CM Magazine

About the Art to Imagine a Payment Card

By Dr.-Ing. Milena Niedernhuber, Product Management Director, G+D

Despite the rise of more and diverse payment methods, payment cards continuously act as an unique emotional and physical payment intermediate link between financial institutions and their customers. Banks are looking for innovative ideas to enhance their customers' payment experience. The payment cards are a status symbol or representation of end-users values and they strengthen the banks brand awareness.

The latest trends even show that payment cards can become an expression of a consumer’s lifestyle, underlining their individuality. Special cards like metal, biometric and eco cards mean, in terms of the production process, material suppliance and applied technology are fundamental and a somewhat disruptive change when compared to the standard products all card vendors are used to using. However, still the majority of the payment cards in the field are standard PVC cards for which banks continue to look for options to differentiate among others and to elevate their cards to top of wallet.

Elaborate designs, innovative and unique features are the instruments of the banks to attract and retain customers and convey their vision to end users. For card manufacturers, it becomes crucial to create and develop innovative “wow” effects to provide issuers sophisticated solutions for differentiation and to impress.

How do new ideas arise?

Card manufacturers and suppliers untiringly explore and develop new ideas to address the market needs and continuously adapt their portfolio with enhanced card design features and “wow” effects. Exploring concepts from different fields and target groups is how ideas for new features arise. Product ideas that can be interpreted in a different context and that are flexible for modification will stay for a longer time at the tribune. Of course, the best feature in the world can ruin a card if not properly integrated into the overall card product or if the technical execution is not perfect. Designing a payment card requires excellent engineering expertise with an artistic knowledge at the cutting edge.

Functional elements as an artwork conveyor

The payment card offers endless imaginative options of new features and effects. Elements can be added and integrated into the standard card body structure, but also functional elements can become an artwork effect or a brand conveyor. Functional elements can carry, in a discreet way, the card manufacturer’s signature. As an example, G+D can be easily recognized by its chip module design, which is an exclusive development and used worldwide for all dual interface cards produced by G+D.

Figure 1: G+D developed and established exclusive tape layout for all its dual interface cards

In addition, chip modules can be further customized in their color, shape or by applying a logo thanks to various possible techniques.

Innovative technologies as a driver

An innovative technology, currently being developed at G+D together with an advanced technology partner, provides the possibility to customize the chip module shape. It is a patented technology that goes with a completely different production process of a dual interface card. It brings a unique attribute that immediately attracts attention. The human eye, which is familiar with the rectangular chip module shape, will instantly catch the curious and unexpected appearance.

The real differentiator for the card product as a whole arises by complementing card artwork design with a seamlessly matching chip module shape, when both elements speak the same language and the end user needs to look twice before recognizing the difference.

This feature perfectly fits with Premium Edition card programs and for certain customer groups to add this unique creative touch and empower the FI brand and customer stickiness. The various appearance of contact plate can smoothly integrate with the overall design of a card to provide the end-customer with a special and unique payment experience.

Figure 2: Customizable chip module shape 

Single pieces can additionally beautify the payment card

The Convego® WoW Imprint is one the Convego WoW Effects part of the G+D portfolio. It is an elegant high-end feature which emphasizes a desired detail in the card artwork. With its 3D high definition shiny appearance, it highlights the banks logo or underline other branding elements of the card. Additionnally, it can also be used to enhance the rendering of bigger areas. Eye-catching designs, combined with the Convego® WoW Imprint can create an unique and shiny three-dimensional structure.

It is a metal element, which is inserted into the card under the overlay. Thus card construction assures the protection of the Convego® WoW Imprint against abrasion and detachment.

Different flavors of the Convego® WoW Imprint can be created by varying colors, shapes, thicknesses and sizes. The metallic element is available in silver chrome, 24k gold and black chrome. It can reproduce both, lettering or design elements.

Convego® WoW Imprint is an enhancing factor. The feature can be used as a single or multiple stand-alone element as well integrated to complement the card artwork. Its visually tempting and unique texture will result in a sudden attraction to the consumers. The metal effect transmits sense of exclusiveness. Under different light reflections the element will appear metallic with a shiny 3D appearance.

Figure 3: Customizable Convego® WoW Imprint

There are endless possibilities to create a highly valued and appealing look by playing and combining various form factors, features and WoW effects. It is all about developing the right features and integrating them clever to a holistic product. Through continuous technology innovations, G+D is helping banks differentiate their brands to become top of wallet. At the end it is on us to work and be inspired to help the banking world to keep the card up!

About the author: Dr.-Ing. Milena Niedernhuber is a Product Management Director at G+D. She is responsible for the global dual interface technology portfolio as well for dedicated innovative card products at Mobile Security. She graduated from UCTM in Sofia, Bulgaria with a master’s degree in process engineering and did in 2008 a doctoral thesis at the Chair of Paper Technology and Mechanical Process Engineering, Technical University at Darmstadt, Germany.