out a flashy new version of the humble credit card equipped with a micro-engine allowing users to redeem their accumulated rewards points and potentially get their purchase for "free" anytime they swipe. Other card issuers are following suit, reports The New York Times, creating "newfangled" credit cards that feature batteries, lights, and "fraud protections baked right into the plastic." Will these 2G cards make life easier for consumers?
Everyone wins: This is "an idea whose time has come," says Dennis Moroney, a payments consultant quoted by Wallet Pop. Allowing consumers to pay with rewards points makes life easier both for them and for banks who "get the value of all those accrued points off their books." Other "high-tech" features could have "significant security benefits" — which are long overdue here in the U.S.
"New credit card technology will let you pay with reward points"
Too many bells and whistles: On a purely functional level, this "sets off my design aesthetic gag reflex," says JJ Sutherland at NPR. Shouldn't cards be made simpler, not more complicated? "Most people I know want fewer credit cards, less complexity, simpler interfaces, not more." File this one under "do we really need that?"
"Credit card makeover. Now more complicated!"
The problem isn't aesthetic — it's practical: Just have a think about "what's really happening here," says Brad Tuttle at Time. These new cards will be even "bigger enablers" of material overconsumption "than the standard credit cards of yore (and that's saying a lot)." While all that button pushing and hoping for "instant freebies" might seem fun, you'll just be left paying higher fees and attempting to keep up with the interest on unnecessary purchases.
"Citibank's credit card makeover: why I'm already not a fan of 2G plastic"
- The man who sued his wife for birthing an ugly baby
- What to expect when you're expecting (100 years ago)
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- Are differences in IQ to blame for income inequality?
- Australia just scrapped its debt ceiling. America should, too.
- How to dramatically improve your memory
- Watch The Daily Show pit Pope Francis against Fox News' 'War on Christmas'
- Why learning which of your Facebook friends hate you is a great idea
- The indignity of canine bath time
Subscribe to the Week