Business

Dynamics launches its ePlate battery-powered credit card to create ‘payment apps’

Dynamics is hoping to turn the credit card and payment industries upside down with an innovative new kind of smart card and payment system. The ePlate system is a way for developers to get direct data on customer purchases and extra revenues from each transaction via “payment apps.” With ePlate, Dynamics hopes to change the way people pay for goods and services by motivating them to earn some very specific rewards from their favorite book authors or other goods providers. And, in a twist that could motivate a lot of partners to join the rewards program, the author or the goods providers get a cut of every transaction made with the credit card.

That completely changes the way the card operates and the benefit that the consumer receives from using it. Dynamics’ system includes the ePlate payment device, which is a battery-powered Visa credit card that allows a consumer to change the app that is running on the card. You can apply for a card today on Dynamics’ site, and you can change the reward you earn with every purchase.

Dynamics has gathered a bunch of partners to participate in what it calls an “ecosystem of experience providers.” Each delivers an individualized brand experience to the consumer via an app on the ePlate card. Before purchasing, a consumer selects multiple experience apps on their smartphone, tablet, or computer to port to their ePlate device. At the time of purchase, the consumer can use different buttons on the ePlate device to select different “experience apps.” Those apps give the consumer a reward whenever he uses the card.

Each experience provider gets 50 basis points, or half a percent of the value of every transaction. So for a $100 purchase, the provider gets 50 cents.

Dynamics founder and chief executive Jeff Mullen (pictured right) said in an interview with VentureBeat, “You can get your reward before you put your card into your wallet.”

More than 30 apps will be available at launch. The first-generation device has two buttons on it, so you can store two different applications on the card. You can use your PC or smartphone to select the experience apps that you want to have on the card.

The system is the brainchild of Mullen, who said his team worked on the technology for 2.5 years.

eplate 1The ePlate cards have batteries that last three years, and they work with the existing 60 million mag-stripe credit card readers in the market today. The cards have 70 electronic components embedded within a plastic card.

“We form the card around the electronics,” said Mullen.

He said that integrating ePlate into the payment system “is so fast that consumer benefits for an ‘app’ will be delivered before consumers can even put their ePlate device back into their wallet.”

eplate 4He added, “The result of the ePlate device is a new payments landscape — where a consumer can earn exclusive, disproportionately valued benefits instantly in ways never before envisioned. This holiday season, consumers will have a second decision to make at the point-of-sale: First, what to purchase; and second, what app to experience with that purchase.”

One example of an experience app comes from Warren Adler, the best-selling author of dozens of books including The War of the Roses, which was made into a popular film. Each time a consumer spends $400, he or she earns one of 29 different Warren Adler ebooks. That may be a $5 to $15 value for the consumer (depending on the price of the eBook), and $2 goes to Adler himself.

Within seconds of qualifying for the purchase, the consumer gets an email with a link to instantly download the book. Adler has also written an exclusive novel for ePlate users. With every earned book, the consumer earns a chapter of the new exclusive work. Any consumer who earns all 29 Warren Adler eBooks also gets a signed physical copy of The War of the Roses delivered to his or her doorstep, said Mullen.

When I saw the ePlate platform, I thought this was an innovative way to engage my fans,” said Adler. “I also wanted to reward them with a unique way to experience more of my books and a way to reward them with an exclusive work.”

Dark Horse Comics has created two new comic book series for ePlate, including one called Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast. Another is the team up of three separate characters: X, Ghost, and Captain Midnight. Upper Deck, the trading card company, will introduce a series of collectible cards.

Founded in 2007, Dynamics is a familiar company to readers of VentureBeat. The company debuted at the DEMO conference in September, 2010, and walked away with the top $1 million prize as DEMOgod. In June 2011, Dynamics raised $35 million from Bain Capital Ventures for its computerized smart cards and payment systems. To date, the company has raised $40.7 million. And Mullen appeared at the DEMO Spring 2012 conference in April to unveil the first details of the ePlate payment system. The company has almost 100 employees, up from 24 employees a little more than a year ago.

Consumers can apply for a Dynamics ePlate credit card on the company’s website.

“We are covering all of the categories and will introduce new experiences as we go,” said Mullen. “You’ll see individuals like celebrities, authors, and athletes. We can partner with time-sensitive and seasonal brands. And we can partner with the brands you wouldn’t see on a credit card.”

The apps available now include the following:

Entertainment apps

Big Star Movies (www.dynamlcsinc.com/BigStarMovies)

Bob Mayer (www.dynamlcsinc.com/BobMayer)

Hercules (www.dynamicsinc.com/Hercules)

Katie Armiger (www.dynamicsinc.com/KatieArmiger)

Warren Adler (www.dynamicsinc.com/WarrenAdler)

Hobby Experience apps

Dark Horse Comics (www.dynamicsinc.com/DarkHorseComics)

Jersey Jack Pinball (www.dynamicsinc.com/JerseyJackPinbalL)

Upper Deck (www.dynamicsinc.com/UpperDeckCards)

“For Your Kids” Experience apps

Kidz Bop (www.dynamicsinc.com/KidzBop)

Gaming Experience apps

GameFan (www.dynamicsinc.com/GameFan)

Adventure Shopping Game (www.dynamicsinc.com/AdventureShoppingGame)

Black Friday: The Game (www.dynamicsinc.com/BlackFridayTheGame)

Scavenger Shop Game (www.dynamicsinc.com/ScavengerShop)

Health Experience Applications

Fit Orbit (www.dynamicsinc.com/FitOrbit)

Charity Experience apps

Greater Good: The Animal Rescue Site (www.dynamicsinc.com/AnimalRescueSite)

Greater Good: The Breast Cancer Site (www.dynamicsinc.com/BreastCancerSite)

Lemonade Day (www.dynamicsinc.com/LemonadeDay)

Greater Good: The Hunger Site (www.dynamicsinc.com/TheHungerSite)

Toys for Tots (www.dynamicsinc.com/ToysForTots)

Retail Experience apps

Cologne by Scentiments (www.dynamicsinc.com/CologneByScentiments)

Perfume by Scentiments (www.dynamicsinc.com/PerfumeByScentiments)

Fresh Direct (www.dynamicsinc.com/FreshDirect)

International Star Registry (www.dynamicsinc.com/InternationalStarRegistry)

Food Experience apps

iGourmet: Coffee of the Month (www.dynamicsinc.com/CoffeeOfTheMonth)

iGourmet: Tea of the Month (www.dynamicsinc.com/TeaOfTheMonth)

iGourmet: Salsa of the Month (www.dynamicsinc.com/SalsaOfTheMonth)

Travel Experience apps

Bahama Trip with Triton Submarines (www.dynamicsinc.com/TritonSubmarines)

Henry Cookson: African Safari (www.dynamicsinc.com/HenryCookson)

Social Experience apps

Facebook (www.dynamicsinc.com/Facebook)

Twitter (www.dynamicsinc.com/Twitter)

Other Experience apps

Dynamics Credits (www.dynamicsinc.com/DynamicsCredits)

Win $10,000 (www.dynamicsinc.com/Win10000)


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