[Dave Birch] It is, now and then, interesting to see what normal people (ie, people who don’t read this blog) think about what the payments industry regards as innovations. Here’s an example, discussing what the poster calls the the most ill-considered banking product ever devised.

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Now, to be honest, I don’t really care about these mini-cards one way or the other, but then I’m sure I’m not in the target demographic. I was told by someone at a central European bank that they have already had cases of mini-cards jammed in ATMs, so I have a suspicion that they may end up annoying a lot of people. But the most “ill-considered banking product ever devised”? That’s a bold claim, and it must have some pretty stiff competition. Feel free to send me your contenders for the title (for entertainment purposes only, no warranty expressed or implied, judges decision is final etc etc).


  1. Watch out for the next issue of European Card Review for an article on minicards and so on. Frankly they seem a stupid idea to me, particularly as they do have greatly reduced functionality but I can’t remember what my conclusion overall was other than it was all about marketing and differentiating the bank’s value proposition (blah).

  2. There is so little creativity in this industry that we end up with things like mini cards and credit cards with built-in flashlights so you can see the bill when you sign.

  3. Oh come on, it sounds fun. You’ll be laughing the other side of your face next time your in a restaurant the bill comes in the middle of a power cut.
    I wonder how long the batteries last?

  4. If they developed a credit card that shone an ultraviolet light so I could check the validity of my banknotes (you remember them? – the original real-world stuff used for buying things) then I’d be willing to sign up for a card…!

  5. As for silly banking products, some of the ones sold in the early days of complex derivatives to the corporate sector would have to be fairly high up there – the derivatives sold by Merrils to Orange County, losing them 1.7b would have to be up for consideration. The best, though, would have to be the ones that destroy the bank. Bankers Trust selling so many inappropriate positions to so many clients in the early to mid 1990s that it destroyed the reputation for integrity the bank had built up over a century and lead to it being sold to Deutsche Bank in 1999 would have to be high up there.

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