Just Swipe-And-Go: Co. Seeks CUs Interested In New Mini-Cards

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Pemco Technology Services is looking for a credit union to sign up for its newest offering-mini credit cards.

The cards, which measure 1.5 inches by 2.5 inches, are slightly larger than supermarket club cards. Their purpose, however, is similar: consumers can attach the mini credit cards to their key rings. The cardholder's account information is recorded on a magnetic stripe, allowing the mini-cards to be used in machines that cards can be "swiped" through.

One drawback-the mini-cards do not work in machines that require a card to be inserted, such as a gas pump.

Diane Noasconi, spokeswoman for Pemco, which provides VISA and MasterCard credit, debit and ATM processing services for 240 credit unions across the United States, said the company is the only one currently offering mini credit cards to CUs.

"No one is using them yet, but we have had lots of inquiries," she said. "We are trying to generate excitement, but we realize this is not something credit unions are going to issue overnight. There is a little more of a risk factor because the mini cards would be on key rings. Some credit unions are evaluating if their members would want them, or if there would be too great a fear of fraud."

Noasconi said Pemco anticipates there will be consumer demand for the new cards because of the accessibility they offer to busy people. In theory, using a mini credit card is easier and more convenient than digging in one's wallet for a regular credit card.

"If a mother is in a grocery store and has a child in one arm, she would much rather use the mini card on her key ring than have to go through her purse," she said.

According to Noasconi, Pemco will package the mini credit card with a specially designed holder that attaches to the key ring. The holder will allow the user to remove the mini card before handing the key ring to a valet or a teenager.

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