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PROVIDING A SELECTABLE
ESTABLISHING AN ELECTRONIC
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE
CARD AND THE CARD READER
DISPLAYING THE SELECTED
ESTABLISHING AN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE CARD AND A SERVICE INSTITUTION HANDLING AN ACCOUNT CORRESPONDING TO THE SELECTED CARD FEATURE
SELECTABLE MULTI-PURPOSE CARD
This application is a continuation application of U.S. Ser. No. 11/011,683, filed Dec. 15, 2004 and now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,191,952, which was a divisional of U.S. Ser. No. 5 10/436,466, filed May 13, 2003 and now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,163,153, which was a divisional of U.S. Ser. No. 09/730,399, filed Dec. 6, 2000 and now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,631,849, each of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties. 10
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a financial services vehicle, such as plastic credit cards of the type 15 commonly associated with MASTERCARD®, VISA®, AMERICAN EXPRESS®, ATM banking cards, security cards, or identification cards. More specifically, it relates to a selectable, multi-purpose card having a plurality of features stored in memory means operatively mounted on the 20 card and selection means mounted on the card or a card reader allowing a user to select a card feature in a single step. The features when selected allow the card to function as a different card and/or to perform functions not traditionally available in financial plastic cards. 25
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Magnetic cards, such as commercial credit cards, debit cards, or transfer funds cards are widely used for payments, 30 cash advances, or other financial transactions. Data for identifying the customer, such as an account number, a security code, or other identifying data is typically magnetically stored on a magnetic tape or strip embedded into the back side of the card. 35
When a transaction is to be performed at a retail store, a customer hands his or her card to an employee of the retail store and the employee then scans the magnetic information into a communication device.
When a credit card is utilized in a bank in order to receive 40 a cash advance, the transaction is handled by either a teller or an automated teller machine (ATM). In the case of an ATM, the card is placed inside the ATM and the credit card owner enters a personal identification number (PIN) which is transmitted to the credit card company along with the 45 transaction information. When the PIN number is found to be incorrect, most credit companies send to the credit card user a request to re-enter the PIN number.
Smart cards, i.e., cards having integrated circuit (IC) chips embedded into the cards are also known. A conventional 50 smart card may include a processor coupled to an electrically erasable, programmable, read-only memory (EEPROM), read-only memory (ROM) and random access memory (RAM). These components may be fabricated onto a single integrated chip comprising a microprocessing/con- 55 troller unit (MPU). The processor executes instructions stored on ROM and temporarily stores data on RAM whereas the EEPROM is a non-volatile memory used for storing data identifying the uniqueness of a smart card. A smart card also may include an input/output (I/O) signal 60 interface for transferring various I/O signals between the smart card and an external system. The I/O interface may take the form of a contact with the external system, or a peripheral thereof, for proper transfer of signals. Alternatively, the I/O interface may take the form of a radio 65 frequency (RF) interface for allowing communication between the smart card and the external system via the
transmission and reception of RF signals. The external system may take the form, for example, of a card reader, a merchant's point of sale system, or an automated teller machine.
Typically, power is supplied to the smart card from the external system when the system communicates with the smart card. This may be accomplished through the I/O interface. However, this means that a smart card is only powered and its data is accessible only when the smart card is connected to the external system.
One of the widespread uses of smart card technology is as a stored-value card, which contains monetary value in the microchip embedded in the card. For example, each time a consumer uses a chip card in a vending machine, the amount of the purchase is deducted from the cash balance stored in the microchip on the chip card. One application for such stored-value chip cards is eliminating the need for people to carry around small coins or bills and speed up the time it takes to consummate small cash transactions. However, most chip cards do not offer built-in displays for viewing the cash balance remaining on the chip card. This reduces the convenience and ease of use of chip cards.
Some have suggested including a display to a plastic card in conjunction with input means, such as a keypad for viewing and editing information. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,954,985 to Yamazaki describes a smart card with a ferroelectric, liquid crystal memory region and a ferroelectric, liquid crystal display (LCD) region. U.S. Pat. No. 5,777,903 to Poisenka, et al. describes a smart card having a microprocessing unit (MPU) for executing instructions stored in a memory, a liquid crystal display (LCD), coupled to the MPU for displaying information, a keypad, coupled to the MPU and to the display for entering data by the user, an interface for transferring signals between the smart card and the external system when the smart card is coupled to the external system, and photovoltaic cells for providing power to the smart when the smart card is exposed to light.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,590,038 to Pitroda ("Pitroda") describes a card that includes an LCD display and means for selecting between various card features. The means for selecting between the various card features, described by Pitroda, are generally complex, difficult to implement and they will result in a bulky and unpractical plastic card. Moreover, LCDs such as the one suggested by Pitroda have not found wide commercial success in plastic cards. They are generally less flexible than the remainder of the plastic cards, and thus, they tend to fracture under normal use conditions. To prevent LCDs from fracturing the displays would have to be either too small or too thick. Another problem associated with multi-purpose cards, such as the card of Pitroda is that they generally require the user to follow a plurality of steps to select the desired feature. These and other problems with known plastic cards exist.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide a thin, flexible, card that combines the functions of different cards into a single card instrument.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a card that includes a plurality of features and selection means that allow a user to select a desired feature preferably in a single step, prior to presenting the card to a sales person or using the card.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a card that may include a thin, flexible display, such as a light-emitting polymer (LEP) display for displaying infor