The plastic in the average person's wallet and on his or her keychain is the result of a decades-long process that began with Farrington Manufacturing Co. in Boston, which in the 1920s developed small metal Charga-Plates for retail store shoppers.
Plastic cards today include driver's licenses, library cards, gift cards, hotel room keys, corporate identification badges and, of course, credit cards.
And the technology for credit cards is ever-evolving.
Because of concern about identity theft, Innovative Card Technologies (InCard) of Los Angeles will introduce the ICT DisplayCard later this year. Users push a button on the card to create a one-time password that appears in a digital display. The technology is possible thanks to an embedded power source and wafer-thin electronics.
“We always knew that security would be the killer application for our cards, so we went about developing electronic inlays,” InCard President Alan Finkelstein said via e-mail. With national mandates amid fraud concerns, Finkelstein said his firm sees normally conservative and slow-moving financial institutions aggressively interested in deploying InCard's card.
On the other end, one official whose firm is involved in the manufacture of nonsecure cards said the industry has come a long way in the past 10-20 years. Able Card Corp. in Duarte, Calif., manufactures nearly 100 million cards a year for use by libraries, casinos, retail and grocery stores.