New Digital Wallet Aims to Best Mobile Wallets
While traditional credit card companies are slowly converting to new chip technology and mobile wallets like Android Pay and Apple Pay are slowly gaining traction at retailers, digital card consolidation products are still popping up to help you manage the physical clutter of your wallet without having to rely on mobile technology.
Coin, Plastc, Swyp and Wocket Wallet all have different products that allow you to transfer your card information onto their product and use it to pay for purchases. The concept is supposed to help you ditch your regular wallet and use one device for all your payment needs.
Now another company is jumping into the ring to take on the competition. Enter Spendwallet, a device that claims to be better than the other options because it doesn't need to be swiped, nor does it rely on NFC technology like Android or Apple Pay.
Instead, Spendwallet uses Magnetic Flux Emulation (MFE) technology that the company developed as an alternative to current offerings. MFE generates a magnetic field when held near a card reader, so it acts like a contactless card, even if the card reader is only capable of performing a swipe transaction.
The company claims that its MFE technology is more reliable than the other products in this market that put card data onto a magnetic stripe. Spendwallet claims that the process of rewriting data onto a magnetic stripe isn't always reliable when it comes time to use it. Spendwallet also says it's superior to NFC payment wallets because NFC isn't universally accepted, while MFE technology can work with current swiping card readers.
However, Spendwallet doesn't yet support EMV technology, which can be a problem if some retailers require it in order to process a payment. The company says on its website that it's working with card issuers to use tokenized MFE in order to comply with EMV standards, and this would require a software update for the product.
Spendwallet holds up to 20 credit, debit and gift cards, which is around the same capacity of other digital consolidator cards, although it's far fewer than Wocket Wallet's 10,000-card capacity. Loading cards onto Spendwallet requires a smartphone and their app, so like its competitors, you'll have to have the account information loaded into a mobile phone and sync it with the digital wallet via Bluetooth technology.
To pay, you tap on the left or right buttons to select a card. Once the name of the card you want shows up in the digital display, you hit the "spend" button and hold Spendwallet near the card ready to complete the transaction.
According to the website, Bluetooth doesn't need to be enabled in order to make a payment, but if you decide to turn that feature off or don't have your phone on you, one of its security features won't work. This feature will lock the Spendwallet if you're more than 20 meters away from it, and it can also wipe the data from its system if it's not recovered.
If you opt out of Bluetooth-enabled security, you can also choose to set a PIN that's required for each transaction.
One interesting feature of the product is that it comes with a card pocket on the back to give you a place to hold an ID and some cash--and an ATM card or backup credit card, as the smart wallet isn't compatible with gas pumps or ATMs, which means that although it's possible to replace your wallet, it's not possible with retailers' technology to completely replace how you pay.
Spendwallet is available for pre-order on Indiegogo. One device currently costs $99, although its full retail price is listed at $130. The company is planning to set up the manufacturing process this month, start production in August and ship in October.