But even if you have Blue, you may still ask: What the heck does that chip do?
The answer: Mostly nothing. So few stores have smart- card readers that Blue relies on its magnetic strip for charges. For now, it is style over substance.
So too with smart cards in general. A smart card could be the ultimate secure ID — with a digitized version of your thumbprint, for instance, that could be read at store check-outs or hotel check-ins. A single card could be your AMEX, your Visa or MasterCard, and your driver’s license. But that’s a long way off.
So if the smart card doesn’t do much for customers, what does it do for AMEX? In a word: differentiation. Blue’s chip offers powerful functionality for AMEX — cracking young, tech-savvy customers.