3M announced an innovative new material that enables the design of the first truly transparent, fully ATM-functioning payment cards. 3M says the infrared (IR) Vikuitiâ„¢ Clear Card Filter is one of the biggest developments in payment card design since plastic, creating a powerful new marketing and business opportunity for banks and financial service providers worldwide. The new high strength IR Filter passes all international standards for payment cards.
Visa International has recently approved 3M as a manufacturer of a transparent inlay for use in Visa-branded payment cards worldwide.
“Card innovation and ease of consumer payment with plastic cards and devices has transformed the payments industry, and now a new fashion segment for banking cards has emerged with the introduction of the clear card,” commented Stephanie Castiglione, market development manager, 3M Optical Systems Division.
“Its combination of fashion and functionality makes it popular with consumers and presents immediate differentiation for banks, enabling them to captivate brand name and move their cards to the top of customers’ wallets. The more colorful and visually appealing the design, the more positively a bank’s, or card issuer’s, brand image will be perceived among its target customer audience.”
Using this new material means applying a new way of thinking when it comes to designing compelling payment cards. The transparency of the cards is what makes them different, so maximizing the increased surface area available on both sides of the card body enhances the design element prominence. Although the magnetic stripe shows through the front of the card, it can easily be integrated into the design. Typography, solids, patterns, illustrations all reproduce well on the clear plastic substrate and it accepts traditional four-color printing in addition to a wide range of translucent inks.
The innovative design of the Vikuiti Clear Card Filter is powered by a proprietary multi-layer, IR light-blocking optical film from 3M. Laminated between two clear sheets of PVC, the film reflects the IR light generated by LEDs used in ATMs to detect the presence of a card.