It looks as though 2015 will be the year of mobile payments, as Apple Pay, Twitter, Facebook, and others join in on the likes of PayPal, Coin, and Square. It will probably take a few years before most stores are able to update their systems and stop relying on credit cards. Now, another startup is stepping in to fill the gap. Plastc is a high-tech credit card with an E Ink touchscreen that aims to replace every card and coupon in your wallet.
If you’ve got a George Constanza-sized wallet, Plastc may sound like a dream come true. The card connects with an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy and you can add all your different accounts, credit cards, discount cards, and more to it. Essentially, Plastc aggregates your accounts and puts them together on one master card.
Plastc is a lot like Coin, another wallet-killer card with the same goal of putting all your accounts in one place. Coin recently experienced serious backlash from its early backers after project delays and other unsavory decisions during beta testing upset its supporters. So far, Plastc is free from serious controversy and it has a few advantages over Coin — namely that it is rechargeable and it has a E Ink screen that can support different kinds of codes and even pictures.
You can put as many as 20 cards on Pit at the same time and you’re allowed to save an unlimited amount of accounts on the app, so you can switch accounts at any time if need be. Plastc transforms into an ID, too, with your picture and signature on the E Ink screen.
Plastc works like a normal credit card at any cash register, but it also displays QR codes and barcodes. The card comes with Chip and PIN hardware, meaning that it will work worldwide after it receives a firmware update in late 2015. The card is the size of a normal credit card. Its touchscreen morphs to display the information found on whichever card you select. Additionally, re-writable NFC/RFID technology allows Plastc to act as an RFID device.
Cleverly, it also has a rewritable magnetic strip (like a credit card) that changes every time you switch accounts. As a security measure, the card won’t work until you select your card, so would-be thieves must steal both the phone where the app is installed, have access to your passwords, and have the Plastc card. If you lose it or suspect that it’s being used by someone else, you can remotely wipe the card. As soon as you find it again, Plastc will sync up with the Wallet app on your phone and all your accounts will be restored. The card can even display a “Return me” message if it gets lost. Assuming all these security measures work, Plastc could actually be more secure than a normal credit card.
Plastc says you should get 30-day battery life from the card and you can recharge it with a wireless charging pad. A built-in light sensor can tell when you place Plastc Card in your wallet and the card will go into sleep mode to prolong the battery life.
Even more impressive than its capabilities or its battery life, is Plastc’s list of high-profile partners. At launch, the company will have support from American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Charles Schwab, Citi, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. Plastc is now available for preorder on the company’s website for $155. The card is currently expected to ship next summer.