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New Citi card gets smart

By Lucy Lazarony · Bankrate.com
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Citibank is adding a new rewards credit card to its smart card pilot.

The Citi ThankYou Prestige 2G Card pilot card gives customers the option of redeeming reward points with the push of a button at the time of checkout.

Each Citi ThankYou Prestige 2G card features two buttons on the front of the card. Select the button marked "Regular Credit" and you pay for your purchase with credit as you normally would. Select the button marked "Request Rewards" and you redeem rewards points or cash rewards and apply them to your purchase.

When you press one of the buttons, the card is activated and a corresponding light will turn on to confirm the option selected.

According to press release, the Citi ThankYou Prestige 2G pilot card will be launched later this year. Citibank kicked off an earlier pilot of 2G smart cards in November.

Each 2G credit card comes with a battery, an embedded chip, a card-programmable magnetic stripe as well as the two buttons on the front of the card allowing you to choose between paying with credit or applying rewards cash or points toward the purchase.

The 2G cards are the same size and shape as other credit cards, but feature an electronic magnetic stripe that rewrites itself with the corresponding data once you select a payment option. You then swipe a 2G card through a card reader as you would any other credit card.

The cards use technology from Dynamics Inc., the company that demonstrated programmable credit cards at a tech conference in September.

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