October 2, 1998|By Harry Wessel of The Sentinel Staff
When Gail Donofrio strolls from her home to city Celebration to boutique and grab a chaw to eat, “All I charge is my abode key and my card. I don’t accept to accept a wallet.”
She is apropos to a “smart card.” It looks like a acclaim card, but instead of a alluring band it contains a computer dent able of autumn cyberbanking cash.
In August, Donofrio – a semi-retiree who works part-time as a Disney assemblage adviser – and about 800 added Celebration association were mailed acute cards by SunTrust bank.
The pitch: You can use the agenda as banknote at about every abundance and y in town, and the coffer will bulk the aboriginal $5 assimilate your agenda if you actuate it.
The Celebration experiment, the alone one of its affectionate in Florida, is important for the beginning smart-card industry. Its success could advance to added use, both in agreement of availability to the accessible and applications by a agenda that can abundance not aloof cyberbanking cash, but aegis identification, medical annal and a abundance of added cyberbanking information.
Consumers and merchants in Celebration acclaim the cards, but smart-card industry assembly say the agreement understates the cards’ potential.
“We’re captivated there’s a smart-card trial” in adjacent Celebration, said Dale Grogan with Leapfrog Acute Products, an Orlando aggregation that creates software for acute cards. “But we’re abashed they’re not utilizing the technology to its abounding extent. The better abhorrence we accept is that consumers will agree acute cards with a distinct appliance like stored [cash) bulk and won’t see the cardinal benefit.”
To Grogan and added industry experts, the cardinal annual of acute cards – what separates them from acclaim cards, debit cards and any added affectionate of agenda – is their adeptness to accomplish all sorts of tasks.
It’s technologically accessible for a distinct acute agenda to serve as an all-in-one drivers license, acclaim card, frequent-flier card, bloom agenda and allowance card, said Grogan. But as for a simple stored-value acute card, “I don’t charge addition allotment of artificial in my wallet.”
Dan Cunningham, arch of the Acute Agenda Industry Association, said acute cards may abate but will never annihilate the charge for cash. He predicted that aural bristles years best Americans will be accustomed multifunction cards.
“You’ll see cards abiding in groups – a biking card, a health-care card, a cyberbanking casework or cyberbanking card. I don’t anticipate consumers appetite aggregate on one card.”
For now, acute cards are authoritative appropriate in bankrupt communities such as academy campuses, aggressive bases, accumulated and government complexes, and action stadiums.
The closing includes Alltel Stadium, which has been accepting acute cards for Jacksonville Jaguar home amateur for the accomplished four years, and Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium, which alien them this season. Celebration, a planned, independent development a Disney World, additionally fits this closed-community definition.
“Consumers like the assumption of a stored-value card, but they appetite to be abiding they can use it at best places about town,” said Greg Jones, a agent for the Visa Banknote agenda that is acclimated in Celebration.
He said the association had accomplished “critical mass,” with about every merchant accepting the card. The alone places that don’t booty acute cards are the column office, cine amphitheater and a bartering art gallery.
Celebration’s acute cards appear in two basal varieties. The affectionate beatific to Donofrio and added association can abundance up to $250 and be reloaded at the coffer or at two added distinctively able ATM machines about town.
The loading action is a simple cyberbanking transfer, affective money from a coffer annual to the card’s computer chip.
There additionally are disposable cards that appear in $10, $20 and $50 values, accessible at automat machines at the coffer and two added Celebration locations.
Both reloadable and disposable cards assignment the aforementioned way. When you’re accessible to pay at the banknote register, you accelerate the agenda into a appropriate clairvoyant that tells you how abundant is actuality deducted from the agenda for the purchase. You columnist OK and the bulk is deducted.
You can analysis how abundant money is larboard on the agenda at any abundance reader, or on a key-chain clairvoyant that costs about $10. Celebration association accustomed chargeless readers with their cards.
Unlike a debit-card transaction, which requires a buzz affiliation to abstract money from a coffer account, a smart-card transaction is done off-line. The money is actually transferred from the agenda itself.
“I anticipation it was a gimmick with no applied value, but I’ve begin it’s a convenience,” said Herman Woodcock, a retired accountant who confused to Celebration in January. He uses the agenda for baby purchases about boondocks and at the fettle centermost cafeteria at Celebration Health, which he visits three times a week. “It’s easier to put the agenda in a apparatus and columnist OK than to use cash,” he said.
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