Now it appears that isn't quite true -- and that in fact, the card will be fully operative on Shabbat. One of the group behind the initiative explains why this was not deemed important:
"Hollander explained that the consortium's concept had not been to enforce the Sabbath, but to try to persuade companies to rest on Shabbat and let their workers rest, too. Therefore, they did not insist that the new card be inoperative on Shabbat."The way it works, certain participating 'Shomer-Shabbat' companies will offer users of the card a 2-10% discount. However, if you look at the list of companies accepting the card, you quickly realize why the card is basically worthless as far as the consumers are concerned. At the moment, the only major chains Ha'aretz could list were Traklin Hashmal (electrical goods), Kfar Ha-shashuim (an amusement park), Gali shoes, Rav-Kat, Happening (posters and kitsch) and Sheshet home appliances. None of them, with the exception perhaps of Gali if you have 10 kids, are places where people shop regularly, and at least one of them, Happening, doesn't really have much to offer to Haredi shoppers. The main winner, it seems, is Bank Leumi, which suddenly has access to thousands of new haredi customers. I'm surprised, though, no one has asked yet whether it is really either appropriate or sensible for a national bank to be taking part in a crude effort to sway the outcome of one of the most controversial, complex, emotional and delicate political questions currently occupying the Jewish state, that is, the extent to which Shabbat should be enforced in the public domain.