4, 2002 Volume 1 Issue 52
Cash, the Credit Card,
the "Smart Card" & You
First, I am not a technology expert. Have trouble hanging a picture
Next, I am an "average" consumer. I guess. Not really
sure what that means - still I feel more or less "average".
Middle of the pack of North Americans who work, have a family, play
a little, travel a bit.
Plus, I'm old enough to remember banks with teller "windows",
pass books and rubber stamps. That's all my dad ever knew.
In the '70s I helped launch an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) system
for a major California bank. Big time change - although history tells
us it was 20 years before there was full acceptance of this "new
The time before credit cards is also in memory. When it was cash -
and in the USA - checks. That was the "money". Except Western
Union and the post office money-orders ... the only other options.
If this same memory serves me correctly, it was 1957 when Diners Club
came on the scene with a credit card. Life and money have never been
the same. Today it is getting more interesting with "smart cards".
They look like a credit card. Yet, instead of a magnetic strip the
card has a computer chip. Which stores all sorts of interesting data
about you. And, at least on the surface, offers more convenience.
Convenience, such as . . .
- Dial a connection on a mobile telephone and be charged on a per-call
- Establishing your identity when logging on to an Internet access
provider or to an online bank,
- Paying for parking at meters, and to get on subways, trains, and
- Giving hospitals or doctors personal data without filling out
- Making small purchases at electronic stores on the Web, using
it as a kind of cybercash,
- Buying services at a gasoline station.
All this in the thought we're headed to a cash-free society. Where
everything is electronic. Your pay check information goes into a computer
somewhere (not necessarily a bank), and your bills are paid "automatically"
out of your account. You carry around a "smart card" that
allows you to live without a coin in your pocket.
Thing is, this just ain't going to happen anytime real soon. It will
happen - maybe - in my grandchildren's life time - not in mine. Just
like the paperless office isn't going to happen, either. In fact,
a paperless office will happen at about the same time as the paperless
bathroom - no way. At any time! Odds on the "smart
card" are a little better.
The idea for smart came along a while back. Long enough ago that there
are over a billion cards in use today. Most in Europe ... where they
became popular for public telephone calls. Readers were put in telephone
booths - to prevent theft and fraud. They worked so well they took
off from there. Launching that way can't happen today - cell phones
will put the public telephone out of business before anything significant
can happen with the card.
So what IS the problem in the USA? As with many "new" ways,
this is a chicken and egg situation. Consumers are not getting excited
about the card because there are so few places to use them. Buyers
need an almost "countless" number to be satisfied. And retailers
aren't going to put the expensive reader system in their shops until
there are enough consumers with the cards.
All of which means some group with deep pockets and a long range plan
is going to have to fund the concept until it can pay for itself.
Nothing new here.
There have been several strong efforts to make this happen. Visa and
MasterCard worked with Citicorp and Chase Manhattan in the late '90's
on the program. It died in about year. American Express has a "smart
card" in their new Blue Card. Problem again - readers. So far
it has not gone very far.
Where it can work - and is - is on several large university campuses.
Where the student population is more or less captive. And the merchants
around it know it - thus, they are willing to invest. One example
is the University of Florida, where students can use the card for
fast-food, laundry, the telephone, to buy stamps and an array of other
ways. All on campus.
This is good - as these kids will come back into the real world with
a knowledge and experience level that will "push" the rest
of us. Just as they've done for two decades with computers and all
that goes with them.
Yet, even those in the "smart card" business are not looking
for great things to happen quickly. One reason is privacy. If all
about you is on your card, and it is lost or stolen, your identity
can be stolen. Protection or not - someone will figure out how to
read it without a reader - that's what the bad guys do.
Cold, hard cash is also preferred for those who wish to remain anonymous.
There are still millions of households in the States where you will
not find a credit card. One reason is the tracing / tracking capabilities
that have expanded with the growth of the credit card industry. Well,
bingo; the same, and more, will be possible with the new card. The
chance of getting a "smart card" in these homes is next
So, lots of challenges. And it will be interesting for those of us
in marketing to be part of this. As with toll-free telephone numbers,
credit cards, debit cards and now "smart-cards", our business
may again be a leader in gaining wide spread market acceptance of
a new idea.
Stay tuned - the road ahead is paved with uncertainty!
Ray is Back Full Time . . .
I'm back on the speaking circuit - and full time! After a
winter that keep me off the platform - I'm back!
Big time. So, now is a good time to tell you about my special BONUS:
. . . when you invite me to speak at your special event,
corporate meeting or association gathering, you get your choice
100 FREE copies of either my book Power Direct Marketing, or
the audio/booklet direct mail package titled Magic Marketing
For details E-mail Ray@RayJutkins.com,
fax +1+928+244-6148, or phone me at 1+928+785-9400. Oh, and
there is no fine print!
A FREE Audio Tape for YOU!
Because Ray Speaks ... it is expected he'll have audio and video tapes.
Why? To share with speakers bureaus, meeting planners and others interested
in what he may have to say. So "yes", there is an audio
tape. And he'll be happy to send you a copy. FREE. No strings attached.
The tape is a selection from several speaking gigs. A few case histories,
some "how to..." ideas. And such. About an hour's worth
of chatter ... some of it actually very entertaining!
If you'd like you very own copy, send an E-mail to ...
with your complete mailing address.
Your tape will be on the way to you within the day.
Oh, when you have a need for a speaker, and feel a demo video tape
could be valuable to you, just ask for a copy. Not much use for video
these days - with the Web - still, we'll be happy to forward one to
Spring has sprung - and it's summertime in Arizona. Wonderfully hot
weather ... and I love it.
Which has nothing to do with this issue of The Works of Marketing
with Ray. Just wanted to share warm feelings with you.
And this pair of Anonymous thoughts;
"Knowing it ain't the same as doing it."
An Anonymous Indiana Hoosier saying
"If my boss calls be sure to get his name."
An Anonymous broadcast executive
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection
from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/.
There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
Quest & Knowledge-Bytes.com
Quest Consulting & Training took me to Orlando, Florida for Corporate
Where I did "live Internet radio from the trade show floor.
As usual, Quest is ahead of the curve. And Knowledge-Bytes.com
is part of that forward thrust. And Quest, in cooperation with HRevents,
invites you to share in the excitement of learning over the Internet.
Yes, you can listen to the series of interviews with keynote speakers,
presenters, exhibitors and attendees. If you missed the live presentations,
here is an opportunity to catch up on what happened. If you were there,
here is an opportunity to catch up on what you missed.
This collection is available for on-demand listing ... anytime you
wish. You can listen with a click. To help you find those interviews
you want to hear first, tune into to Knowledge-Bytes.com
... and EnJoy!