A RevolutionCard That’s not so Revolutionary after all

If it wasn’t an article on USA Today yesterday, I probably won’t even know there’s a new kind of credit card on the market on September 24, 2007.

RevolutionCard is the name. However, after going through what the new card offers, I found that it’s basically a PIN-based credit card that doesn’t emboss account number and cardholder’s name on the card. Other than the card’s shape that doesn’t resemble any existing cards, I didn’t notice anything really revolutionary.

On the website, the new card lists some benefits including no annual fee and an APR that’s tied to one’s credit score. I won’t consider no annual fee as a benefit worth highlighting as there is no short of credit cards that don’t charge membership fee. As for the interest rate, ranging from 7.99% to 29.50%, the card claims that everybody can get a credit line with an interest rate that’s determined by the credit score. Though traditional cards don’t explicitly offer variable APRs based on credit score, credit history must be taken into account when determining the terms.

Check out these credit card bonus promotions:

Another selling point of the card is that every purchase requires a 4-digit PIN, not the signature, quite unique for a credit card. The purpose is to, as the issuer argues, “protect you from fraudulent purchases.” If you lose the card, no transaction will go through without a PIN if somebody gets the card and tries to use it. And in this case, your personal information won’t be at danger either as no such information will be stored in the card. I can see some value in using PIN in transactions, but I am not sure how much protection it can provide. If a PIN can eliminate “unauthorized transactions, significantly reducing costly disputes,” other banks should probably use it as well. But I don’t think that’s happening.

The USA Today article also mentioned that the issuer is planing to charge merchants who accept the card a fee of 0.5% of the sale price as compared to the average 1.9% charged by traditional credit card issuers. That may be good for merchants, but as a consumer, the RevolutionCard doesn’t appeal to me at all.

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8 Responses to “A RevolutionCard That’s not so Revolutionary after all”

  1. A |  Mar 31, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    The semi-custom interest rate and low merchant fees are interesting.

    But how does the pin work if you are, say, paying for a restaurant meal? When the server comes to take the card, how do you convey pin number (esp if you want to keep it secret)? Or can you not use the card in restaurants?

  2. Kim H |  Mar 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Wait until you call customer service! Then you will know why it’s revolutionary! yOU WILL BE ON HOLD FOR ABOUT AN HOUR!

  3. The Lone Wulf |  Apr 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    It isn’t the individual features that makes the cards “more secure.” It’s the combination of these features. First off, Have you used a credit card that you haven’t signed? Almost no one checks to verify the signature. If the card uses a PIN, it MUST be used in order to complete the transaction. If you lose a regular card, it has your name and account number on it, purchases can still be made, and a PIN can be guessed, most people use something like a wedding anniversery or a birthdate, things easily searched on the web if you know how. However, with the RevolutionCard, since the name isn’t on it, there is no easy-guessing of the actual PIN, because you don’t know who owns the card, only the owner does.
    As for a restaraunt, if you were to write the PIN down, it is only effective if the person has the card. Since there is no account number to write down, there is nothing to steal, except the card, and you would notice when the card never came back.
    If more retailers pick up on this, I can say that this is a step in the right direction until smartcards are more acceptable.