Plastc – one card to rule them all?
Tired of digging through the collection of credit, debit and loyalty cards in your wallet? Well, if you are, then you're the sort of person who might like the Plastc Card. It's a new electronic card-format device, that can store the information for up to 20 other cards on it at once. You just select the card that you want to access via the e-ink screen, then use Plastc as if it were that card.
In order to get a conventional card "into" the Plastc Card, you start by swiping that card through an included reader that's attached to your iPhone or Android smartphone. The accompanying Plastc Wallet app records its info, so it can then be transferred onto the Plastc Card via Bluetooth. Although Plastc can store no more than 20 cards in its Flash memory at once, if you want to use one that's been scanned but not loaded, you can retrieve it from your phone's memory at any time. The Wallet app also lets you keep track of all transactions made using the system.
The Plastc Card has a rewritable magnetic strip, that lets it be swiped as the card that it's representing. Its e-ink screen – the same one that's used for viewing and selecting the cards stored in its memory – also displays bar codes where applicable, along with user photos and signatures for credit cards. Additionally, the Card features NFC/RFID functionality, plus an upcoming firmware update will allow it to be used in Chip and PIN machines.
Its integrated battery should be good for about 30 days of use, and can be recharged via an included wireless charging mat. A built-in light sensor keeps Plastc powered down when it's tucked away in your wallet.
Should you leave the Card behind at a store, an alert will sound on your phone, via the app. Additionally, once the paired phone has been out of Bluetooth range for a predetermined amount of time, the Card will automatically wipe its own memory – presumably making it useless to anyone else. Once the phone is back in range, Plastc will re-sync the erased card data from the app.
Should it be your phone that gets lost, the Wallet app is PIN- and facial recognition-protected.
The Plastc Card is available now for preorder, priced at US$155. That's a one-time expense, as there are no monthly fees. Shipping is expected to begin next summer (Northern Hemisphere). In the meantime, you can get more of a sense of how it works, in the video below.
Potential buyers might also want to check out the very similar Coin card, which is also in the preorder phase. It lacks Plastc's wide e-ink screen and it can only store eight cards at once, but it's also $50 cheaper.
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I wonder what will be next? Having a chip with all that information implated in our forhead or hand? I heard that some are already doing that.
The original cards you currently fuss with are less secure than this device. If you have an RFID (contactless) card anyone with the right equipment can collect your card data from 10-15 feet away as it is completely unencrypted. The swipe cards can easily be reswiped or a card scapper can be attached to the devices you use like ATM machines and point of sale devices. The only protection you have is the banks insurance policy.
In North America in the next 12 - 18 months, all credit cards will be re-issued to the new embedded chip credit cards. I didn't see anything to deal with that.
Can I use my Plastc Card in a Chip and PIN machine?
Soon. Every Plastc Card comes with a deactivated chip. We’ll be sending out an over-the-air firmware update shortly after the product ships to enable the chip and allow you to use your card in all Chip and PIN (EMV) machines/devices.