Credit Card (2015)

I questioned why credit cards look the way they do. I set out to interrupt the visual aspect of credit cards which are restricted to the graphics that financial Institutions establish. American Express credit cards are iconic through its long history of advertising and branding. The Centurion man logo can be seen on advertisements, commercials, and through sponsorships worldwide. However, credit cards graphical history seems to be forgotten as designs change as time goes by. I decided to draw attention to this seemingly overlooked detail of visual history. 


I acquired a vintage American Express credit card from the late 1960's and decided create a functional version for myself. After scanning the original card onto the computer, I used photoshop to create a template for the front and back sides of the card to be used for printing. A Dye-Sublimation printer was used to print the card. I sourced gold plastic cards with a magnetic strip on the back with an empty hole on the front used to place and glue the EMV chip from my personal American Express credit card. Once the card was with printed with the correct graphics and placement of features, I encoded and transferred the data from my old card with my personal account number into the magnetic strip of my new card using a card reader/writer and computer software. After sourcing pictures on the internet of how the card originally arrived in the mail, I recreated the original card insert and envelope for my new credit card.  

The EMV chip in my American Express credit card is carefully peeled out and removed to avoid damage of the delicate electronics imbedded in the chip. The chip is then transferred and glued into the empty chip slot in my new card below.

Here, the EMV chip from my bank issued card above is transferred into my new card below to be used at modern Chip & Pin POS terminals.The account number is identically embossed on the front side and is fully encoded on the magnetic strip on the reverse of my new card below. 

The back sticker composed of the issuing bank of my reproduction was cut down to allow its magnetic function to be used at all POS terminals.

The front and reverse of the replica and original cards appear above as points of reference.

The new card appears just as it would've came in the mail back in the day in a reproduced envelope with a cardstock insert.

The new reproduction was effectively operated in a modern Chip & Pin POS terminal.

I approached this project from another angle. I converted an original vintage American Express credit card into my functional credit card this time, without reproducing it. I updated the vintage card and had it CNC milled for an EMV chip slot so the chip from my current functional American Express card could be placed into the existing vintage card. I melted my current American Express card with a blow dryer and bent it so the EMV chip could carefully removed. I then glued it into the empty chip slot on the original American Express card. I attached an adhesive magnetic strip on the reverse to work with modern POS terminals.

The EMV chip was removed from my original card above and placed into the slot on the vintage American Express card below.

Using MSRX6, card reading/writing software, I copied the magnetic strip information from my current American Express Credit Card.

The magnetic information from the card above was copied onto the adhesive magnetic strip below.

I then erased the name on my card Zachary Frisch, and replaced it with the name that appears on the original vintage American Express credit card. The active account number remains consistent from my original credit card allowing me to use it. 

The receipt to the left shows that my functional account number has been effectively copied to the vintage card and that the name was effectively changed.

James F. Henriot Obituary: (1927-2016)

James Henriot photograph,1960s

I created another drivers license with his name, James Henriot and his signature. I used my face on this license so I could validate my credit card transactions with his name and account number to be used for everyday transactions.

The original photograph was colorized and restored. The photograph made for a realistic drivers license reproduction. His signature was lifted from his original credit card and used for the license above.

© 2020 by Zachary Frisch