Polaroid Corp. and Datacard Corp. announcement plans to jointly market a computer system that puts photos on credit cards.
The system, anchored by equipment from Minneapolis-based Datacard, has been used by Citibank since April, when it began an effort to market photos as a security and identification enhancement to credit cards.
Market Iverson, Datacard's director of marketing communications, said Citibank has installed several Datacard 9000 units in a processing center near Las Vegas. He said the units cost $350,000 apiece in a typical configuration.
In the processing center, photos are scanned by Polaroid equipment, converted into digital form, and printed on the plastic by the Datacard machines.
Pictures Also on Files
The photo images are also appended to customer files in Citibank's host computer systems. Mr. Iverson said that only about a half dozen banks around the world now print photos on credit cards, including First Hawaiian Bank, which has done so since the 1970s and uses Datacard equipment.
Mr. Iverson said Datacard has pitched its equipment to most major card issuers. He predicted that several will buy the equipment and start printing photo credit cards in about a year.
"When Citibank went public, we got more interest than you would believe," he said.
Mr. Iverson added that Datacard, with sales of $300 million, also recently started a service bureau to provide photo cards to banks that don't want their own equipment. The first service bureau customer is Cambridge Trust Co. in