Consumer Payment Card News

Code Blue

When American Express introduced its Blue smart card it was dubbed the “Evolving Card”. After nearly two years, the Blue card has hardly changed and does little more than a traditional magnetic stripe card. But this may change following a contest that challenged Java developers from around the world to create innovative, new smart card applications for potential use with the credit card Blue from American Express. The ‘Code Blue’ contest was co-sponsored by Sun Microsystems and Oberthur Card Systems. Igor Fisher, of Tuebingen, Germany, will receive $50,000 as the first place winner of the ‘Code Blue’ contest, earning the honor with his “Pass Keeper” application. “Pass Keeper” would enhance a user’s smart card by storing a portable and securely locked list of Internet addresses (a/k/a bookmarks) together with a user’s PINs, passwords, or account numbers that might be required for entering those sites. Sirl Davis of the UK will receive $25,000 as the second place finisher. Mr. Davis’ application would use smart card technology for encrypting and gaining secure access to MP3 files and could be extended to other file formats, software, and video games. The third place winners created a Java Card technology application for couponing and electronic ticketing. American Express launched the Blue card in the U.S. in September 1999. It has since been launched in Austria, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. American Express has introduced two additional smart card products in the U.S.: Blue for Business and Blue for Students. For more information, visit

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