|[1:15 PM] Want The American Express Blue Card? Better Get A PC
by Kyle D'Addario
It seems that American Express is not being totally up front about their new Internet/On line ready credit card, Blue. The Blue card is touted as having a "smart chip" embedded in the card making is safer and more convenient to process online interactions.
If you are a Windows user, that is.
A massive advertising campaign touting the virtues of the American Express Online Wallet and Blue's Smart Chip and Reader to make online purchases more convenient and secure has been running in full force around the country the entire holiday season. When one Observer tried to take advantage of these services, it was found that the benefits of the Blue card were Wintel compatible only. According to Observer Kelly Holt:
I just got pitched around to about five different phone numbers at Blue because nobody wanted to talk with me about it. As far as the several customer service people I talked with --there are no plans add another platform.
The answer given was "the software is not compatible with the Apple" period.
The Mac Observer contacted American Express customer service to find out information about the Blue card, and received a very canned, well-rehearsed, speech. At no time did the representative ask what platform we were using, nor inform us of any limitations involving the card and related features. When we asked, then, if there would be any problems using the card with a Macintosh, the representative told us that it is not compatible with the Mac OS, and "
perhaps their might be a version in the future." We asked since we were Mac users if we were then out of luck and the representative laughed and said, "Yes, I guess you are."
The Mac Observer later contacted an American Express spokesperson. The official word is, "We are certainly looking into servicing our Macintosh customers, but we do not have a date for when that service would be available."
More troublesome than the reality of the Blue card not being compatible with the Mac OS is American Express' effort to hide that information. After spending several minutes clicking around the Blue web site, there was no evidence that Blue was limited to Wintel users only. In not one commercial has AmEx stated that the service will not work for Macintosh, Linux, or users other than those of the Windows platform.
You can find more information on the American Express Blue Card at the company's web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is speculation, but with such inaccurate advertising American Express must have had problems with angry Mac users receiving their Windows compatible Blue card and Windows compatible reader only to realize there was no Mac version. We understand that business is business, and it takes some very bold, very dedicated companies to produce and develop Mac goods. At this time, American Express is not one of these forward-thinking companies.
The problem with a lack of a Mac compatible card has apparently not gone unnoticed by American Express. Considering there are over 20 million potential customers out there, American Express may have no choice but to produce a Mac version. By digging into the American Express psyche, it seems they realize that they are walking on thin ice. More speculation, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that when this system was created, SOMEBODY said, "The Mac users are going to want this, too." Clearly the response to that was negative, and a conscious decision to not make a Mac version, and then to hide that decision, has been made. It is possible that they are close to a Mac version, and hoped to slide by without for a few months until the Mac version was up and running. The Mac Observer finds some fault in the lack of a Mac version, but to each their own. We find more fault with the lack of up front knowledge and effectively misleading advertising regarding the new product.
The Mac has always been at the forefront of technology, and with the success of the iMac and iBook it seems there are plenty of Mac users purchasing machines to get online. It seems they will have to do it without help from American Express.