New credit card technology will let you pay with reward points


New technological advances may soon let consumers decide not only how they want to pay for purchases, but if they want to use accrued rewards points to do so. The New York Times reports that Citigroup's credit card division plans to roll out new, battery-operated cards next month that will let users select via a tiny button on the unit whether they want to pay with their line of credit or accumulated reward points.

It's an idea whose time has come, according to Dennis Moroney, research director of bank cards at TowerGroup, a consulting firm. Banks want to remind customers to use their rewards, both for the goodwill it generates and to get the value of all those accrued points off their books. (The same way that money held in a deposit account is a liability on your bank's balance sheet because it's technically your money, not theirs, points are also registered as a liability.)