MasterCard is to launch the first mini-sized credit and debit cards in the UK.
The “bite-sized” cards will be marketed as a convenient way to pay when customers do not want to carry a purse or wallet. They will be available through an as-yet-undisclosed UK bank.
In the US, MasterCard already offers convenience, or key fob, cards that are smaller than standard credit cards.
The transition to chip-and-pin technology means a smaller format is possible because the standard swipe strip does not need to be used on the new cards.Separately, MasterCard has already patented the three-cornered card, for which Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Mint has exclusive UK rights. Mint uses the format for its mc2 card, despite operational problems with some cash dispensers and outlets.
MasterCard Europe senior vice-president sales and marketing Jeremy Nichols says the company is also considering offering pre-paid cards in the UK, which could be given as gifts or be used by children or students. Such cards could also specify retail destinations, enabling insurance companies to ensure their payouts were being used to replace the insured items.
Also on trial are travel cards, which store a set amount of credit to use while travelling but which could easily be capped should the card be stolen.