The Stratos Card isn’t dead yet. Recently, TechCrunch reported that Stratos was shutting down just six months after launching its universal credit card. It sure seemed as though that was the case. Within the past few weeks, the company stopped responding to social media and support requests. The company’s headquarters in Ann Arbor has also been listed for sale.
In a statement to Digital Trends, Stratos’ CEO Thiago Olson said the company brokered a last minute deal with Ciright One to take over and provide support to Stratos cards. The company isn’t going out of business, but due to challenges with financing, it has “paused and is undergoing restructuring.” In regards to its headquarters being listed as for sale, Olson could only say that the building’s lease ends in January of 2016.
Updated on 12-22-2015 by Julian Chokkattu: Added official statements from Ciright One LLC.
Julie Taylor, who handles media relations for Ciright One, told Digital Trends that Ciright doesn’t have a definitive answer to concerns about Stratos’ current employees, and is currently focusing on bringing back support to existing members.
In a news release, the company alluded to folding Stratos into Ciright’s own One smart card that launched recently.
“Since its recent acquisition of GoNow Technologies LLC, this new relationship with Stratos was a logical expansion of the Ciright One network,” Taylor said in the news release. “Ciright One’s capabilities, together with Stratos’s existing customer portfolio, will help catapult One’s enhanced digital offering.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Stratos, it is a subscription-only smart card that aims to reduce the number of cards you carry by putting them all in one place. The company launched in 2012, and after launching the card, promised fast updates and the latest technological advances in card technology. Stratos was unique in that you had to rap the card on something twice to activate the card. Once you tap it twice, LED lights will flash and you press one of the three buttons on the card to choose an account, if you don’t it’ll defer to the primary account.
In our review, we liked the sleek card when it worked, and it was relatively easy to set up, but it still wasn’t smart enough for us to completely rely on it. Not only that, but it was confusing to waitstaff and store clerks, so it was faster to just use an ordinary credit or debit card. The subscription also costs $95 a year, which is pricey. Nonetheless, we were excited about its possibilities.
Now, it seems that Stratos’ trajectory may change dramatically, though Olson promises that current card users won’t notice any changes in service or functionality.
“Ciright will manage and fulfill all outstanding consumer and commercial orders and ensure continuity of services to current Stratos members,” Olson said. “We are working closely with the One team to put our members’ needs first so they experience a clean transition with no interruption to service. Stratos cards will continue to function as they always have.”
Ciright One just launched its own smart card, the One. The card has similar buttons and lights like on the Stratos card, and is offering a subscription at a similar price — $100 a year. It’s quite possible that Ciright could merge Stratos members into its existing product.
In the meantime, if you’re a Stratos member, expect support to resume soon and an email describing the changes in the company’s restructuring.