The older amongst you may just remember the SuperSmart Card (is it a card? No, it’s a calculator…), a chunky piece of kit from Smart Card International, an American start-up founded by Arlen Lessin in 1983. It was a smart card with a built in screen and keypad. However you’d have needed a hammer to get it into a ISO card reader slot and the idea quietly fizzled away.

Now Visa International is working with InCard Technologies, an American company that has come up with something called Power Inlay Technology. The result is a smart card with a screen (or a smart card with a built in light or one that plays annoying jingles – isn’t technology wonderful?) and a random number generator. That means the card is capable of generating a dynamic cvv2 for example. It doesn’t come with a keypad yet but Visa seems confident that it will.

What does that mean? That means that the arguments about who pays for readers for token based authentication for secure sign on to online banking will become redundant. Who needs a reader if you can tap your PIN directly into the card and the card itself displays your one time passcode?

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