Euro News 2/1992: European Bank Card Award 1991, Erkki Ruuhinen

The issuer is one of Scandinavia’s most innovative and pace-setting banks. Kansallis-Osake-Pankki (KOP) in Finland is the only bank that has introduced photo-bearing bank cards. KOP introduced Finland’s first bank card in 1980. The photo-bearing bank card, of which there are currently 200,000 in circulation, has a two-year validity and is available to persons of at least age 18 with a regular income and no defaults. It functions as a charge card, ATM card, and personal ID card. Among 21 regional and national charge and service cards from all over Europe, the overall winner of the DataCard European Bank Card Award 1991 was photo-bearing bank card by Kansallis-Osake-Pankki. The “Pankkikortti” also won the “Security” category because of the combined security features: photograph, hologram, and laser-printed signature and social security code.
           Card designer was Erkki Ruuhinen who successfully achieved his goal of converting a product into a form as functional, topical and esthetically appealing as possible, without forgetting the product’s own cultural background. The new redesigned card reflects the era of digital and electronic data transmission. The KOP’IN triangles, the symbol of the self- service line, are intended to emphasize self-service aspects of the card.
           A market survey found that fifty percent of respondents were pleased with the card’s concept because of the enhanced security that the photograph provides. The other fifty percent favoured a photoless card because of the added anonymity it entails. Those who favoured the photos were also willing to cover the increased cost of producing the card.
           The KOP photo-bearing card is the most highly developed product in a series of KOP card products such as the charge card, national ATM card, and Visa debit card. This pioneering KOP card sets the trend for a whole new generation of cards combining all standard payment functions: cashless payment, credit, cash withdrawals, personal identification, security, and, eventually, phone card functions.