DS, Citroën's luxury car brand, has hit upon a novel new use for the key fob -- making it double as a contactless payment card.
Simply tap it on the screen of a card payment terminal and it can be accepted, just like a normal credit or debit card for any transaction of £30 or less. Users can add money to the key via a smartphone app and because it uses an integrated chip plus Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), it's just as safe and secure as any current European payment card.
"At DS we're always looking at how we can credibly complement our customer's active lifestyles, where staying connected and being able to easily interact with the world is key," said the company's UK marketing director, Mark Blundell. "With the DS contactless payment car key, we really feel we have achieved this."
The payment card key will come as standard equipment for anyone who purchases a new compact DS3 Connected Chic model throughout September and DS will be monitoring consumer sentiment in order to decide if the key should become a standard DS feature in the coming months and years.
And as smart as the key fob is, it is simply the latest digital idea from a carmaker that has been inspired by the increased connectivity of modern life and of modern objects.
For example, in February, Jaguar unveiled a new in-car app that can be used to pay for fuel when refilling at any Shell-branded station. The app works via Apple Pay or PayPal and was developed so that people didn't need to go into the refueling station to pay for gasoline or diesel in person, something that can be a huge hassle when refueling with young children in the car.
Credit card companies themselves are also exploring the potential of connected cars. And as far back as the 2015 Mobile World Congress, Visa was already demonstrating a connected car system that could be used to order a meal from Pizza Hut from its touch screen and automatically pay for it, so that all the driver had to do was pull into the restaurant's parking lot where the order would be brought out instantly -- the same system also telling staff to which car each order belongs.