It’s not major news when a card gets a new look, but I noticed when AMEX ditched the “original” look for the Blue Business Plus card and introduced a new look for the card from now on.
While this doesn’t change a thing about the Blue Business Plus AMEX card, which is the best no-annual-fee Membership Rewards card, it did make me remember the launch of the AMEX Blue card.
Flashback to 1999 when AMEX was starting to offer credit cards instead of the charge cards the company was known for. They launched the Blue Card, which they targeted at people who bought things from the internet. At the time, Amazon.com had only launched 5 years before and was still focused on selling books and CDs.
Online shopping was in its infancy and people didn’t want to give their credit number to any website. The AMEX Blue card tried to alleviate those fears.
Yes, the AMEX Blue card had an EMV chip back in 1999. This was so unheard of in the US that AMEX had to produce the card in Europe, where the technology started. As a perk of membership, AMEX offered to send cardholders an EMV reader they could connect to their computer via serial connection to make secure online transactions.
Imagine, they sent you your own smart card reader in 1999. It’s a shame that it took another two decades for other banks to start offering cards that had EMV chips and then made a big deal about it.
While it was cool to have a clear card where you could see all of the circuitry needed to make the magic possible, back at the turn of the century, now it’s just annoying. Have you tried reading a silver embedded account number on a clear card with a blue insert? I have the same problem with the AMEX Everyday Preferred where the middle of the card is silver, not blue.
In the scope of things happening, does AMEX changing the design of the Blue Business Card make any difference? Of course it doesn’t. But I also won’t mind not holding my card just right against the light to read the worn-off numbers to make an online transaction.
And this is the transition from the AMEX Blue card of the 2000s to the AMEX Blue Business card of 2021. As the proverb says, “All good things must come to an end.” We shall miss your clear card and technological advances, but your time has come and gone. Let us all spend time remembering the important place the AMEX Blue card had in pulling the US credit card marked from the era of carbon copy receipts to the modern age.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary