Credit Card Consolidators: Plastc Promises More than Plastic
Who needs a fat wallet full of credit cards? That's been one of the mantras for many companies over the last few years, as card consolidators and digital wallets keep popping up on the scene. This blog has already looked at Coin and Apple Pay and over the next few weeks, we're going to be looking at more of these consolidation products.
This week we're going to feature Plastc, a digital consolidation card that was announced in early October. Plastc's differentiating feature is a small E-Ink touch screen that displays the card information you want to use for a particular transaction. The screen is locked with a code when not in use, so when you want to use it, you unlock it with a PIN, then swipe through the menu options to choose both the type of card you want to use and the actual card itself. Once selected, the screen displays the card number and bank information, the security code and expiration date, plus your signature and picture--if that particular credit card has that feature.
Once you select a card, you can use it just like a credit card. The device comes with a magnetic stripe and an EMV chip. It's also has Bluetooth and NFC technology, so it's capable of making contactless payments. After you make a payment, a transaction notice is sent to your phone.
Plastc doesn't just store credit cards. It manages debit cards, gift cards and loyalty cards, the last of which displays the card bar code on the E-Ink screen. It can even store access devices like keycards and access fobs that you use to get into secured places, like an office or apartment building.
The device's flash memory stores up to 20 cards' worth of information. The device itself runs on a 30-day rechargeable battery, and when it's time to recharge, the device can alert you as a reminder to do so. It recharges wirelessly by resting on top of a charger. The software within the device itself can be updated, which means that the card can change along with the times.
"From the beginning, we focused on making a simple and elegant transactional experience," said Mark Stubbs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Plastc, in a statement. "We packed Plastc Card with the most advanced technology available and built-in future technology like Chip and PIN and NFC, so the user doesn't have to worry about future payment systems."
In addition, Plastc has a mobile wallet app that helps you manage the cards and accounts you have on your Plastc card. Although the Plastc Card can only store 20 cards at a time, the Plastc Wallet app can manage an unlimited number of cards. It also consolidates card statements in one space so you don't have to jump from app to app to see your balances and transactional and payment history. While the hope is to be able to integrate with most banks, the wallet will first only be able to store American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Charles Schwab, Citi, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
The app keeps your personal information secure through two-factor authentication, using a PIN and facial authentication technology. It can also keep tabs on your Plastc Card, and if the card itself is lost or stolen, it can alert you and allow you to wipe the information stored on the card so thieves don't get a hold of it.
Plastc plans to ship the card in Summer 2015, but it's currently available for pre-order on its website for $155. The app is also yet to be released, but it will be available for iOS and Android phones.