Amex Implements Blue-Chip Safety

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-02-17

The first useful application of American Express smart-chip-enabled Blue card may also be the first truly useful implementation of personal data and ID management.

American Express ID Keeper is a Windows-based application that lets users securely store personal data, credit card information, and Web site log-ins and passwords. Users can quickly use this data to log in to sites, fill out forms and shop online. But what differentiates ID Keeper from the many electronic wallets and key chain applications out there is that it stores all this data directly on the embedded chip on the Blue card.

The chip on the Blue card can be read and accessed with any standard smart-card reader, and Amex will send a free reader to Blue customers who request one.

The Blue card uses standard smart-card technology, so all data is stored in an encrypted, secure format in the chip, unlike the standard magnetic strip data that most credit cards use. Also, every time I used the ID Keeper application, it prompted me for a unique access code, which I could easily change on a regular basis.

I could also leverage Amexs Private Payments option using the card and reader, which let me purchase products online using a temporary transaction number, rather than my actual credit card number.

While a non-Windows option would be welcome, I was impressed with ID Keeper, which I found very easy to use and even portable among multiple systems. This could be the first truly useful implementation of smart-card technology for this purpose because the Blue card is a credit card I carry anyway, rather than a smart card dedicated solely to ID management.

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